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Alban Maginness: Unionists must not repeat mistakes of 1918 and accept mandate of Irish people 

5 2 28
19.12.2018

Given the momentous event that was the 1918 general election in Ireland, it is strange that its commemoration is so low-key. But, as President Michael D Higgins has rightly said, the election was a "milestone in Irish history".

As President Higgins also observed, the results of the election represented the greatest single shift in parliamentary representation and also foreshadowed divisions that would deepen on the island.

He darkly remarked: "The poignancy of the 1918 election was the failure to respect its mandate, which would result in the War of Independence and the tragic Civil War."

This seminal event - the last all-Ireland general election - led to the formation of the Irish Free State and the setting up of Northern Ireland and thus the tragic partitioning of this island into two separate political entities for the past 97 wasted years.

The election was called just after the end of the First World War and was the first general election since 1910. Between 1910 and 1918, Ireland had undergone enormous upheavals, including the brutal upheaval of the Great War, the Easter Rising of 1916 and the shelving by the British Government of the Home Rule Act of 1914.

In addition, the election was........

© Belfast Telegraph