December 28th, 1918 – Countess Markievicz

Today-In-History

Countess Constance Georgine Markievicz was an Irish Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil politician, revolutionary nationalist, suffragette and socialist. On December 28th, 1918, while detained in Holloway prison, she was the first woman elected to the British House of Commons, though she did not take her seat and, along with the other Sinn Féin TDs, formed the first Dáil Éireann

Countess_Markievicz

Markievicz was no stranger to being imprisoned; in October 1919 Markievicz was imprisoned at Cork Gaol for making a seditious speech. At the 1918 general election, Markievicz was elected for the constituency of Dublin St Patrick’s, beating her opponent William Field with 66% of the vote, as one of 73 Sinn Féin MPs. This made her the first woman elected to the British House of Commons. However, in line with Sinn Féin abstentionist policy, she would not take her seat in the House of Commons.

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Constance Georgine Markievicz, Countess Markievicz (Polish: Markiewicz; née Gore-Booth; February 4th 1868 – July 15th, 1927)

Markievicz was in Holloway prison, when her colleagues assembled in Dublin at the first meeting of the First Dáil, the Parliament of the revolutionary Irish Republic. When her name was called, she was described, like many of those elected, as being “imprisoned by the foreign enemy” (fé ghlas ag Gallaibh). She was re-elected to the Second Dáil in the elections of 1921.

Markievicz served as Minister for Labour from April 1919 to January 1922, in the Second Ministry and the Third Ministry of the Dáil. Holding cabinet rank from April to August 1919, she became both the first Irish female Cabinet Minister and at the same time, only the second female government minister in Europe. She was the only female cabinet minister in Irish history until 1979 when Máire Geoghegan-Quinn was appointed to the cabinet post of Minister for the Gaeltacht for Fianna Fáil.

“Today in History” on The Pandora Society dot com is primarily focused on Victorian and Edwardian history and does not always have a direct connection to Steampunk, Dieselpunk, or whatever punk; in fact it rarely does, but it is our hope that in sharing these historical events they might serve as some inspiration to the writers in our community to create potential alternative history stories which we look forward to reading 🙂


 

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