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Eoghan Harris defends the 'Gentle Black and Tan' against verdict of history

category national | arts and media | other press author Tuesday July 11, 2006 16:12author by Christoper Barrett - An Phoblacht July 6 2006 Report this post to the editors

Ken Loach 'Wind that Shakes the Barley' critic admits they were "no angels"

Black & Tans were "no angels" - major concession by Ken Loach critic

BY CHRISTOPHER BARRETT An Phoblacht July 6 2006

Before it went on release, 'critics' who had not seen it, denounced Ken Loach's The Wind that Shakes the Barley. The London Times critic compared it to Nazi propaganda - ironic considering the role of ex-Black & Tans in reactionary and fascist politics in Britain. In the Daily Mail Ruth Dudley Edwards asked: "Why does Ken Loach loath his country so much?" - a question better addressed by Ruth to a mirror. Ruth also, in the manner of death penalty advocates discussing 'humane' methods of killing, informed us that the British Empire was "the most humane"...... ever, so there.

'Wind that Shakes' actor says critics need "a good kicking" - will Eoghan Harris oblige
'Wind that Shakes' actor says critics need "a good kicking" - will Eoghan Harris oblige

Facts, however, speak louder than words and the facts state clearly that Britain fought a brutal war of counter insurgency in Ireland. The Black & Tans and Auxiliaries were a byword for murder, torture and mayhem, including officially sanctioned reprisal attacks on civilians and property.

As these are matters of history, and perhaps sensing that Irish people are not as knowledgeable about it as they once were, ex-republican, ex-socialist, ex-Cork 'patriot', and now Sunday Independent columnist Eoghan Harris wrote: "By and large, the Black and Tans were no angels". Supporters of the infamous force were perhaps disappointed that Harris may not be counted an unwavering fan. But he did his best to rescue the force's reputation from the verdict of history and from Ken Loach's depiction.

Biscuit

If Ken Loach took the Palme d'Or in Cannes, then Harris takes the biscuit in Ireland.

Harris was commenting on the film for the second week in succession, but on this latter occasion took the precaution of having seen it, a novel approach.

Harris found, "The failure to allow a major British character a complex moral response to the war in Ireland is a major artistic and political flaw of this film." Possibly a Tan shedding a regretful tear or two, as he yanked out finger nails, burned houses, beat civilians and took pot shots at the populace, might have satisfied.

In fact the Tans did far worse than as depicted by Loach, who toned down their violence in the film. However, listeners to RTÉ's Live Line last week will have heard from relatives how the Tans engaged in gruesome and brutal mutilation.

So much for the effects of revisionist history teaching in our schools and colleges. And so much for The Irish Times, which recently carried the following observation: "It seems grossly unfair to exclusively blame the British for the terrible violence that ensued in Ireland" after 1918. There was a "need to challenge the Black and Tan stereotype" solemnised the author. And the same goes for the Nazis and the Gestapo respectively, presumably, who suffer from similar 'stereotypical' depiction.

Bad

However, back to Eoghan. The absence of such complex depiction was "bad history.... There were many decent British soldiers on duty - my grandfather Pat Harris was arrested by one such young officer - and there were even decent Black and Tans, as my Roscommon relatives remembered. [Scriptwriter Paul] Laverty should have stood up to Loach and demanded the right to include at least one conflicted British character."

Possibly a character portraying William Joyce would have sufficed. The future member of Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists, and later infamous as 'Lord Haw Haw' in Nazi Germany, was a Black & Tan informer in Galway. He was pretty much 'conflicted' all right and might have fit the bill quit well.

Good

However, there were conflicting messages on The Wind that Shakes in the same Sunday Independent that carried the Harris critique.

Antonia Leslie interviewed actor Liam Cunningham, who played a former member of the socialist Irish Citizen Army. He said: "... for anyone to question the historical accuracy in the film - they need a good kicking!"

Whether Eoghan Harris submits to this criticism remains to be seen.

Cunningham went on:"I mean, you should see some of the stuff that they left out.

There was an order from a Major Grant who was in charge of Macroom at the time .... it said that every man they saw standing with his hands in his pockets had to be shot. That was the level of oppression at the time. I mean, they burnt Cork, for God's sake."

Pocket

Eoghan Harris might concede that shooting men for having their hands in their pockets was excessive, irrespective of its effect in encouraging proper deportment. But the supporter of Michael McDowell and the PDs would surely argue that burning the centre of Cork (plus Fermoy, Balbriggan and many Protestant-owned creameries, let us not forget), literally paved the way for the 'Celtic Tiger'.

Far from blaming the British, it is thanking them we should be doing. Quite possibly Eoghan Harris's grandfather, who Harris wheels out with regularity, should have thanked the Brit for having the decency to arrest him, instead of shooting him for having his hands in his pockets.

Criticising films on Ireland's conflict with Britain is a habit with Eoghan Harris. When Neil Jordan released Michael Collins, Harris was first in the queue to denounce it (perhaps sensing that his own much flagged, by Harris, Michael Collins script was doomed). However, as the film went on to break Irish box office records, perhaps Eoghan Harris serves as a reverse weather vein as to popular attitudes.

And was it Eoghan Harris that the late Breandan O hEithir, Irish language broadcaster and author, had in mind when he wrote the following paean of praise for 'conflicted' Crown force personnel? Is Harris "Yer Man"? Oh to be immortalised anonymously.

THE GENTLE BLACK AND TAN

Come all you staunch revisionists
And listen to my song,
It's short and it's unusual
And it won't detain you long.
It's all about a soldier
Who has carried history's can,
Who dodged Tom Barry and Dan Breen
The gentle Black and Tan.

'Twas the curse of unemployment
That drove him to our shore.
His jacket black and trousers tan
Like a badge of shame he wore.
"Subdue the rebel Irish
And shoot them when you can!"
"May God forgive me if I do,"
Prayed the gentle Black and Tan.

The burning of Cork city
Was indeed a mighty blaze.
The jewellers' shops were gutted
Not before the spoils were shared.
Gold and silver ornaments,
Rings and watches for each man,
"But I only struck the matches,"
Said the gentle Black and Tan.

Croke Park and Bloody Sunday
Was our hero's greatest test.
The spectators on the terraces
Nigh impossible to miss.
With salt tears his eyes were blinded
And down his cheeks they ran,
So he only shot Mick Hogan
The gentle Black and Tan.

So take heed you blinkered Nationalists
Fair warning take from me.
If you want to live in safety
And keep this land at sea.
Take heed of our three heroes
Murphy, Edwards and Yer Man,
Who will sing the fame and clear the name
Of the gentle Black and Tan.


By Breandan O hÉithir

Related Link: http://www.anphoblacht.com

'Cut out and keep' commemorative poem - a much maligned force
'Cut out and keep' commemorative poem - a much maligned force

author by pat cpublication date Tue Jul 11, 2006 17:14Report this post to the editors

this is a new verse that jimmy crowley added to The Boys Of Kilmichael on the 80th anniversary of the battle. Appropriately enough it refers to revisionist writers.

There are some who will blush at the mention
Of Connolly, Pearse and McBride
And history's new scribes in derision
The pages of valour deny
But sure here's to the boys who cried, Freedom!
When Ireland was nailed to the mast
And they fought with Tom Barry's bold column
To give us our freedom at last


author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Tue Jul 11, 2006 18:08Report this post to the editors

As is the case with many things Eoghan Harris says and writes his comment that "The failure to allow a major British character a complex moral response to the war in Ireland is a major artistic and political flaw of this film" is pure codswallop.
First time round he wrote about the movie without having seen it - in this respect he simply emulated a number of his Brit colleagues who went on the rampage against Loach without having seen the movie..
Now he has, apparently, gone and seen the film....one of the things he must have missed though is the young squaddie, with roots from Donegal, who helped the prisoners escape...and subsequently joined the insurgents.
Now I can hear the objection: yes, BUT, he wasn't a MAJOR Brit character!! Methinks that soldiers who realise the cul-de-sac the rich have pushed them into and revolt....and go awol....and join the anti-war movement....and who join the resistance..... are major major major characters in the world we live in. Traitors for the rich and powerful - comrades and brothers and sisters for the oppressed.
But that is a logic the Harrises of this world, and his ilk, would never understand.

author by Burke's Peeragepublication date Tue Jul 11, 2006 21:46Report this post to the editors

This chap may be in line for an OBE (Order of the British Empire, tastefully inscribed 'For God and the Empire'). Perhaps a CBE, but that’s usually for lollipop ladies. Must consult HM. The thick mick accent may be a bit of a problem but I expect he can take elocution lessons.

author by pat cpublication date Wed Jul 12, 2006 11:48Report this post to the editors

How dare you! Theres is nothing thick about Eoghans lilting Cork tones. He has carefully cultivated and retained that rich Leeside accent despite his decades spent in Dublin exile.

author by Sean Uptonpublication date Thu Jul 13, 2006 17:42Report this post to the editors

The 1918 general election gave validity to the IRA campaign. British terrorism was the response to Irish democracy. Present day unionists and supporters of Imperiialism, such as Eoghan Harris, cannot accept this historical fact: to do so would call into question everything that these shoneens stand for. Hence the campaign of propaganda against Loach's film.

author by PaddyKpublication date Thu Sep 28, 2006 03:55Report this post to the editors

Eoghan Harris, in the Sunday Independent, tried to undermine the Irish Divestment from Israel Campaign by launching an attack against the signatories of a letter calling for such action. His primary tactic was to insult them, calling them "academic asses".

Then he went on to insinuate that they were a bit stupid, or at best were not qualified to make such proposals as their qualifications were not in the field of "international affairs".
Some of these people are involved in food science, Harris objected, and then tried to convince us that they could not possibly be equipped to make such ethical decisions with a qualification in cookery.

I wonder how the Dunnes Stores employees who risked their jobs to protest South Africa Apartheid feel about being dismissed as irrelevant shopfloor non-experts? Considering these actions helped stop Apartheid there.

Then, he goes on to cast derision and shame on the University of Limerick signatories in particular. Why ?

Because.. they are biting the hand that feeds them, in the person of Michael Dell, an American business man who happens to be the billionaire owner of Dell computers.

Harris states that Michael Dell pays many salaries in Limerick, he infers that Limerick people should shut up about Palestine (if they know what's good for them ) because Mr. Dell is a Jew.

Putting aside the racist elephant sitting on the living room floor of Harris's lecture, he still took a full half a page of the National Sunday Newspaper to get across his rant aginst human rights activists who are working to help highlight the need for a Palestine Initiative in Ireland.
What an abuse of media resources.

Amazingly in the first chapter of the same article, he still managed to declare a pledge to defend, to the very end, Bertie Ahern's right to recieve tens of thousands in cash from business men whilst he was the Finance Minister, and implies - Shame on us for being Begrudgers!

Well Done Eoghan, you licked your plate clean.

author by cool jpublication date Thu Sep 28, 2006 04:40Report this post to the editors

Harris is one of many historical revisionests writing for the Sindo - Others include Daliy Mail pin-up Ruth Dudley Edwards, Brendan O'Connor and others who's names escape me at this hour of the night. All have found their natural home at the Sir O ' Reilly empire, busily keeping the spirit of William Martin Murphy alive!!

PS - Another increasingly bellegerent revisionest and full time Shell apologist from Ballina is a certain Brian Caffrey who's letters appear virtually every week in both the Irish and Sunday independent. A retired garda, he never tires of showing contempt for everything gaelic and seems to enjoy the freedom of the airways on Mid-West Radio. I have sent in a number of letters challenging his fictional accounts of irish history and clumsy insults directed at the people of Erris but strangly they never seem to get published - Quelle suprise!!!

author by PaddyKpublication date Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:36Report this post to the editors

Eilis O Hanlon is a name that escaped you there. She and Breandan O Connor were tripping over each other to impress Harris with their entheusiasm for an attack on the people of Iraq. They are all silent now that the bloodbath they cheered for has unfolded in such grim detail. Harris is alone in that he continues to find anyway he can to promote his mean agenda.
This last effort, labelling people who call for a democratic boycott against the Israeli regime "academic asses" and claiming thay are incapable of reasoned thought on the matter is a sordid act to perpetrate in a National newspaper.

To blackmail the people of Limerick into compliance with Israeli atrocities against their Arab neighbours because they take money from Dell computers, shows his utter disdain for the democratic right of free speech and his belief in social subservience to power and money.
God forbid somebody went on strike at Dell for being poorly treated. How dare they do that to their benefactor Michael Dell? Dell Computers aren't a charity , somebody should remind Harris.

Not to mention the fact that he has insitinctively linked Michael Dell with the policies of Israel in Lebanon and Palestine, for no other reason other than his being Jewish. He may or may not support Israeli atrocities, I dont know, but I am repulsed by Harris using a full half page of a National Newspaper to promote this line of reasoning. This narrowly focussed thought process is the root of racism, to characterise all individuals of a race of people by the actions of a few individuals. Think : "Yeh dem black fellas are all on crack." Harris does not even notice what he is implying, its part of him.

The Sindo has a cabal of ethically lazy lackies operating there but Harris doesnt do it out of laziness , he sees it as his job.

author by Bronterre O'Brienpublication date Thu Sep 28, 2006 19:08Report this post to the editors

You are so right about Harris. Harris assumes that because Mike Dell is Jewish he automatically supports what Israel has done in Lebanon. This is equivalent to saying that one's DNA determines one's policical position. Maybe Harris, also, believes in the 'Irish Race'. Perhaps next when Radio Free Eireann's John McDonagh and the Hibernian fascist Gerry McGeough organize an 'Irish Race' convention, they will get Eoghan Harris to give a speech.

author by Muddlerpublication date Thu Nov 23, 2006 18:10Report this post to the editors

Took this from the Shankill Moaner satire website (but doing a rip of the Indo). It's meant to be an Eoghan Harris piece

Last night I watched on DVD the recently released Star Wars film The Solar Wind That Shakes The Banthas which supposedly is an heroic account of life in the Star Wars galaxy during an utterly disgracful ‘struggle‘ for independence from an ‘evil‘ empire, and I have to say that its disgusting and uncalled for one-dimensional portrayal of the Stormtroopers as villains and fiends to a man had me spluttering with moral indignation into my wine glass. Yes, I will admit that some members of the Stormtrooper regiment were no angels but the representation of them all in this piece of leftist propaganda as foul, murdering thugs is beneath contempt, as is the film's cowardly refusal to show the so-called ’resistance fighters’ of the self-styled ’Rebel Alliance’ (in reality a terrorist plot led by pseudo-fascist extremists with no mandate from the people) with the sharpened, blood-stained fangs and gnarled, hideous claws common to all rebels. There were many good and decent Stormtroopers, as many a fair-minded wookie who lived through that period can attest to, and to show not one of them as the gentle, kind, conflicted souls that they really were is a staggering evil which has no parallel anywhere in the whole history of space and ti...(cont. every week for the next ten years)

http://www.5wwwww5.com/theshankillmoan/viewtopic.php?p=...an#77

author by Googlerpublication date Thu Apr 03, 2008 21:44Report this post to the editors




If you go to www.google.ie and enter "Eoghan Harris", this article is No 2. No 1 is a recording of Mr Harumph and Harass walking out of a radio studio.

In the current Hot Press magazine (Vol 2 No 6 April 9 2008), Hissyfit alleges that his Indymedia detractors engage in forms of self love before returning to the keyboard abuse his good self.

Harris claims to have been instrumental in the. er, success, of:

Ahmed Chalabi
David Trimble
John Bruton
and
Bertie Ahern

If I was one of those southern Protestants Harris thinks he is standing up for, I would start to get worried. With friends like Harris......

Here is an almost walkout, Harris on TV 3 with Ursula Halligan:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMxLkBF3AiQ - it should be clickable above.

Related Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMxLkBF3AiQ
author by Mariellapublication date Fri Apr 04, 2008 00:20Report this post to the editors

It's arguable Harris is the biggest fool in Ireland - but a dangerous fool at that.

One of the most outrageous things Ahern did during the last few months was to appoint Harris to the Senate - a naked act of cronyism for favours rendered to Ahern's election efforts by that vomit-making appearance by Harris on the Late Late Show the Friday before the election. You will search in vain for any sign of an appropriate outcry in our quisling media, however. And narry a peep from that eviscerated mass of people known as 'the opposition' either.

Beyond the idiocy of Harris himself, there is the cynical deployment of his repulsive sycophancy by various media manipulators. That somebody like Harris can enjoy so much media time and space is a momumental f*** off to the Irish people - as clear an example of the contempt and disregard in which our elites hold us as any we could cite. But Ahern and his ilk never tire of finding ways to demonstrate just how much they loathe ordinary people and their expectation that our democracy should function as a democracy. Harris is the biggest useful idiot of them all. Brendan O' Connor is shaping up as the heir apparent though, should Harris ever decide to shut the **** up - which if there is a God in heaven will mercifuly be some time very very soon.

author by Larry Kerinspublication date Fri Apr 04, 2008 21:34Report this post to the editors

The good news is that Harris is supporting John McCain for U.S. president.

author by johnpublication date Sat Apr 05, 2008 02:11Report this post to the editors

A poorly researched article, as for Nazi William Joyce Lord Haw Haw being a tan informer, he was hanged in 46 aged 40 so he would about 12 in the war of independence. But he did run errands for the tans.

The reality is when you check the cold facts out much free state history starts to unravel such as the tans being as bad as the SS or gestapo, in reality the tans while oppressive and brutal they killed less then a couple on hundred civilans, the SS etc millions.

I was historical told the tans burned Cork, in reality they burned a row of shops, one of which belonged to an IRA member, which caught fire to two blocks and killed three people.

Just like freestate/church teaching of Cromwellian history the facts and the political propaganda don't meet.

And lets not forget 30 % of tans were Catholics, another fact not mentioned.

The reality is terrible acts were committed by all sides in the war of independence, the free state historically over demonised the tans so people could forget the violence atrocities itself committed, as well as the decimation of the Protestant population in the south.

If there is ever to be unity, trust and lasting peace history must be taught objectively in the republic.

author by Johnpublication date Sat Apr 05, 2008 02:20Report this post to the editors

QUOTE :

Terrorism and democracy in Ireland
author by Sean Uptonpublication date Thu Jul 13, 2006 17:42Report this post to the editors

The 1918 general election gave validity to the IRA campaign. British terrorism was the response to Irish democracy. Present day unionists and supporters of Imperiialism, such as Eoghan Harris, cannot accept this historical fact: to do so would call into question everything that these shoneens stand for. Hence the campaign of propaganda against Loach's film.

reply :

Heres a classic example, if you bother to check the facts you will see the election was null and void because in many areas unionists and others were intimidated against standing, many Sinn Fein elected MPs had no opposition.

Yet, you wont read that in any freestate history book.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_(UK)_general_election,_1918

"Critics of these interpretations make a number of arguments. Some question the legitimacy of the original mandate won by Sinn Féin. It is argued that Sinn Féin practiced widespread intimidation and electoral fraud and that this called the result into question. Some also argue that the use of the first-past-the-post electoral system and/or the large number of uncontested constituencies exaggerated the effect of the pro-Sinn Féin vote so that, while the party won around 70% of the total number of Irish seats, its share of the vote may have been less than 50% and so not have amounted to a majority. Turnout in contested seats was 68%, appreciable by any standards where many were first time voters, others possibly unware of their voting rights, even especially for such a crucial election where certainly all Sinn Féin supporters would have voted.

Because of the large number of uncontested constituencies, it is impossible to know with certainty what share of the vote Sinn Féin would have won had all seats been contested, except that it would have increased. However, this has not stopped some historians attempting to speculate, for example by extrapolating from the vote counts in constituencies neighbouring those that were uncontested.[3]"

Elected unopposed

* Arthur Griffith (SF) Cavan East (also won Tyrone North East in a contest)
* Éamon de Valera (SF) Clare East (also won Mayo East)
* Terence MacSwiney (SF) Cork Mid
* Michael Collins (SF) Cork South
* Seán Hayes (SF) Cork West
* Liam Mellows (SF) Galway East (also won Meath North in a contest)
* Piaras Béaslaí (SF) Kerry East
* Austin Stack (SF) Kerry West
* W. T. Cosgrave (SF) Kilkenny North
* Patrick McCartan (SF) King's County[4]
* Count Plunkett (SF) Roscommon North

author by Arthurpublication date Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:39Report this post to the editors

25 of the 75 seats won by Sinn Fein in 1918 were won unopposed. The opposition was so marginal they did not bother putting up a candidate. Had there been a contest, Sinn Fein would have won with 80% plus of the vote, It is also therefore reasonable to assume that SF had 60-65% support over the 32 counties. Sinn Fein won an even bigger victory in 1920.

The only oppression and intimidation was against Sinn Fein, many of whose candidates were in jail or were subject to arrest. They remained in jail after being elected. It is one of the reasons Irish people supported Irish democracy and opposed the British kind, including support for proportional representation and rejection of the undemocratic British electoral system. The British system of first-past-the-post was re-imposed in Northern Ireland in the 1920s. It enforced unionist hegemony and repression that lasted until 1972 in the one party unionist state.

(The nonsense about the Black & Tans is too puerile, though the large number of Catholics (also in the RIC of course) indicates that religion had nothing to do with the Irish struggle against British imperialism and for Irish democracy. Religion was a British and not an Irish weapon of war.)

author by Johnpublication date Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:12Report this post to the editors

Elected unopposed means only a Sinn Fein candidate stood with no opposition, tell me how that was democracy ?

As for your claims SF would have got more votes if it had had opposition standing against it, this is classic republican misinformation, opposition were intimidated from standing.

Republicans complain about internment, but what human rights did those including civilians kidnapped at gunpoint receive ?

Torture and a bullet in the head.

author by Arthurpublication date Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:40Report this post to the editors

John, simply, if you stand for a post and no one else does, you are returned unopposed. It generally means you are such a popular person that the potential opposition does not wish to be electorally humiliated. Unfortunately, there will not be an exact tally of your popularity, but you can rest assured that your are the toast of the party (so to speak).

There is no evidence whatever of intimidation of potential candidates. In the seats where Sinn Fein had opposition. The SF opponents did not claim they were intimidated, and the electorate were not prevented from voting for them in a secret ballot. Democracy was Irish democracy's friend and the enemy of pro-British elements. Hence partition and 50 years of relentless sectarianism, repression and gerrymandering under pro-British unionist rule..

If you want to find evidence of electoral intimidation there was a lot of it, in the area that became the six counties of Northern Ireland. It was pro-British intimidation of republicans. It is on therecord.

author by Phoenix audiopublication date Sun Apr 06, 2008 14:01Report this post to the editors

Audio attached

Congratulations to EH on not storming off when debating Paddy Prendiville, editor of the 'nationalist rag', the Phoenix, on April 2 on RTE's Drivetime. He must be mellowing, or too stunned to motivate himself after departure of political benefactor, Bertie Ahern. It gets increasingly raucous as the 'debate' proceeds, but a bit tame by Harris standards.



audio Eoghan Harris vs Phoenix Editor, Paddy Prendiville RTE Radio One Drivetime April 2 2008 1.68 Mb
Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0402/drivetime.html
author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Sun Apr 06, 2008 14:52Report this post to the editors

Most of the Redmondite MPs had been elected unopposed in the previous General Elections of 1910. Some of them had held their seats for decades and had never been opposed at election time.

The character of British power, and of the resistance to it, was described by John Redmond in the Mansion House, 4 September 1907: “We demand this self-government as a right. For us the Act of Union has no binding or moral force. … Resistance to the Act of Union will always remain for us, as long as that Act lasts, a sacred duty; and the methods of resistance will remain for us merely a question of expediency. There are men today, perfectly honourable and honest men, for whose convictions I have the utmost respect, who think that the method we ought to adopt is force of arms. Such resistance I say here, as I have said more than once on the floor of the House of Commons, would be perfectly justifiable if it were possible. But it is not, under present circumstances, possible, and I thank God there are other means at our hands.” (Quoted in Six Days of the Irish Republic, by L.G. Redmond-Howard, Aubane Historical Society, 2006.)

The leader of the Home Rule Party was giving this message before his 1910 election victory. Likewise in other speeches, inside and outside the House of Commons, before and after the 1910 elections. So it can be argued that his success in those elections provided a mandate for armed resistance to the British power if and when this was feasible, and if and when the Redmondite policy failed – as it did by 1914. In that sense the 1910 elections gave a mandate for the 1916 Rising, just as the 1918 elections endorsed the 1916 Rising and gave a mandate for armed resistance to the British military government and occupation.

The Sinn Féin election manifesto committed the party to using ‘any and every means available to render impotent the power of England to hold Ireland in subjection by military force or otherwise’.

Anti-democratic interference with the 1918 electoral process - breaking up meetings, censorship, harassment and arrest of candidates - was what the British government did. That regime did not obtain, or even seek, an electoral mandate to govern Ireland in 1918, or in any other elections in Ireland.

The next elections after 1918 were the local government elections of 1920, held in January and June. Unlike the 1918 elections, these were held under the system of Proportional Representation, which was introduced by the British in order to prevent another result like that of 1918.

Proportional Representation was introduced by the British government to replace the first-past-the-post system, in the hope of reducing the impact of Sinn Féin. The Sinn Féin election programme for the local elections included a demand for efficient and honest administration, appointments based on merit, open competitive examinations for all clerical posts, improvements in health services and in the provision of housing, and a policy of spending the rates within Ireland on goods produced under trade union conditions. The Sinn Féin party was outlawed.

The elections were in two phases: city and town council elections were held in January, county or rural council elections were in June. In January Sinn Féin won 550 seats, Labour 394, Unionists 355, Nationalists 238, independents 161, and municipal reformers 108.

43 women were elected, 28 of whom were Sinn Féin. In Belfast City Council, the Unionists won 35 sets (a loss of 15), Labour 12, Sinn Féin 5, Nationalists 5. Derry city elected 19 unionists, 10 Sinn Féin, 10 nationalist, and 1 independent nationalist, and got its first Catholic mayor. In Dublin Corporation Sinn Féin won 42 out of 80 seats, in Cork 30 out of 56, in Limerick 26 out of 40, in Waterford 19 out of 40, in Galway 10 out of 24.

Proportional Representation reduced the proportion of Sinn Féin representatives elected. But outside the four north eastern counties (in which the unionist councils seceded from the all-Ireland General Council of County Councils), the newly elected councils - with responsibilty for health, roads, housing and much more - recognized the authority of Dáil Éireann and implemented its policies, even though, in doing so, they lost 15 per cent of their revenue; and even though Sinn Féin held less than half the seats in some of them.

In June many candidates were returned without a contest, the main party was banned, censorship was strict, and the British military terror was even fiercer. Of the 263 county council seats in Munster and Connacht, Sinn Féin won 258 and Labour 5; in Leinster Sinn Féin won 192, Labour 37 and others 24; in Ulster the Unionists won 81, Sinn Féin 79, Nationalists 26, and Labour and independents 2 each.

The 1920 elections provided an even stronger mandate to the independence movement than the 1918 elections. They demonstrated that there was broad, heterogeneous support, separate from Sinn Féin, for the democratically elected government in Dáil Éireann and for the independence movement as a whole.

Details of the 1920 elections can be found in The Resurrection of Ireland, Michael Laffan 1999. Laffan is not a Republican; he holds views similar to John.

author by Fearbolg - S2Spublication date Sun Apr 06, 2008 17:07Report this post to the editors


'Elected unopposed..............tell me how that was Democracy'

Maybe Brian Cowen can tell us.

author by Man Datepublication date Sun Apr 06, 2008 22:43Report this post to the editors

More democratic than being appointed without the possibility of an election, like 'Senator' Harris.

author by Eoghan Harasspublication date Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:05Report this post to the editors

Are there any aspiring or established politicians out there looking for a guru with weekly newspaper column, and a big mouth. Testimonials available from David Trimble and Bertie Ahern. You too could end up like them.
(No provos need apply.)

author by Cold dishpublication date Wed Apr 09, 2008 10:19Report this post to the editors

Why has no one remarked on the obvious?

The demise of Ahern and the unseating of Michael McDowell in the General Election is the revenge of Frank Connolly for the Closure of the Centre of Public Enquiry. Ahern backed his bully boy McDowell to the hilt during the latter's witch hunt against Connolly (ably abetted by Eoghan Harris and his Sunday Independent crew).

It was the incisive nature of Connolly's articles, containing much hard evidence, that undermined Eoghan's pal Bertie.

They say revenge is a dish best served cold.

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