East Kerry (UK Parliament constituency)

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East Kerry
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of members One
Created from County Kerry

East Kerry was a UK Parliament constituency in Ireland, returning one Member of Parliament 1885–1922.

Prior to the United Kingdom general election, 1885 the area was part of the Kerry constituency. Following the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922, the area was no longer represented in the UK Parliament, as it was no longer part of the UK. The successor constituency in the new Dáil Éireann was Kerry–Limerick West first established under the Government of Ireland Act 1920 to elect members to the House of Commons of Southern Ireland in 1921.


This constituency comprised the eastern part of County Kerry.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member [1] Party
1885 Jeremiah Daniel Sheehan Irish Parliamentary Party
1891 Anti-Parnellite
1895 Michael Davitt[note 1] Anti-Parnellite
1895 vacant[note 1]
1896 The Hon J. B. Burke Roche Anti-Parnellite
1900 John Murphy Irish Parliamentary Party
1910 (January) Eugene O'Sullivan Irish Parliamentary Party[note 2]
1910 (June) vacant[note 3]
1910 (December) Timothy O'Sullivan Irish Parliamentary Party
1918 Piaras Béaslaí Sinn Féin
1922 constituency abolished


  1. ^ a b At the 1895 general election, Michael Davitt was also elected for South Mayo, and chose to sit for that seat. The East Kerry seat remained vacant until a by-election was held on 27 March 1896
  2. ^ Eugene O'Sullivan was elected as an Independent Nationalist but two days after beating the IPP John Murphy, he announced that he would join the IPP.[2]
  3. ^ After the general election in January 1910, John Murphy launched an election petition, alleging intimidation and irregularities at the election. The petition was heard in June 1910, at Killarney before Mr. Justices Madden and Kenny. After 7 days of hearings the judges found for Murphy, and O'Sullivan was unseated.[3] However, the Irish Parliamentary Party failed to move the writ for a by-election, and the seat remained vacant until the December 1910 general election.[4]



General Election 1885: East Kerry
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative C H de G Robertson 30 1.0
Irish Parliamentary Jeremiah Daniel Sheehan 3,069 99.0
Majority 3,039 98.1
Irish Parliamentary hold Swing

This remains the largest majority by percentage of the vote in any contested UK Parliamentary election.


Sheehan (Nationalist) was returned unopposed.


Sheehan was returned again with a large majority over his opponent, Captain John McGillycuddy:

General Election 1892: East Kerry
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish National Federation Jeremiah Daniel Sheehan 2,600 91.1 -7.0
Irish Unionist Capt John McGillycuddy 253 8.8 7.8
Majority 2,347 82.2 -15.9
Irish National Federation hold Swing


Michael Davitt (Irish National Federation) was returned unopposed, but he also stood unopposed in South Mayo. He took up the South Mayo seat and Kerry East remained vacant until the by-election the following year.


James Roche (Irish National Federation) was returned but with fewer votes than his Nationalist predecessors. It was thought he lost some support because as a divorced man he was less popular with the Catholic vote.[5]

East Kerry by-election, 27 March 1896[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Irish National Federation The Hon James Roche, 3rd Baron Fermoy 1,961 74.3 -16.8
Irish Unionist Capt John McGillycuddy 680 25.7 16.9
Majority 1,281 48.5 -33.7
Irish National Federation hold Swing


John Murphy (Irish Parliamentary Party) was returned unopposed.


In a closely fought contest between two nationalist factions, Murphy was returned by a narrow margin:

General Election 1906: East Kerry
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Independent Nationalist Eugene O'Sullivan 2,131 49.4 49.4
Irish Parliamentary John Murphy 2,185 50.6 -49.4
Majority 54 1.3 -47.2
Irish Parliamentary hold Swing

January 1910[edit]

The incumbent Murphy (Official Nationalist) was beaten by Independent candidate, Eugene O'Sullivan, who was a follower of William O'Brien's All-for-Ireland League. Shortly after being elected, O'Sullivan re-joined the official Nationalists, but Murphy petitioned the courts claiming that the vote had been rigged and that O'Sullivan had only won through violence and intimidation. The court cleared O'Sullivan of vote rigging but found him guilty of intimidation.[7] The election was declared void, unseating O'Sullivan and creating a vacancy.

General Election 1910: East Kerry
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Independent Nationalist Eugene O'Sullivan 2,643 55.1 5.7
Irish Parliamentary John Murphy 2,154 44.9 -5.7
Majority 489 10.2 8.9
Independent Nationalist gain from Irish Parliamentary Swing

December 1910[edit]

Eugene O'Sullivan's cousin, Timothy O'Sullivan, stood for the Nationalists. The Independent Nationalist All-for-Ireland candidate, Patrick Guiney, contested both this seat and North Cork. Although he lost in East Kerry, he was elected unopposed in North Cork, so both candidates became Members of Parliament, albeit for different constituencies. As earlier in the year, the election was marred by election violence, which included a riot at Castleisland.[8]

  • O'Sullivan (Official Nationalist)
  • Guiney (Independent Nationalist)

-Majority: 1253


Beasley (Sinn Féin) was returned unopposed. In accordance with his party's policy, he declined to take his seat in the British House of Commons, sitting instead in the Irish revolutionary assembly, Dáil Éireann.


  1. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "K" (part 1)[self-published source][better source needed]
  2. ^ The Times (London), Friday, January 28, 1910 p. 7 col. E
  3. ^ The Times, 30 June 1910
  4. ^ The Times, 21 November 1910
  5. ^ The Times (London) Friday, 27 March 1896, p. 7 col. F
  6. ^ The Constitutional Year Book, 1904, published by Conservative Central Office, page 190 (214 in web page)
  7. ^ The Times (London), Wednesday 22 June 1910, p. 10 col. B
  8. ^ The Times (London), Thursday, 15 December 1910; p. 6 col. D