Prior to the partition of Ireland in 1922 most unionists were concentrated in what would become Northern Ireland. There were however a small but vocal group of unionists in the remaining 26 counties that would become the Irish Free State, most notably Edward Carson but many others as well. They would have backed the Ulster Covenant and the Ulster Unionist movement but mainly because they believed that they would prevent any form of independence from being granted to Ireland. Upon hearing the news that Ireland would be partitioned, many of these unionists condemned it initially, but after this, there seems to have been very little activism towards reincorporating the new Irish Free State back into the UK, in starch contrast to the continued nationalist opposition to partition that continued in Northern Ireland. It is true that many unionists would have left for the UK or in some cases were expelled by force but many former unionists did stay. Did these unionists simply accept that the game was up and that the settlement was final? Or did they simply remain silent out of fear of persecution and quietly managed to blend into the new political set-up? Or were they simply to small in the new state to have much influence (numbering around 10% if we are to presume that most Protestants were unionists)? Today, unionism in the Republic has a negligible presence in Irish politics and quite possibly does not exist at all as a political movement.
Unionism, at least in the North, had made it clear that they would take it upon themselves to oppose independence or Home Rule regardless of what Nationalism thought or Westminster agreed to. So why did Southern Unionists show little or no opposition to the new set-up, and what happened to them after partition?