Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sligo Elections 1918, 2011.

My talk at the Sligo Field Club went reasonably well last evening. A good crowd, knowledgeable, interested, very good questions afterwards - some of which I didn't know the answer to. The Field Club treat their invited speakers very well!

When you have a script with which you are reasonably familiar the temptation is to wander a bit from it. This can get you into trouble with your Powerpoint display which depends on following the script. Anyway I managed to get from 1914 to 1918 without too many detours.

Interesting on the drive down to pass through the various constituencies as marked by the posters. Sligo itself full of posters, lots of candidates especially on the left with various splits on the labour side. Interesting to mention that the 1918 election was the last parliamentary election without PR in the country and to speculate on the fact that Sinn Féin would not have won the landslide they did if the system had been PR.

Someone remarked on RTE today that but for PR Fianna Fáil would end up with hardly any seats after this election.

I met a couple of people who had interesting stories and indeed what sounds like very interesting pictures from the period. Great for the new book.

On the way back today I listened to Ocean FM for the first part with detailed coverage of the Sligo-North Leitrim tally, then to RTE and nearer home to LMFM for the West and East Meath counts. History being made!

Before leaving Sligo I found the sad neglected grave of the the last MP for South Sligo, John O'Dowd, defeated in 1918, and indeed physically assaulted during the campaign. He's buried in the graveyard just outside his native Bunninadden. How fickle the voting public can be.

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