Markievicz: On her election to the House of Commons on 28 December 1918

On Saturday 28 December, the 1918 election results were announced with a landslide victory for Sinn Féin in the Irish constituencies. A day later, Markievicz was told of her election victory. She was the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons.

Always happy for an excuse to goad the censor, she began signing her letters MP’, before coming up with an Irish version of the same, and finally TD after the first sitting of Dáil Éireann in January 1919.

To Eva, Holloway Prison, 6 February 1919

“I get such funny letters from the ends of the world, and I begin to understand why MPs employ secretaries. My election was a foregone conclusion. I must know most of those who voted for me. The Transport Union is strong, ditto SF[Sinn Fein]. Everyone had to concentrate on the ‘doubtfuls.’

You criticise our election organisation! The Enemy says it was efficient, perfect, etc. It was practically nil! So everyone butted in, women and children taking a very prominent part. I believe it brought out a lot of women speakers.”

In the St Patrick’s Division, Constance polled 7,835 votes; William Field of the Irish Parliamentary Party, who had held the seat for twenty-six years, got 3,741 and Alderman JJ Kelly 312 votes.

Outside the Sinn Féin headquarters on Dublin’s Harcourt Street, an excited crowd had watched as the figures from the counting centres were displayed on a giant notice board in a second floor window. From the 102 seats they contested, Sinn Féin won 73; the Irish Parliamentary Party was wiped out, winning just seven from 57 seats contested.

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