In 2018, the Houses of the Oireachtas commemorates the 100th anniversary of the parliamentary vote for women in Ireland.
1918 was the first time Irish women were permitted by law to vote and stand in parliamentary elections.
1918 was also the year in which the first woman was elected to the British Parliament at Westminster. Countess de Markievicz, who represented a Dublin constituency, never took her seat at Westminster. Instead, she joined the revolutionary first Dáil, becoming the first female TD.
To mark the centenary, the Houses of the Oireachtas is hosting a programme of events that will highlight the history of the suffrage movement and its leaders in Ireland and the impact of wider voting rights.
Exhibition installed in Seanad ante room
18 July 2018
Items for display in the forthcoming exhibition were delivered to Leinster House today. This is the portable lectern used by the Irishwomen's Franchise League on their speaking tours. The exhibition is in partnership with the National Museum of Ireland and the National Library of Ireland.
The suffrage campaign in Ireland was complicated by the national question, which dominated Irish politics in the early 20th century. The enormous focus first on Home Rule and later on total separation from the United Kingdom pushed suffrage down the political agenda.
As well as winning the right to vote in parliamentary elections, from 1918 women were permitted to stand for election. Find out about some of the first women who took part in parliamentary politics in Ireland.
18 July 1912
On this day in July 1912 English suffragettes followed Prime Minister Asquith to Dublin. They threw a hatchet at him and set fire to the theatre where he was to speak. One Irish Times writer opined that "It is charitable to suppose that the heat wave had something to do with the series of disagreeable incidents which culminated in attempted arson and hatchet-throwing in Dublin."
Timeline - the road to the vote
The Great Reform Act restricts parliamentary vote to “male persons”
The Representation of the People Act 1832, known as the Great Reform Act, created new constituencies and granted the parliamentary vote to small landowners, tenant farmers and householders who paid a yearly rental of £10. The electorate almost doubled, however, the Act specified that the parliamentary vote was granted only to "male persons".
This 1831 etching by George Cruikshank depicts the House of Commons as a mill in decay. Supported by cannons and muskets, it pours out a golden stream of money and benefits to the greedy beneficiaries of the political system.
- Members of the Vótáil 100 committee
Senator Ivana Bacik (chairperson)
Senator Alice Mary Higgins
Senator Gabrielle McFadden
Senator Rose Conway Walsh
Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin
Deputy Catherine Martin
- Our thanks to the following people for their contribution to Vótáil 100
Sinéad McCoole, historian and curator, Centenary of Women in Politics 2018, Commemorations Unit, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Former Senator Paschal Mooney
Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington
Dr Fiona Buckley, Department of Government and Politics, University College Cork UCC
Claire McGing, Department of Geography, NUI Maynooth
Jane Maxwell, principal curator, the Library of Trinity College Dublin
Estelle Gittins, assistant librarian, the Library of Trinity College Dublin
Donal Maguire, curator at National Gallery of Ireland
Finola Doyle-O'Neill, Broadcast Historian (TV, Radio, Film), School of History, UCC
Dr Audrey Whitty, keeper, Art & Industrial Division, National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History
Sandra Heise, curator at the National Museum of Ireland
Lorraine Comer, head of education, National Museum of Ireland
Vanessa Carswell, Royal Irish Academy
Rebecca Gageby, Royal Irish Academy
Liz Forster, Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane
Professor Louise Ryan, Department of Sociological Studies, The University of Sheffield
Mary Clancy, Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway
- Díospóireacht na nÓg mentors
Houses of the Oireachtas
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