Motor car v. pony and trap

Published in Issue 1 (January/February 2019), Letters, Volume 27

Sir,—With reference to the excellent article by Leanne Blaney, ‘Motors wanted!’ (HI 26.6, Nov./Dec. 2018), on the use of the motor car in canvassing during the 1918 general election, in a February 1908 cartoon that was part of Sinn Féin’s North Leitrim by-election campaign on behalf of its candidate Charles Dolan, the former Irish Parliamentary Party MP who had resigned so that he could stand on a Sinn Féin ticket, Sinn Féin canvassers are shown in the background being conveyed at speed in a motor car. Under the strapline ‘A thing of the past’, the IPP leader John Redmond is shown in a pony and trap labelled ‘parliamentarianism’, lamenting: ‘Bad luck to that infernal machine with the foreign name. Ever since it come on the road I have lost any fares I had. I can’t afford to give the poor baste a feed of oats. I’m to blame meself. Me ould yoke is a bit slow, and it’s out of date. I was wan time in comfortable circumstances.’ Nevertheless, Dolan lost the by-election to his IPP replacement, Francis Meehan.—Yours etc.,

AENGUS Ó SNODAIGH TD
Dáil Éireann

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