Lindsay Crawford's 'Impossible Demand'? The Southern Irish Dimension of the Independent Orange Project
Dr. Peter Murray
The Magheramorne Manifesto of the Independent Orange Order has been hailed as a bold attempt from an unlikely quarter to positively address the sectarian divisions and regional polarisation of early 20th century Ireland. But the Order's leading light, Lindsay Crawford, has also been indicted for formulating an 'empty radicalism' which demanded changes in the field of education that it was impossible for the Catholic community to accept. This working paper reassesses Crawford's ideological project in the light of hitherto underused sources of evidence. It highlights convergence between Crawford's thinking and that of 'Irish Ireland' activists in movements such as the Gaelic League and Sinn Fein. It argues that heterodox educational views were prevalent to a significant extent among the Irish Irelanders to whom Crawford looked for a positive response to his national regeneration project. The case is also made that, in the absence of unanimous acceptance of their desirability among lay Catholics, the support of Protestants - and particularly that of Crawford's fellow Irish Anglicans - provided existing school management arrangements with a vital source of sustenance.
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