In February 1882 Gladstone asked the Irish party to produce a plan for self-government. O’Connor Power pointed out that the ‘open invitation was without precedent in parliamentary history’.
In 1886 Gladstone introduced the First Home Rule Bill. In June the second reading of the Bill was defeated in a full House by 343 votes to 313.
February 13, 1893, he introduced the Second Home Rule Bill which passed three readings in the British House of Commons. The Bill was rejected by the House of Lords in September.
William O’Brien indicated that the principle of self-government was accepted:
… there remains the supreme fact that a proposal for an Irish legislature completely satisfactory to Irish patriotism has been drawn up in black and white by the greatest British statesman of the century, and passed through all its stages by a British House of Commons in a hundred deliberate votes on principle and details. That is a fact which can no more be blotted out of the constitutional history of England than the Petition of Rights.
See That Irishman, pp 178-180.
References to correspondence between Gladstone and O’Connor Power appear in Gladstone’s Diaries. 20/7/77, 14/6/80, 7/4/83c, 10/4/83n. The letters have not survived. O’Connor Power made a copy of a letter to Gladstone dated July 18 1877. See That Irishman, Part Two, Confessors of Irish Nationality, pp. 61,62.
In June 1887, members of the Cork GAA travelled to Wales to present Gladstone. now in Opposition, with a miniature gold hurley, a shield with the Cork coat of arms, and a hurley, match ball and copy of the GAA rules.
Celtic Times, 11 June, 1887. See Paul Rouse, ‘The IRB and the Founding of the GAA’.