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Its opposition to partition was sustained and unyielding: throughout the two months of June and July 1916, the paper ran 52 editorials, 38 of them enunciating an anti-partition message.
The Derry nationalists were likewise done with the long-serving Belfast MP Joseph Devlin, who, at the same meeting, found himself written off as ‘politically discredited’ and the ‘fallen idol of northern nationalism’.
Dillon, who had witnessed the rebellion close-up, saw in the prosecution of this punitive policy the unravelling of decades of constitutional nationalist progress which had been expected to soon deliver the prize of an Irish Home Rule parliament.
This was, as Dillon put it, the ‘fruit of our life work’: ‘We have risked our lives a hundred times to bring about this result.
Its position within Irish nationalism, already weakened by a protracted war and the severity of the British response to the Rising, was further eroded.
To what extent can be gauged from the unsparing reaction from quarters it might once have considered naturally sympathetic.