Calling all election anoracks…

Reader Brian asks who exactly was the winner of a single Fianna Fail seat in the Northern Ireland elections of 1933?

  • foreign correspondent

    Charlie Haughey´s Da?
    PS Is there a c in anorack?

  • Pete Baker

    PS Is there a c in anorack?

    No. *ahem*

  • Warm Storage

    It was Eamon de Valera in South Down. Do I win a prize?

  • Valenciano

    Eamon De Valera who won South Down, having previously been elected in 1921 as a Sinn Fein and Republican candidate and 1925 as a Republican candidate.

  • Valenciano

    You’ll need to share the prize with me Warm Storage 🙂 as we posted at exactly the same time!

    Incidentally answers to that and other questions can be found here

    http://www.election.demon.co.uk/stormont/

  • Warm Storage

    Sorry, Valenciano! :o)

  • Nathan

    Yep, deValera was an abstentionist Fianna Fail MP MP for South Down under the Stormont regime, from 1933-37.

    According to UK Cabinet papers the Stormont regime, however, did not assent to deValera visiting NI during the Stormont general election. Every attempt was made to ensure that deValera’s authority was confined to the territory of the Irish State, and that alone.

    As DeValera was an MP whilst the Free State Constitution was been drawn up, I believe it would have been a motivating factor in him inserting 3 articles about “The Nation” in 1937. It gradually allowed him to make the distinction between the State, which he had authority over as Taoiseach, and the Nation which he didn’t necessarily have authority over.

  • Keith M

    “According to UK Cabinet papers the Stormont regime, however, did not assent to deValera visiting NI during the Stormont general election. Every attempt was made to ensure that deValera’s authority was confined to the territory of the Irish State, and that alone.”

    That’s only part of the story. In 1933 de Valera was already President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State (a precursor to the role of Taoiseach established under the 1937 constitution). As such the government of Northern Ireland was not only entitled but probably duty bound to deny DeValera permission to campaign.

    DeValera’s stunt was typical of the abstentionist menaltity that existed in the nationalist community in Northern Ireland in the decades after the south left the U.K. They seemed to believe that it was only a matter of time for Northern Ireland to follow their lead and leave the U.K. In doing so they failed to fully engage in Northern Irish politics and handed the governence of the country to unionists, without any coherant opposition, something which didn’t work to the advantage of either community in the longer term.

  • Rory

    I think the records show that the constituency of “South Down” was a Westminster constituency, not a Stormont constituency. The Stormont constituency of “East Down” in 1933 returned the Unionist candidate, A.R.G. Gordon, unopposed.

    Gordon continued to be returned until 1945, apart from 1938, when opposed by a Progressive Unionist candidate, WG Price. And then came 1949.

    In 1949 the new Unionist candidate was the 29 year old, thrusting young industrialist, Brian Faulkner and he was opposed on the Nationalist side by EK “Big Ned” McGrady. Both men were local. Faulkner, the industrialist and Master of East Down Foxhounds, from Seaford and McGrady from the county town, Downpatrick, a mere 4 miles away. McGrady, “Big Ned” owned and ran a pub/grocery in the town and was well respected. He would refuse to sell porter to a man when he thought it best that man go home to his wife and children with his wages, and was the uncle of the present SDLP MP, EK “Eddie” McGrady.

    Faulkner won. On the night of the election triumphant Unionist supporters marched from the Unionist headquarters in Church Street, Downpatrick and attempted to continue their celebration into the Nationalist area. This was met with resistance. A riot ensued which lasted for three days. I still remember as a child the wounded being brought into my parent’s house and sheets being torn to staunch the bleeding of (mainly head) wounds. They are a bugger for bleeding those old head wounds.

    As the authorities armed force (the RUC) confronted the Nationalist community’s vanguard (the local hurling team) a salient point of riot control (in Ireland at least)became apparent – a hurley is some inches longer than a police baton!

    The authorities then called out the fire brigade to quench the Nationalist ardour. Unfortinately the local volunteer fire brigade, in a largely Nationalist town, turned their hoses in “the wrong direction” and a local priest, much respected by the men of the town had to be called in to call off the resistance before the authorities brought arms to bear. “Home boys”, said NcCluskey, “we won the day”. The Nationalists then led a raucous procession, complete with local Eirnagh Pipe Band, mustered at short notice, from the RUC barracks to the confluence of streets beside “Big Ned’s” grocery/pub. McGrady, of course, played no part in all of this, but the enotional remembrance of the events certainly did no harm to his further dominance of Downpatrick Urban District Council for so many years afterward.

    I, a four year old boy then, was witness to these events and it plays like a video tape in my memory as fresh and clear as on the day of happening.

  • Valenciano

    Rory, check your records again and follow the link I posted earlier. South Down was both a Stormont and Westminster constituency. There were 4 Down constituencies for the main compass points plus Mid Down, Iveagh, Ards, and Mourne. Additionally Bangor and Lagan Valley were created for the last election in 1969.

    Keith, you might very well be right in what you say. In 1982 Seamus Mallon was disqualified from the Northern Ireland Assembly because he was a member of the Republic of Ireland Senate.

  • Young Fogey

    I think the records show that the constituency of “South Down” was a Westminster constituency, not a Stormont constituency.

    No, it was both a Stormont and a Westminster constituency, with radically different boundaries. The Stormont seat was Newry, Kilkeel, Warrenpoint and Rostrevor and I can’t remember from memory if Newcastle and Castlewellan were in South or East Down. The Westminster constituency was basically the one than existed into the 70s, taking in everything South of Dromore and Killyleagh.

    Hence the different results. The South Down Stormont seat was a rock solid Nationalist seat throughout its existence.

  • Young Fogey

    The Stormont seat was Newry, Kilkeel, Warrenpoint and Rostrevor and I can’t remember from memory if Newcastle and Castlewellan were in South or East Down.

    Whoops, I’m talking crap! I forgot about Mourne. South Down was basically Newry and Warrenpoint.

  • Valenciano

    Hi Young Fogey,

    As for boundaries in that area, roughly in modern terms

    MOURNE = Newcastle DEA plus The Mournes DEA (except Lisnacree)

    SOUTH DOWN = Eastern part of Newry and the other bits of current Newry & Mourne council

    EAST DOWN = rest of Down council plus Ballygowan, Killinchy

    All of them would be Nationalist seats now.

    Must go and iron my tweed anorak now 🙂

  • Rory

    Valenciano and Young Fogey have it right. Thank you, men. Does my faulty recall of my memory, as a 4 year old, of electoral boundaries, in 1949, now invalidate my memory of events within my experience at that time?

    Please do tell me that I will not need to acquaint my infant grandchildren of firearms procedures in order to combat ageism.

    Will it never end?