Ulster Defence Union
The Ulster Defence Union was a Unionist organization formed in 1893 to oppose the Irish Home Rule movement, following a rally at the Ulster Hall, Belfast. Its principal aim was to resist the Second Home Rule Bill of 1893.
The UDU was launched by the publication of a manifesto on 17 March 1893, the signatories of which included Colonel Edward Saunderson, MP. Shortly after its creation, it adopted the motto Quis Separabit? (Who shall Separate?) The structure of the new Union was set out in a "Plan of Organisation" which was signed by Daniel Dixon, Lord Mayor of Belfast and President of the Provisional Committee.
On 1 September 1893, the Second Home Rule Bill was passed by the House of Commons by 347 votes to 304, but when it came to the House of Lords it was heavily defeated, by 419 votes to only 41. By October 1893, the UDU had a Central Assembly described as comprising six hundred gentlemen, which first met on 24 October 1893, from among whom an executive committee of forty was elected. This committee also included, ex officio, the Ulster Unionist members of both houses of parliament. In October, 1893, at an Ulster Defence Union meeting in Belfast, Saunderson said, celebrating the scale of opposition in the Lords
Home Rule is dead. It was dissected in the House of Commons, buried in the House of Lords, and even the Irish people would not trouble to give it a wake.
- Alvin Jackson, Colonel Edward Saunderson: land and loyalty in Victorian Ireland (Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 116
- UDA History at loyalistcommissionforideologicaleducation.00freehost.com, accessed 12 April 2011
- Ulster folklife, vol. 47 (Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, 2001), page 76
- Belfast Weekly News dated October 21, 1893, Ulster Defence Union online at failteromhat.com, accessed 12 April 2011
- John Fitzsimons Harbinson, The Ulster Unionist Party, 1882-1973: its development and organisation (1973), p. 20