THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Unionists triumph in Fermanagh and Tyrone is blow to Sinn Fein

From the News Letter, May 30, 1921

Sunday, 30th May 2021, 6:00 am
Omagh Courthouse. Picture: Google

The results of the elections for Tyrone and Fermanagh to the first Northern Ireland Parliament had been declared on Saturday, May 28, 1921, reported the News Letter on this day in that year, and saw the Unionists win four seats, Sinn Fein three, and Nationalists one.

The News Letter noted that the Unionists polled over 90 per cent of their full strength, “and to their splendid organisation and enthusiasm of the electors the very satisfactory result achieved must be attributed”.

The final counts of votes in the Fermanagh and Tyrone election had concluded at 3am on the Saturday in the County Courthouse in Omagh.

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The result declared was as follows: The Right Honourable E M Archdale, DL, MP, Messrs James Cooper, William Coote, MP, and William T Miller, JP (Unionist); Messrs A Griffith, K Milroy and O’Mahony (Sinn Fein) and T J S Harbison, MP (Nationalist). The defeated candidates were: Kevin R O’Shiel (Sinn Fein), John McEntee (Sinn Fein), and Joseph P Gillin (Nationalist).

The News Letter reported: “The Unionists, after returning their four candidates, had the handsome surplus of 886 votes, and the victory is regarded as the greatest which has ever been won in these two counties.”

It added: “The Sinn Feiners prior to the elections offered to give the Unionists three seats, but these were declined, and the return of four Unionist candidates, with one Nationalist, is regarded as one of the most severe blows which Sinn Fein has sustained in these elections.”

At the conclusion of the counts a hearty vote of thanks was proposed to Colonel Irvine, CB, returning officer, by Mr George Murnaghan, solicitor, on behalf of Sinn Fein.

Mr Archdale seconded the vote of thanks, which was supported by Mr Harbison.

Mr Orr, solicitor for the Unionist candidates, expressed his high appreciation of the courtesy shown to him by Colonel Irvine.

Colonel Irvine, replying, expressed the utmost thanks for the manner in which the RIC and the Special Constabulary of the county had assisted him.