Friends of Sinn Féin USA
Remembering the Most Unmanageable of Revolutionaries - Countess Constance Markievicz
Today marks the anniversary of the death of the Irish Patriot Countess Constance Markievicz in 1927. Sinn Féin MP Órfhlaith Begley writes about the life and legacy of this remarkable woman.
Remembering Markievicz by Órfhlaith Begley.
Constance Markievicz was a feminist, a socialist, an internationalist, an Irish republican, and the most unmanageable of revolutionaries. She commanded a contingent of the Irish Citizens Army during the 1916 Easter Rising.
In the December 1918 Election, Markievicz was one of 73 abstentionist Sinn Féin MPs elected across Ireland. Her significance should not be overlooked just because she did not take her seat on the Green Benches.
It often is overlooked by the British establishment - how often do we hear that Nancy Astor was the first woman MP? How often is Markievicz omitted as one of the leading figures in the campaign for women’s suffrage?
Constance Markievicz was elected in her own right. It happened less than a year after any women had been granted the vote – and only weeks after women were permitted to stand as candidates. No other woman was elected as early as December 1918.
She was a member of the First Dáil Éireann in Dublin and in 1919, she became Secretary for Labour, the first female Cabinet Minister in Western Europe.
For this and all her other achievements, she deserves a proper share of recognition for her place in not just Irish history but arguably world history. And while we remember Markievicz and honor her memory we must also be mindful of the tens of thousands of women who have been written out of history.
Michelle O'Neill MLA, Órfhlaith Begley MP, Mary Lou McDonald TD