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Sinn Féin and Irish Party set out rival election manifestos
A brief show of unity between the nationalist parties - (left) Sinn Féin leader Eamon de Valera and (right) Irish Party leader John Dillon speaking at the anti-conscription rally in Ballaghderreen in May 1918. Photo: RTÉ Archives

Sinn Féin and Irish Party set out rival election manifestos

Dublin, 19 October 1918 - As expectations grow that a general election will be held in late November or early December, the competing forces within Irish nationalism have been setting out their electoral stalls. 

The Standing Committee of Sinn Féin has issued a general election manifesto in which they declare the primary aims of the party to be:

• To establish an Irish republic;
• To withdraw Irish representation from the British parliament, thereby denying the right and opposing the will of the British government to legislate for Ireland;
• To establish a constituent assembly comprising persons chosen by the Irish constituencies;
• To appeal to the Peace Conference for the establishment of Ireland as an independent nation.

The announcement of the Sinn Féin manifesto follows a plea by the Irish Party for unity among nationalists while simultaneously insisting that they would play no part in deceiving the people by holding up the ‘impossible’ ideal of an Irish republic.

The Irish Party recently held a joint conference of its members and that of the National Directory of the United Irish league in Dublin at which John Dillon MP presided.

Emerging from that meeting, the party stated that the coming election would be the ‘most critical and fateful in its effect on the future of Ireland that has taken place since the Act of Union’. The Irish electorate will be presented with a choice between a party that has been responsible for all the political victories Ireland has won since the Land League was founded in 1879 and a party espousing a wholly different policy with no record of political success to its name.

The choice, the Irish Party concluded, is therefore between continuity and change, between a party with a proven track record and one which, ‘whatever the literary or other gifts of its leadership’, has no achievements to its name. 

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.