Letter: Sinn Fein's vote

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Sinn Fein's vote

Sir: According to Jack O'Sullivan ("My movie, right or wrong", 7 November), Neil Jordan claims that "in the 1918 general election Sinn Fein won 80 per cent of the vote". In European Political Facts 1918-84 (Macmillan 1986) Chris Cook and John Paxton state that (in the undivided Ireland) Sinn Fein received 496,961 votes, or 47.5 per cent of the total cast, with Unionists receiving 298,726 (28.5 per cent) and Nationalists 233,690 (22.3 per cent).

As Ireland then used the first-past-the-post electoral system, Sinn Fein did come first in 73 of the 105 Irish constituencies, against 26 by the Unionists and four by the Nationalists.

But as the turn-out was only 54 per cent, Sinn Fein actually received the support of 25.7 per cent of the electorate of Ireland, against 15.4 per cent for the Unionists and 12 per cent for the Nationalists.

Jordan may be bundling Sinn Fein and the Nationalists together and claiming 80 per cent support for Sinn Fein in what, three years later, was to become the Irish Free State.

ROGER BROAD

London W2

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