1921 Irish elections

Two elections in Ireland took place in 1921, as a result of the Government of Ireland Act 1920 to establish the House of Commons of Northern Ireland and the House of Commons of Southern Ireland. The election was used by Irish Republicans as the basis of membership of the Second Dáil. Where contested, the elections used single transferable vote.

1921 Southern Ireland general election

24 May 1921

128 seats in the House of Commons of Southern Ireland
  First party
Leader Éamon de Valera
Party Sinn Féin
Leader since 1917
Leader's seat Clare East
Seats won 124
Popular vote Unopposed

Southern Ireland result

No actual polling took place in Southern Ireland as all 128 candidates were returned unopposed. Of these, 124 were won by Sinn Féin and four by independent Unionists representing the University of Dublin (Trinity College).[1] When the date of the elections was announced in the House of Commons, the Conservative MP Sir William Davison, who had been born in Broughshane, County Antrim, had asked "What is the object of holding elections in Southern Ireland when any candidates who do not support Sinn Fein would be shot?" Other members had replied "How do you know?"[2]

John Dillon and T. P. O'Connor both agreed that the Irish Party should not fight Sinn Féin for seats for the Southern parliament as things stood.[3] Former Irish Parliamentary Party MP Stephen Gwynn, now a member of the Irish Dominion League, advocated putting up League candidates against Sinn Féin. In early March he met with southern Unionists Viscount Midleton and Lord Oranmore, requesting them to pool their resources to contest the election and contest the election on a platform opposing the IRA's violence, under Midleton's leadership. Midleton declined the invitation, just as he had declined a previous request for his Unionist Anti-Partition League to join the Dominion League.[4]

A single Unionist candidate had been selected to contest the constituency of Donegal: Major Robert L Moore, who had contested East Donegal in 1918.[5] Moore however later withdrew his candidacy just before the election.[6][7]

1921 Southern Ireland general election
Party Leader No. of seats % of seats
Sinn Féin Éamon de Valera 124 96.9
Independent Unionist 4 3.1
Totals 128 100
Parliamentary seats
Sinn Féin
Independent Unionist

Only Sinn Féin candidates recognised the Dáil and five of these had been elected in two constituencies (Michael Collins, Éamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith, Seán Milroy and Eoin MacNeill) one in each part of Ireland. The total number of members who assembled in the Second Dáil was 125: 119 elected solely in Southern Ireland, 1 solely in Northern Ireland (Seán O'Mahony), and 5 in both.

In Southern Ireland, there were fresh elections in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

Northern Ireland result

1921 Northern Ireland general election

24 May 1921

All 52 seats to the Northern Ireland House of Commons
27 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
Leader James Craig Éamon de Valera Joe Devlin
Party UUP Sinn Féin Nationalist
Leader since 1921 1917 1918
Leader's seat Down Down Belfast West
Seats won 40 6 6
Popular vote 343,347 104,917 60,577
Percentage 66.9% 20.5% 11.8%

Percentage of seats gained by each of the party.

Prime Minister before election


Elected Prime Minister

James Craig

The general election to the Northern Ireland House of Commons occurred on 24 May. Of 52 seats, including Queen's University of Belfast, 40 were won by Unionists, 6 by moderate nationalists and 6 by Sinn Féin.

1921 Northern Ireland general election
Party Leader Seats % of seats Votes % of votes
Ulster Unionist Party James Craig 40 76.9 343,347 66.9
Sinn Féin Éamon de Valera 6 11.5 104,917 20.5
Nationalist Party (NI) Joe Devlin 6 11.5 60,577 11.8
Belfast Labour Party 0 0 3,075 0.6
Independent 0 0 926 0.2
Totals 52 100 512,842 100

Voting summary

First preference vote
Ulster Unionist
Sinn Féin
Belfast Labour

Seats summary

Parliamentary seats
Ulster Unionist
Sinn Féin

See also


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