Look back to an era when voting changed our history

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s a recognised phrase now in the Collins Dictionary – the grey vote – and alas with the passing of time, I’ve slipped into that category, despite various efforts at camouflage.

In the greater world of politics, the grey vote is not one to be ignored as that age group tends to make the effort to venture out on polling day delivering a message on such issues as pensions, taxes, health and various services.

Our democracy though, apart from its blemishes and imperfections, is something that should never be taken for granted and although we all do our bit of bitching about Ireland, it’s generally a safe country with a plenty of jobs available and a decent social welfare system.

As democracies go, we’re still a pretty young one, but when we reflect on our early flirtations with voting and elections, one dates tends to stand out – that of Saturday, December 14, 1918.

Ireland was still in a state of flux at the time but a big wheel had turned in terms of the mood of the country. The 1916 Rising might not have been a very popular with the masses in the closing days of April 1916, but the British executions of its leaders, started a little fire burning in Irish hearts.

There’s a resonance too with current events in the Middle East when the reply to one act of barbarity last October was to retaliate with a savagery that’s even difficult to comprehend.

A little trawl through the history pages of 1918 certainly marks it out as ‘a big year’ both nationally and internationally.

Armistice Day marked the ending of World War One on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918, and it also set in train a succession of political events that would change the course of Irish history.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland – the title stemming from the Act of Union on January 1, 1801 – had not had a general election since 1910 due to the Great War which had raged from 1914 to 1918.

Pictured: Éamon de Valera addressing an anti-conscription rally in 1918 before the end of World War One: later that year, when elected for two constituencies in the General Election of December 14, he had then been arrested and jailed by the British. Photo courtesy of  RTE.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up