Greatly enjoying Dublin 1916 The French Connection, by W.J. McCormack
He makes an excellent case for the argument that through Easter 1916 the IRB "effectively conceded" partition.
Planning and execution:
andThe first in the scale of unmentionable implications for the future was the strength, including the military strength, of Ulster Unionism. In planning the Easter events, the IRB effectively conceded the partition of Ireland; there was to be no action in Belfast (Connolly knew how promptly civil war would engulf the city’s proletariat); the Belfast man Denis McCullough (1883-1968), who headed up the IRB’s Supreme Council, was therefore kept in the dark about the Dublin plans: as notional President of the Republic he was deceived about its declaration.
Pages 48-49, my emphases in bold.Four important and highly active men, each sidelined by the signatories and their Proclamation, hailed from Ulster – Bulmer Hobson, Roger Casement, Denis McCullough and Eoin MacNeill. In practice, the North would not begin or join in.
Separated in their final action from the United Irish traditions of Antrim and Down, the signatories tilled the ground for a partition rapidly installed in 1920-22. The IRB’s kidnapping of Hobson just before the Insurrection had no local sectarian basis – Hobson came from a Quaker family – and it can hardly have been done to impress the Pope.4 But it inevitably draws attention to the apparent Catholic monopoly among the leaders of 1916. Fenians though most of them were in strict and sworn fidelity or by intimate association, all these men – including Thomas Ceannt (executed in Cork), and Roger Casement (executed in London) – were Catholics, in stark contrast to the roll-call in Yeats’s ‘September 1913’ – Emmet, Fitzgerald and Wolfe Tone.
The pretence of a geographically determined single nation opposed to the Union was demonstrated to the world as being false - the planning and execution of the rising was partitionist. Any attempt to reach a compromise was seriously undermined and the de-facto acknowledgement by those involved in what McCormack describes as "a brilliant entry-ist coup" that there were two Irelands paved the way for a settlement in which Catholic Ireland could create a state without the serious problem of a large number of hostile Protestants within its borders.