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Nationalism and the Irish PartyProvincial Ireland 1910-1916$

Michael Wheatley

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273577

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273577.001.0001

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(p.269) APPENDIX B: Duplication between the Irish Party and the Volunteers, 1914

(p.269) APPENDIX B: Duplication between the Irish Party and the Volunteers, 1914

Nationalism and the Irish Party
Oxford University Press

The degree of overlap between the Irish party and the Irish Volunteers in 1914 was assessed, in part, by comparing lists of names compiled from local press reports of both movements. Duplication of names between the lists could indicate the extent to which the new Volunteer movement was taken over by the party, and to which it represented just the ‘old’ politicians wearing slouch hats and bandoliers.

Data from two newspapers have been used in this exercise—the Roscommon Herald and the Sligo Champion. Despite their differing political affiliations, these two newspapers were chosen because they published extensive, detailed reports of both Irish party and Volunteer events. Between them they covered virtually all of the three counties Leitrim, Roscommon, and Sligo. Though overlapping, the geographical coverage of the two papers was complementary. The Champion covered North Sligo, Sligo town, North Leitrim, to a lesser extent South Sligo, and, intermittently, South Leitrim and North Roscommon. The Herald covered North Roscommon and South Leitrim, to a lesser extent South Sligo and South Roscommon, and, intermittently, North Sligo and North Leitrim.

The differing political biases of the Herald and Champion in 1914 did not significantly affect the data provided by each paper. The Herald was relentlessly anti-party, while the Champion was a loyal party supporter. Admittedly, the Herald carried significantly fewer UIL reports than the Champion and some UIL branches—notably Boyle—did not submit reports to the paper. The Herald’s under-reporting of UIL meetings was, however, compensated for by a large volume of AOH reports. As a result, the list of 1914 Irish party supporters derived from the Herald was almost as long as that derived from the Champion.

From the Sligo Champion, lists were compiled of 643 Irish party supporters and 478 Volunteers. For the Roscommon Herald the comparable figures were of 634 Irish party supporters and 649 Volunteers. The lists were of activists, consisting of all those named as branch and company officers, those attending committee meetings, proposers (and seconders) of resolutions, speakers, and platform attendees at public rallies. No distinction was made between laity and clergy; the latter, where named in the newspapers, were included in the lists.

Not included in the lists, unless they were clearly named as members of the relevant organizations, were those who were reported as donors, subscribers, or (as was often the case) recipients of condolences. The same applied to those who were simply listed as attending public rallies, and to attendees at dances, balls, and concerts. Similarly, members of politically allied organizations were not, generally, included on the lists. Thus, Town Tenants, Foresters, L&L men, and Sligo ITGWU members were excluded. In the case of none of these organizations could the clear ‘party’ affiliation of all its individual members be demonstrated. The major exception to this rule was, however, the Hibernians, whose (p.270) influence was pervasive in Leitrim, Roscommon, and Sligo in 1914 and whose organization was undoubtedly loyal to the Irish party in that year. They were, therefore, included in the Irish party lists.

The party and Volunteer lists of names were then compared. This exercise was carried out first for the Champion lists and then for the Herald. Names that were found to duplicate were classed as ‘matches’, ‘probables’, and ‘possibles’:

  • Matches occurred when there was an obvious duplication of names between the two lists.

  • Probables occurred when there was an element of doubt about the degree of matching. In many instances, newspaper reports did not give an individual’s full name, sometimes quoting just one or more initials and sometimes just the surname. Thus a ‘J. Smith’ on a list for 1914 might compare with any one of’John’ or ‘James’ or ‘Joseph Smith’. In the case of particularly common first names, however, the assumption was made that the match, while imperfect, could be called ‘probable’ (for example, matching P. and Patrick, T. and Thomas, J. and John, M. and Michael). In addition, if a ‘J. Smith’ on one list was compared with two or more less common names on the other (for example with both Julian and Joseph Smith) then it was assumed that the individual on the first list was a probable match with one of the individuals on the second.

  • Possibles occurred when an individual’s initial on one list could be compared with only one, less common, first name on the other (e.g. J. with Jeremiah or M. with Martin).

Such a distinction between firm matches, ‘probables’, and ‘possibles’ is obviously arbitrary and involves considerable guesswork. However, to exclude the latter two categories totally from the analysis would be equally arbitrary and, while a degree of continuity could still be discerned from the use of ‘matches’ alone, would certainly understate the degree of commonality between the two movements.


Sligo Champion

As noted above, the lists generated from the Champion comprised the names of 643 Irish party members and 478 Volunteers.

  • • 132 names were ‘matches’, equivalent to 20.5 per cent of the party list and 27.6 per cent of the Volunteers.

  • • 45 names were ‘probables’, equivalent to 7.0 per cent of the party list and 9.4 per cent of the Volunteers.

  • • 36 names were ‘possibles’, equivalent to 5.6 per cent of the party list and 7.5 per cent of the Volunteers.

In total, therefore, all three categories combined amounted to 33.1 per cent of the party list and 44.5 per cent of the Volunteers. However, given the subjectiveness of the categorization of ‘probables’ and ‘possibles’, such combined figures must be considered too high.

Matches and ‘probables’ alone were 27.5 per cent of the party list and 37.0 per cent of the Volunteers. If, more conservatively, it is assumed that half of both ‘probables’ and (p.271) ‘possibles’ were actual matches, then combining these with the 132 clear ‘matches’ would give figures equivalent to 26.8 per cent of the Irish party list and 36.0 per cent of the Volunteers.

Roscommon Herald

The lists generated from the Herald comprised 634 names of Irish party members and 649 Volunteers.

  • • 119 names were ‘matches’, equivalent to 18.8 per cent of the party list and 18.3 per cent of the Volunteer list.

  • • 38 names were ‘probables’, equivalent to 6.0 per cent of the party list and 5.8 per cent of the Volunteer list.

  • • 26 names were ‘possibles’, equivalent to 4.1 per cent of the party list and 4.0 per cent of the Volunteer list.

AH three categories combined amounted to 28.9 per cent of the party list and 28.1 per cent of the Volunteer list. ‘Matches’ and ‘probables’ amounted to 24.8 per cent of the party list and 24.1 per cent of the Volunteer list. ‘Matches’ combined with half of both ‘probables’ and ‘possibles’ amounted to 23.8 per cent of the party list and 23.2 per cent of the Volunteer list.

Overall, on the basis of firm matches only, some 18–20 per cent of pre-war Irish party activists were also Irish Volunteer activists in 1914 and vice versa. Including half of both the ‘probables’ and ‘possibles’, these numbers rose to about 25 per cent. The major divergence from this pattern related to the significantly higher percentages of the Champion s Volunteers who were also party activists—these percentages were inflated by the smaller length of the Volunteer list derived from the Champion. Even with this outlier, it remains clear that between two-thirds and three-quarters of the local Volunteer leadership, in Counties Leitrim, Roscommon, and Sligo, were not active in the Irish party in 1914.