East Down (UK Parliament constituency)
|Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
|Created from||Down, Downpatrick|
Boundaries and Boundary Changes
This county constituency was first created in 1885 from the eastern part of Down. It was defined as including 'The Baronies of Dufferin, Kinelarty, Lecale Lower and Lecale Upper, and the Barony of Castlereagh Upper (except so much as is comprised in Division No. 1, as herein described)'. There was a boundary change reducing the size of this division in 1918, when the new Mid Down constituency was created, and East Down was redefined as including 'The rural district of Downpatrick, exclusive of the district electoral divisions of Ballynahinch, Kilmore and Leggygowan; the part of the rural district of Kilkeel which consists of the district electoral divisions of Bryansford, Fofanny and Maghera, and the part of the rural district of Banbridge which consists of the district electoral divisions of Ballyward, Crossgar and Leitrim.'. Maps showing the component units of the constituency can be seen here.
The constituency had an anti-unionist majority in 1918, but its support was split fairly evenly between Nationalist and Sinn Féin candidates. An attempt at a limited electoral pact broke down in this constituency. In a first past the post election this situation produced a minority Unionist win.
The First Dáil
Sinn Féin contested the general election of 1918 on the platform that instead of taking up any seats they won in the United Kingdom Parliament, they would establish a revolutionary assembly in Dublin. In republican theory every MP elected in Ireland was a potential Deputy to this assembly. In practice only the Sinn Féin members accepted the offer.
The revolutionary First Dáil assembled on 21 January 1919 and last met on 10 May 1921. The First Dáil, according to a resolution passed on 10 May 1921, was formally dissolved on the assembling of the Second Dáil. This took place on 16 August 1921.
In 1921 Sinn Féin decided to use the UK authorised elections for the Northern Ireland House of Commons and the House of Commons of Southern Ireland as a poll for the Irish Republic's Second Dáil. This area, in republican theory, was incorporated in an eight-member Dáil constituency of Down.
Members of Parliament
|1885||Richard William Blackwood Ker||Conservative|
|1890 by-election||James Alexander Rentoul||Unionist|
|1902 by-election||James Wood||Russellite Unionist|
|1918||David Douglas Reid||Unionist|
|Conservative||Richard William Blackwood Ker||5,093||66.5||N/A|
|Russellite Unionist||James Wood||3,576||51||N/A|
|Irish Unionist||Colonel Wallace||3,429||49||N/A|
|Russellite Unionist gain from Irish Unionist||Swing||N/A|
|Irish Unionist||David Douglas Reid||6,007||42.3||N/A|
|Irish Parliamentary||Michael J. Johnston||4,312||30.4||N/A|
|Sinn Féin||Dr Russell McNabb||3,876||27.3||N/A|
|Irish Unionist hold||Swing||N/A|
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "D" (part 3)[self-published source][better source needed]
- Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland, 1801–1922, edited by B.M. Walker (Royal Irish Academy 1978)
- Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume II 1886–1918, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (The Harvester Press 1978)
- Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume III 1919–1945, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (The Harvester Press 1979)
- Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, (Ch 23) Seventh Schedule, Part III - Ireland - County of Down
- Redistribution of Seats (Ireland) Act, 1918, (Ch 65) Fourth Schedule,
- "Election intelligence". The Times (36652). London. 31 December 1901. p. 4.
- "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36685). London. 7 February 1902. p. 8.