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The general election of 1918 was also a plebiscite on the Easter Rising, two years previously. The Rising, and the destruction of the centre of Dublin, had been generally condemned. The Irish Parliamentary Party, under John Redmond, had been inching towards Home Rule; why bother with such violence? The belief was that the men and women of 1916 were brave, if foolhardy. Yet following the prolonged executions of the leaders, the massive round up of participants, and their imprisonment in Britain, a change of attitudes swept the country. This was perfectly illustrated in the election held on a bleak December day 1918. Sinn Féin had fielded candidates in every constituency. The campaign was vigorous and tough.
DURING REFERENDA on European treaties - such as during the recet Lisbon Treaty campaign - you will meet the odd excitable type who’ll tell you that he’s voting No because some closet member of Youth Defence or the Communist Party of Ireland told him the treaty would end Irish neutrality.