Following John Bruton’s excellent speech (March 28) pointing out that the Easter Rising was unnecessary and constitutional methods would have achieved the same ends, it is incredible that nobody has challenged the legitimacy of the Sinn Fein landslide in the 1918 general election.
For example Dr Charles Townsend’s 2013 – The Republic The Fight for Irish Independence 1918 – 1923 received high praise in Britain – “Magisterial” and “Must become a standard work”. Of this election Townsend said: “The voters made a clear choice but whether they really knew what they were voting for is another issue.”
Dr Norman’s 1971 History claimed that dead men voted and I believe Professor Beckett’s assertion that ballots were marked at gunpoint by Returning Officers who obviously had no wish to join them.
One British reviewer said “a question mark has always hung over the validity of Sinn Fein’s victory in 1918 but Townsend thinks it was real enough”.
There may have been “some” irregularities but Sinn Fein would still have won.
Elsewhere an Oxford professor wrote that SF “sucked up the nationalists support securing every constituency but four outside Ulster”.
Do any of them ever look at the details?
Munster was exceptional but in 16 of the 23 seats not a single ballot was marked for Sinn Fein.
Because the SF candidate was the only one standing they were deemed elected by 100% of the vote. Even the contested seats produced some interesting results. In the two seats in Cork City, SF got 41,307 of a possible 45,017 votes while the four nationalist and unionists got around 16,000 between them!
And let us not pass without mentioning the overwhelming support SF had in Limerick City.
Their Michael Collivet was the only one standing and got 17,121 votes – precisely 100%, no sickness, no absences no spoiled papers.
It must be the dream of every politician to win by a “Limerick Landslide”. Even Stalin didn’t achieve that.
It is time someone did some serious number crunching on that election.
Has anyone ever thought it odd that Edward George Coll aka Eamon de Valera stood in four constituencies and was elected in two?
These were Clare East (unopposed SF) Down South (33 Votes lost to a nationalist) Belfast Falls – we all know where that is (3,245 votes, lost to a nationalist), Mayo East (won by 8,975 votes to the nationalists 4,514).
A despised Redmond nationalist beat the hero of the Easter Rising for a Belfast seat!
Why did he stand in four places? To make sure he would win one? Or maybe because SF did not have enough candidates?
I have written to the Irish history departments of Liverpool and Oxford universities among others suggesting they examine the actual election returns – they have not replied.
Edward Browning, Author of ‘Slaughtered Like Animals,’ Manchester