Prelude to the Easter Rising of 1916

Prelude to the Easter Rising of 1916
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Refused to be Members of the First Dáil - William Archer Redmond

William Archer Redmond DSO (1886 – 17 April 1932) was an Irish nationalist politician and son of John Redmond the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party from 1900 to 1918. He served as an MP in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland as well as a Teachta Dála (Deputy) of Dáil Éireann, the lower House of the Irish parliament. He was one of the few people to have served in both the House of Commons and in Dáil Éireann. During World War I served as officer with an Irish regiment on the Western Front. He was one of a dynasty of Liberal and Irish Nationalist politicians who are commemorated in Redmond Square in the town of Wexford.

Redmond was educated at Clongowes Wood College and Trinity College Dublin. He was elected as MP for Tyrone East at the December 1910 general election and supported the passing of the Home Rule Act 1914.

When his father called for support for the British and Allied war effort in the First World War, Redmond joined with the National Volunteers in the New British Army and served on the Western Front for the duration of the war, first in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and then in the Irish Guards, rose to the rank of captain and was awarded the DSO. His fellow MP and uncle Willie Redmond, John's brother, also joined up and was killed in 1917. Three other MPs also served, J. L. Esmonde, Stephen Gwynn, D. D. Sheehan and former MP Tom Kettle.

When his father died in March 1918, William Archer Redmond resigned his Tyrone seat and successfully defended his father's seat of Waterford. Famously he campaigned in his army uniform and wearing a black armband. His victory ended a run of Sinn Féin victories at by-elections and gave a big, albeit temporary, boost to the morale of supporters of the Irish Parliamentary Party.

In the general election of December 1918, he was re-elected for Waterford City, becoming one of only two Irish Parliamentary Party MPs outside the six counties of Northern Ireland, and he spoke out strongly in the House of Commons against British military policy in Ireland during the Irish War of Independence.

Following independence, Redmond was elected as an Independent Nationalist deputy and member of the 4th Dáil for Waterford in the 1923 Irish Free State election. In 1926, he co-founded the National League Party, appealing to former supporters of the Irish Parliamentary Party, ex-servicemen, and others, including Unionists, alienated by the policies of the Cumann na nGaedhael government. The new party did quite well, winning eight seats in the general election of June 1927.

However Redmond alarmed his supporters by entering into a voting pact with the Labour Party and Fianna Fáil to bring down the Cumann na nGaedhael government, and replace it with a minority Labour Party–National League administration supported from outside by Fianna Fáil. The attempt failed and in the ensuing general election in September 1927, the Party won only one seat in addition to Redmond's own. The following year the National League was dissolved and in 1931 Redmond joined Cumann na nGaedhael. He died in 1932 and was succeeded as Cumann na nGaedhael deputy for Waterford by his wife, Bridget Redmond.

This ends those who sat or did not sit in the First Dáil.

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