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A blog about the recent history of Ireland, with a focus on the revolutionary period of the 20th century, including the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War.
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Plunkett’s Turbulence: Count Plunkett' Return to Ireland, Jan-Feb 1917 (Part II)

Posted August 6th, 2017 at 09:56 AM by Ascendant
Updated August 7th, 2017 at 02:32 PM by Ascendant

Plunkett’s Turbulence: Count Plunkett and his Return to Ireland, January-February 1917 (Part II)

Count George Plunkett, father of the 1916 Rising signatory Joseph Plunkett, began 1917 in a miserable state - exiled from his home to England and publicly ejected from the Royal Dublin Society. His luck turned when he was chosen to be a candidate in the North Roscommon by-election.

He had been selected by a coalition of Nationalist groups and individuals, joined by an impatience with the status quo, who sought to use the Plunkett name and its connection with the Rising. Their thoughts on Count Plunkett himself were often ambivalent, however. Arthur Griffith said to anyone who asked that: “If Plunkett goes for Roscommon, all Nationalists should support him.”

But in private, Griffith was distinctly cool towards a candidate he knew so little about. One of the Plunkettite workers in North Roscommon later claimed that Sinn Féin not only refused to support the Count at first but did everything it could to stop him from standing.

Upon his triumphant return to Dublin after his electoral success in North Roscommon, the Count announced his refusal to take his Westminster seat and called for a separate Irish assembly to govern the country.

At no point did he acknowledge Griffith as the originator of these policies. To hear Plunkett talk, one would think he had come up with them entirely on his own, which did not bode too well for future working relations with Griffith...
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