Irish Seanad election, 1925

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Elections for 19 of the 60 seats in Seanad Éireann, the Senate of the Irish Free State, were held on 17 September 1925. The election was by single transferable vote, with the entire state forming a single 19-seat electoral district. There were 76 candidates on the ballot paper, whom voters ranked by preference. Of the two main political parties, the larger (Cumann na nGaedheal) did not formally endorse any candidates, while the other (Sinn Féin, whose TDs were abstentionist) boycotted the election. Voter turnout was low and the outcome was considered unsatisfactory. Subsequently, senators were selected by the Oireachtas rather than the electorate.

Vacancies[edit]

Under the provisions of the 1922 Constitution of the Irish Free State, Senators were to be elected for twelve-year terms, with the 60 Senators divided into four cohorts of 15, and an election every three years for one of the cohorts.[1][2] As part of the initial transitional measures, 30 of the original 60 Senators in 1922 were selected by the Dáil, of whom the last 15 to secure election formed the cohort whose term would end after the first triennial period.[1][3] As well as this cohort, four further Senators were required to vacate their seats: these had been temporarily co-opted to fill casual vacancies which had arisen in previous years.[4]

Candidates[edit]

There were three methods of being included on the ballot. Outgoing Senators could nominate themselves for re-election,[5] and all 19 did so.[6] The Seanad could nominate an equal number of candidates, and the Dáil could nominate twice the number of vacancies.[5] Both Dáil and Seanad selections were by single transferable vote and secret ballot.[7] The minimum age for Senators was 35 years.[8]

The Seanad resolved on 30 April to form a committee to decide procedure for its nominations; the committee drafted a resolution in June,[9] which was amended and passed by the Seanad on 19 June.[10] 29 applicants contested the Seanad nominations on 1 July.[11][12][13] Apart from two Labour Party members, the candidates were Independents.[14] 47 of the 60 Senators voted, including 18 of the 19 who were themselves standing for re-election.[13] Donal O'Sullivan, clerk of the Seanad throughout its existence, suggests that these 18 had an incentive to vote for less popular candidates since the nominees would be rivals in the ensuing election.[15] O'Sullivan describes the results as "a very great disappointment ... the list [of successful candidates] could not compare with the list of the ten rejected."[13] Oliver St. John Gogarty made a similar remark in the Seanad itself after the results were announced.[16]

The rejected ten were: David Barry, general manager of the British and Irish Steam Packet Company; Sir Laurence Grattan Esmonde, brother of Senator Thomas Grattan Esmonde, Bart; Lady Gregory; John J. Horgan; Hugh A. Law; John McCann, a stockbroker; The McGillicuddy of the Reeks; William Lombard Murphy, son of William Martin Murphy and proprietor of the Irish Independent; Sir John Harley Scott, a Unionist former Mayor of Cork; and J.J. Stafford, a County Wexford businessman.[15][17]

Cumann na nGaedheal, the party which backed the incumbent government, decided not to formally support any candidates as a result of internal divisions. There was tension between ministers, backbenchers, and grassroots members, and between factions of Kevin O'Higgins and W. T. Cosgrave. The 1924 Army Mutiny had shaken the year-old party, and the appointment of public servants to lead the new state's institutions created resentment among those passed over. The parliamentary party held two selection conventions, on 2 and 6 July 1925, and when the leadership's candidates did badly a free vote was offered in the Dáil with all candidates nominally endorsed by the party.[18]

The Dáil nominations were decided on 8 July.[15][19] 57 candidates contested; 101 TDs voted, with one ballot deemed ineligible.[15][20] 52 TDs did not vote, including all 44 abstentionist Sinn Féin TDs, who were ineligible to vote as they had not taken the Oath of Allegiance.[21] TDs supported candidates on party lines.[14] Of the 38 successful nominees, O'Sullivan classifies 21 as supporters of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, 9 as Independent, 5 as in the Farmers' Party, and 3 as in the Labour Party.[15] Four of the ten candidates rejected by the Seanad were also among the Dáil candidates, with John J. Horgan securing a nomination at the second attempt.[6]

Campaign[edit]

While the Farmers' Party and Labour produced newspaper advertisements for their respective slates of candidates, Cumann na nGaedheal did not at a national level formally endorse candidates, even those its TDs had nominated.[22] It presented the election as nonpartisan.[23] It published a booklet, Who's who in the 1925 Senate Election, and did not oppose candidates "put forward by any of the elements that accept the State and Constitution", i.e. other than republicans opposed to the Anglo-Irish Treaty.[18]

Numerous interest groups produced lists of approved candidates, including doctors, publicans, motorists, ex-servicemen's associations, and the livestock trade.[24] Candidates endorsed by temperance groups fared badly.[23] The Catholic Truth Society circulated, to little effect,[25] a list of outgoing Senators it condemned for not having opposed a controversial motion pertaining to divorce.[26][27]

Sinn Féin, under the leadership of Éamon de Valera, called for a boycott of the election.[28] Sinn Féin had not boycotted the 1923 Dáil election, but rather contested it on an abstentionist platform. De Valera would later lead his Fianna Fáil party, founded in 1926, into the Oireachtas after the June 1927 Dáil election.

Election[edit]

The election was by single transferable vote, with the entire Irish Free State forming a single, 19-seat constituency. All citizens over 30 had a vote. Since the voting age for Dáil and local elections was 21, a separate electoral roll was maintained for the Seanad election.[4]

The 76 candidates were arranged alphabetically on a ballot paper 22 inches (56 cm) long and 16 inches (41 cm) wide.[23] The Electoral (Seanad Elections) Act, 1925 was passed to allow the ballot to be presented as four parallel columns of 19 names rather than a single long column of all 76.[29][30]

The low voter turnout was blamed on the Sinn Féin boycott,[28][31] wet weather across the country,[23][28] and the shorter than usual hours of polling.[23] Turnout varied widely, from 8.2% in Mayo North to 43% in Monaghan.[23] Another factor was the large, intimidating ballot paper;[23] O'Sullivan describes it as "a fiasco",[28] saying it was unreasonable to expect voters to "make an intelligent choice of nineteen persons from a list containing seventy-six names, most of which they had never seen or heard of before."[32]

Results[edit]

Party FP votes %
Cumann na nGaedheal supporters 126,218 41.3
Labour Party 46,776 15.3
Farmers' Party 42,785 14.0
Independents 65,230 21.3
Unknown affiliation 24,692 8.1
Spolit votes 9,466
Total 315,167 100
Electorate/Turnout 1,347,195 23.4
Source: Nohlen & Stöver[33]

Counting[edit]

The ballots were initially collected to one centre within each Dáil constituency to count and sort the first-preference votes.[4] This took almost a week.[23] On 25 September, the ballots were sent to Dublin, the totals checked centrally, and redistribution of transfers begun.[4][23] On 5 October, the first candidate was returned, on the 45th count.[23] Counting continued until 19 October.[23]

Details[edit]

Although the election was national, many of the candidates relied on local support. 23 gained more than half their first preferences from their own constituency.[34]

Candidates of the two parties contesting the election, Labour and the Farmers', did relatively well.[35] Some interest groups also did well — vintners, ex-servicemen.[36][37] Others did not — doctors,[36] academics, women, and especially Irish language revivalists: all four candidates supported by the Gaelic League lost, including outgoing senator and future president Douglas Hyde.[37][38]

Ex-Unionist candidates did not fare well, even though the original design of the Seanad was intended in part to provide enhanced representation for the unionist minority.[39]

Results of the 1925 Seanad election[40]
Name County Occupation[r 1] Nomination First-preference
votes
Final result Final count Party[r 2] Notes
Henry Barniville Dublin Surgeon Outgoing 8,279 Elected w/o quota 65
Sir Edward Bellingham Louth Baronet Seanad 8,043 Elected 65
Thomas Westropp Bennett Limerick Farmer Outgoing 7,117 Elected w/o quota 65 (pro-CnaG)
Sir Edward Coey Bigger Dublin Medical Doctor Seanad 5,658 Elected w/o quota 65
P. J. Brady Dublin Solicitor Seanad 4,328 Eliminated 63
Samuel Lombard Brown Dublin Barrister-at-law Outgoing 2,787 Eliminated 33
Kathleen Browne Wexford Farmer Seanad 2,044 Eliminated 25 (pro-CnaG) Sought women's vote
Richard A. Butler Dublin Farmer Outgoing 5,943 Eliminated 61 Farmers' Party
Lawrence Patrick Byrne Dublin Journalist Dáil 1,612 Eliminated 20 Labour Party
Francis Cahill Dublin Teacher Dáil 1,057 Eliminated 11 (pro-CnaG)
Sir Arthur Chance Dublin Surgeon Seanad 3,792 Eliminated 57
Walter L. Cole Dublin Fruit merchant Seanad 1,393 Eliminated 19
John Counihan Dublin Farmer Outgoing 6,431 Elected w/o quota 65 (pro-CnaG) Supporter of livestock trade
George Crosbie Cork Journalist Dáil 2,056 Eliminated 32 (pro-CnaG)
John Patrick Cuffe Dublin Farmer Dáil 3,180 Eliminated 35 Supporter of livestock trade
William Cummins Kildare National school teacher Outgoing 10,693 Elected 51 Labour Party
Peter de Loughry Kilkenny Iron founder and manufacturer Outgoing 5,938 Eliminated 60 (pro-CnaG)
Liam de Róiste Cork Secretary-director of public company Dáil 2,993 Eliminated 42 (pro-CnaG)
James Dillon Kilkenny Farmer Dáil 7,499 Elected 62 Farmers' Party
John Charles Eason Dublin Merchant Dáil 2,621 Eliminated 30 (pro-CnaG)
Michael Fanning Dublin Grocer and vintner Dáil 9,024 Elected w/o quota 65 Licensed vintners' lobby
Charles Austin Galway Director of various public companies and chairman of the Irish Branch of British Shareholders' Trust Seanad 734 Eliminated 7
Darrell Figgis Dublin Author Dáil 512 Eliminated 4 Committed suicide on 27 October 1925
Edward John Fitzgerald Cork Joiner Seanad 5,754 Eliminated 64 Labour Party
Thomas Foran Dublin Trade union official Outgoing 6,844 Elected 65 Labour Party
John William Garvey Dublin Solicitor Dáil 2,799 Eliminated 38
Henry Harrison Dublin Journalist Dáil 2,000 Eliminated 22 (pro-CnaG)
Sir William Bernard Hickie Tipperary Major-General (retired) Dáil 9,712 Elected 45 Ex-servicemen's lobby
Patricia Ethel Hoey Dublin Journalist and industrial organiser Seanad 334 Eliminated 1 Sought women's vote
Patrick Hooper Dublin Journalist and barrister-at-law Seanad 3,346 Eliminated 40
John J. Horgan Cork Solicitor Dáil 2,037 Eliminated 23 (pro-CnaG)
Denis Houston Dublin Trade union organiser Dáil 4,828 Eliminated 50 Labour Party
Charles Howard-Bury Westmeath Lt.-Colonel (retired) Seanad 785 Eliminated 8 Ex-servicemen's lobby
Douglas Hyde Dublin Dean of the Celtic Faculty in the National University of Ireland Outgoing 1,721 Eliminated 28 (pro-CnaG)
Owen Hynes Dublin General secretary Seanad 1,273 Eliminated 18 Labour Party
Cornelius Irwin Wexford Farmer and businessman Outgoing 2,884 Eliminated 37 (pro-CnaG)
Joseph Johnston Dublin Fellow and tutor of Trinity College Dáil 1,168 Eliminated 14 (pro-CnaG)
Michael Jordan Wexford Farmer Dáil 4,777 Eliminated 49 Farmers' Party
Cornelius Kennedy Wicklow Merchant and farmer Dáil 11,857 Elected 54 (pro-CnaG) Licensed vintners' lobby
Denis Kennedy Dublin Surgeon Dáil 3,202 Eliminated 36 (pro-CnaG) Hospitals' lobby
Thomas Linehan Cork Farmer Outgoing 6,624 Elected w/o quota 65 Farmers' Party
Joseph Clayton Love Cork Merchant Outgoing 2,249 Eliminated 27 (pro-CnaG)
Anthony MacBride Mayo Surgeon Dáil 2,059 Eliminated 26 (pro-CnaG)
Alexander McCabe Dublin Estate agent Dáil 4,034 Eliminated 46
Patrick McCartan Dublin Surgeon Seanad 626 Eliminated 5
Seaghán Pádhraic MacEnri Galway Medical doctor and university professor[r 3] Dáil 1,636 Eliminated 21 (pro-CnaG)
Edward MacEvoy Laois Wholesale merchant Outgoing 5,423 Eliminated 56 (pro-CnaG)
Francis McGuinness Longford Merchant Dáil 7,662 Elected w/o quota 65 (pro-CnaG)
Thomas Patrick McKenna Cavan Farmer Dáil 5,768 Eliminated 55 (pro-CnaG)
Edward Patrick McLoughlin Dublin Medical profession Dáil 1,183 Eliminated 15 (pro-CnaG)
Edward MacLysaght Clare Proprietor of the Raheen Rural Industries Outgoing 4,025 Eliminated 48
Valentine McSwiney, Marquis of Mashanaglass Dublin Gentleman Dáil 789 Eliminated 9 (pro-CnaG)
Jeremiah McVeagh Dublin Barrister-at-law Dáil 3,601 Eliminated 43
Sir Simon William Maddock Dublin Secretary and director of public companies Dáil 3,876 Eliminated 44 Business candidate
Seán Milroy Dublin Journalist Dáil 1,697 Eliminated 24 (pro-CnaG)
Mary Josephine Mulcahy Dublin Married woman Seanad 2,659 Eliminated 39 Wife of Richard Mulcahy, and sister of James Ryan
Daniel Nealon Tipperary National school teacher (retired) Dáil 1,278 Eliminated 16
George Nesbitt Dublin Merchant and manufacturer Outgoing 1,210 Eliminated 17 (pro-CnaG)
Liam Ó Briain Galway Professor of Romance Languages in University College Galway Seanad 1,056 Eliminated 13
Conor O'Brien Dublin Architect Seanad 497 Eliminated 3
Joseph O'Connor Kildare Cattle salesman and farmer Dáil 6,740 Elected w/o quota 65 (pro-CnaG) Supporter of livestock trade
Michael O'Dea Dublin Merchant Outgoing 4,011 Eliminated 58 (pro-CnaG)
J. T. O'Farrell Dublin Irish Secretary Railway Clerks' Association Outgoing 12,336 Elected 51 Labour Party Railwaymen's candidate
Ristéard Ó Foghludha Dublin Manager[r 4] Dáil 660 Eliminated 6 (pro-CnaG)
Michael F. O'Hanlon Dublin General secretary Dáil 8,238 Elected 59 Farmers' Party
Stephen O'Mara, Snr Limerick Merchant Dáil 6,205 Elected w/o quota 65 (pro-CnaG)
Sean Ó Muirthile Dublin Gentleman Dáil 1,022 Eliminated 10 (pro-CnaG)
John O'Neill Wicklow Cycle manufacturer and motor trader Outgoing 2,448 Eliminated 31 (pro-CnaG)
James Parkinson Kildare Veterinary surgeon and bloodstock breeder Outgoing 6,248 Elected w/o quota 65 (pro-CnaG)
Patrick Phelan Kildare Farmer Dáil 5,423 Eliminated 53 Farmers' Party
John Henry Pigot Dublin Barrister-at-law Seanad 413 Eliminated 2
John Ryan Limerick Farmer Dáil 4,281 Eliminated 41 Farmers' Party
Thomas Ryan Waterford Insurance agent Dáil 3,436 Eliminated 34 Labour Party
Michael Staines Dublin Wholesale merchant Seanad 2,028 Eliminated 29
Frederick Summerfield Dublin Managing director Seanad 1,123 Eliminated 12 Motorists' lobby
Thomas Toal Monaghan Farmer Dáil 14,082 Elected 47 (pro-CnaG)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As listed on the official notice of election
  2. ^ (pro-CnaG) indicates candidates identified by Coakley as unofficially pro-Cumann na nGaedheal
  3. ^ In Irish: “Dochtúir leighis agus ollamh ollsgoile”
  4. ^ In Irish: “Bainisteoird”

Legacy[edit]

The shortcomings of the 1925 election created a consensus that a single national constituency was unworkable.[41] In 1928, in the lead-up to the next triennial Seanad election, the Oireachtas formed a joint committee to change the selection procedures.[41][42] While some members favoured retaining some form of voting by the general electorate, Fianna Fáil in particular wanted to ensure the Seanad was subordinate to the Dáil by restricting the franchise to Oireachtas members.[43] Constitution (Amendment No. 6) Act provided for this.[29][44] Thus, the 1925 election remains the only Seanad popular election.[45]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Coakley, p.233
  2. ^ Constitution of The Irish Free State: Articles 31 & 32
  3. ^ Constitution of The Irish Free State: Article 82 §§ (a), (c), & (e)
  4. ^ a b c d Coakley, p.234
  5. ^ a b Constitution of The Irish Free State: Article 33
  6. ^ a b Coakley, p.237
  7. ^ O'Sullivan, pp.151–52
  8. ^ Coakley, p.232
  9. ^ "Report". Committee on Procedure for the Triennial Election. Seanad. 16 June 1925. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Seanad debates Vol.5 No.10 p.5
  11. ^ "Panel for triennial election". Parliamentary Debates - Seanad Éireann - Volume 5. 1 July 1925. pp. col 768–771. Retrieved 30 October 2008. 
  12. ^ "Seanad - selection of panel". Parliamentary Debates - Seanad Éireann - Volume 5. 1 July 1925. pp. col 782. Retrieved 30 October 2008. 
  13. ^ a b c O'Sullivan, p.153
  14. ^ a b Coakley, p.236
  15. ^ a b c d e O'Sullivan, p.154
  16. ^ Gogarty, Oliver St. John (7 July 1925). "Seanad Elections". Parliamentary Debates - Seanad Éireann - Volume 5. pp. col 865–66. Retrieved 30 October 2008. Reading the list of Senators who have been rejected, they are, if anything, a few points better than those who have been successful. 
  17. ^ "A Small List". Irish Independent. 27 June 1925. p. 7. 
  18. ^ a b Regan, John M. (1999). The Irish Counter-revolution, 1921-1936: Treatyite Politics and Settlement in Independent Ireland. Gill & Macmillan. pp. 249–250. ISBN 9780717128853. 
  19. ^ "Selection of Dáil panel for Seanad election". Parliamentary Debates - Dáil Éireann - Volume 12. 8 July 1925. pp. col 2161–62. Retrieved 30 October 2008. 
  20. ^ "Announcement of results". Parliamentary Debates - Dáil Éireann - Volume 12. 8 July 1925. pp. col 2162–64. Retrieved 30 October 2008. 
  21. ^ "Dáil in Committee - Election of Seanad members". Parliamentary Debates - Dáil Éireann. 19 June 1925. 
  22. ^ Coakley, p.242
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Coakley, p.244
  24. ^ Coakley, p.242–43
  25. ^ O'Sullivan, p.170–71
  26. ^ Coakley, p.243
  27. ^ "Seanad Resumes - Debate on divorce legislation resumes". Parliamentary Debates - Seanad Éireann - Volume 5. 11 June 1925. pp. col 434–482. Retrieved 30 October 2008. 
  28. ^ a b c d O'Sullivan, p.155
  29. ^ a b Coakley, p.235
  30. ^ "Electoral (Seanad Elections) Act, 1925 §3: Form of ballot papers.". Acts of the Oireachtas. Government of Ireland. 11 July 1925. Retrieved 23 October 2008. 
  31. ^ Coakley, p.245
  32. ^ O'Sullivan, pp.144–145
  33. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1016 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  34. ^ Coakley, p.250
  35. ^ Coakley, p.247
  36. ^ a b Coakley, p.248
  37. ^ a b O'Sullivan, p.156
  38. ^ Coakley, p.249
  39. ^ Coakley, p.256
  40. ^ Coakley, pp.261–68
  41. ^ a b O'Sullivan, p.231
  42. ^ Oireachtas joint committee on the Constitution (16 May 1928). "Report into the constitution and powers of, and methods of election to, Seanad Éireann". Committee Reports. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  43. ^ O'Sullivan, pp.232–34
  44. ^ "Constitution (Amendment No. 6) Act, 1928". Acts of the Oireachtas. Government of Ireland. 23 July 1928. Retrieved 30 October 2008. 
  45. ^ Coakley, p.231–32

External links[edit]