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Dominion Home Rule

Volume 149: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1921

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It is all very well to say "Dominion Home Rule" or "Dominion Self-government." The difficulties only begin there—difficulties formidable and peculiar to Ireland. There are multitudes of people in this country to-day who are made happy by the thought that they have settled the Irish Question, and they are happy because they said a year or two ago that the way to settle it was by Dominion Home Rule. "That settles it." I can assure my right hon. Friends opposite that they are not alone in this sense of self-satisfaction. But it does not settle it. You do not settle great complicated problems the moment you utter a good phrase about them.

Oh, yes, I do. Certainly I do. I have discovered it. There are innumerable letters, resolutions and speeches which have all said: "Try Dominion Home Rule!" They had all one defect in common. They ignored all the obstacles and, therefore, they gave us no counsel as to how we were to overcome them. It is no use giving a general prescription in complicated cases. You may find the same symptoms, but you cannot ignore the constitution of the patient, his temperament, and, above all, his history, because you may find that there are evils in his system which have been left there by earlier imprudences. Therefore, it is no use going to a chemist, and ordering one general prescription. You have to deal with the complications, and you have to deal with the complications in Ireland, attributable to its history and to the imprudences of statesmen. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Yes, of both sides.