Boyle link with famous 1917 election

This February will mark the 100th anniversary of a famous political victory with connections to Boyle.

“The Election of the Snows” took place in February 1917 and saw “George Noble Count Plunkett” elected as an M.P. in Ireland for North Roscommon.

His election paved the way for Sinn Fein’s breakthrough in the 1918 General Election.

The father of Joseph Plunkett, one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, he was deemed elected in Boyle Courthouse.

To win the by-election, Count Plunkett saw off the challenges of two Boyle men Thomas J Devine and Jasper Tully.

Count Plunkett was elected with 3,022 votes to Devine’s 1,708 and Tully’s 687.

Amid scenes of jubilant Count Plunkett went on to announced that Sinn Féin’s policy regarding Westminster was one of abstentionism and said:

“My place henceforth will be beside you in your own country, for it is in Ireland, that the battle of Irish liberty will be fought. I recognise no parliament in existence, as having a right over the people of Ireland, just as I deny the right of England to an inch of the soil of Ireland. I do not think I will go further than the old house in College Green to represent you. I am sent by Ireland to represent you in Ireland; to stand by you and to win Ireland’s freedom upon her own soil.”

The election is remembered on an engraved plaque on the wall of Boyle Courthouse (main picture) which reads: “In this Courthouse on February 3rd 1917, George Noble Count Plunkett was elected Sinn Fein M.P. for North Roscommon. His election was the first step in breaking the parliamentary links with England”.

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