Brian Hanley on the General Election of 1918

Historian Brian Hanley speaks at the People’s College Dublin about the historic 1918 election in which Sinn Fein won an overall majority in Ireland and went on to declare Irish independence from Britain.

Among the points Brian makes are:

Sinn Fein did not campaign only on the national question, social activism, against food shortages, conscription and to alleviate the effects of the flu epidemic was also important.

The expansion of the franchise under the Representation of the People Act massively benefited Sinn Fein by bringing a whole new cohort of voters who had no allegiance to the old Irish Parliamentary Party.

Labour (except for a group of brave candidates in Belfast) voluntarily stood aside for Sinn Fein, they were not coerced into doing so. De Valera never uttered the famous quote ‘labour must wait’.

The election was full of rioting and other violence but most of it was between the rival nationalists of Sinn Fein and Ancient Order of Hibernians.In the north the IPP and the Hibernians maintained their support to a greater extent than elsewhere.

There was a substantial unionist vote in the south of Ireland including 19,000 votes in Dublin where they topped the poll in the Rathmines district.

Listen below. Enjoy!

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