South Longford by-election, 1917

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
McGuinness campaign car

The South Longford by-election of 1917 was held on 9 May 1917 due to the death of the incumbent Irish Parliamentary MP, John Phillips. The by-election ended in a surprise Sinn Féin victory over the Irish Parliamentary Party following a very close vote. The result was not announced until 10 May due to a recount.

Joseph McGuinness was selected against his will as Sinn Féin's candidate for the by-election. The prisoners in HM Prison Lewes, where McGuinness and other leaders of the Easter Rising were being held, were opposed to standing a candidate because the Irish Parliamentary Party looked likely to win, so McGuinness declined to stand. However, Michael Collins had him nominated anyway. His election slogan was "Put him in to get him out!".

The result of the by-election increased pressure on the UK government to free the remaining Irish prisoners in Lewes. They were eventually freed in June 1917.[1]

By-election 9 May 1917: Longford South
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Sinn Féin Joseph McGuinness 1,498 50.6
Irish Parliamentary Patrick McKenna 1,461 49.4
Majority 37 1.2
Turnout 3852 76.8
Sinn Féin gain from Irish Nationalist Swing

McGuinness subsequently sat for the Longford Constituenecy in the Dáil Éireann.[2]


  1. ^ "All changed utterly after South Longford by-election - 100 years ago today". The Irish Independent. 9 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Mr. Joseph McGuinness". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 5 March 2012.