Leading Home Rule

Upload to this page

Add your photos, text, videos, etc. to this page.

  • People in History

Declining Leadership

Although the Home Rule League gained in membership and support in Ireland, Butt began to be seen as an ineffective leader. He was often absent from Westminster, as he had to work as a barrister to pay off his many debts. His polite approach in Parliament was also seen as a sign of weakness by those in the Home Rule Party who wished to obstruct Parliamentary business.

Butt did not approve of obstructionism and firmly believed in gaining support through diplomatic means. This distanced him further from his party and in 1879 he was replaced by William Shaw as leader of the Home Rule League. Shaw was replaced by the charismatic and popular Charles Stewart Parnell in 1880, and the party became more organised.

Lasting Legacy

The Home Rule Movement was a very important part of the progress towards Irish independence, which was eventually secured in 1921. Butt has been called the 'Father of Home Rule'. His influence and passion were important in kick-starting the movement and setting in train a series of historical events.

Butt retired from public life and died in May 1879 in Clonskeagh in Dublin. His remains were brought by train to Stranorlor Co. Donegal, where he is buried in a corner of the Church of Ireland cemetary beneath a tree in which he used to sit and dream as a boy.