Sir Richard Dawson Bates

(1876—1949) politician

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(1876–1949), Unionist apparatchik and government minister. Bates was a solicitor who, in 1905, accepted the post of secretary to the new Ulster Unionist Council. He assisted James Craig in 1912–14, an unsung but unquestionably effective manager of resistance to the third home rule bill. In 1921 he was appointed minister of home affairs in the new government of Northern Ireland. Trained in the front line of party politics, Bates proved to be a vigorously loyalist minister, successfully defending the partition settlement from the IRA onslaught of 1921–2: he was a keen proponent of the Civil Authorities (Special Powers Act) (1922). He was awarded a baronetcy in 1937, but clung to office until 1943. An unpopular and inefficient wartime minister, Bates retained the enervated style of the Craig administration; he survived a parliamentary vote of censure in July 1942, but was increasingly regarded as a political liability. He remained vigorously suspicious of Catholic influence to the end.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.

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