Posts Tagged ‘Irish elections’

‘Applause please’: Innovations in Irish electioneering

23 February 2011

Contributed by Ciara Meehan

Polling day is now almost upon us.  By this stage the leaflets of various parties will have come through our letter boxes, while the lucky (?) few will have been canvassed directly by the candidates themselves.  The usual gimmickry is evident: the election has produced a proliferation of campaign songs; Maman Poulet has collected some of them on her blog.  And although this has not been an internet election, twitter, Facebook and other on-line media have had a noticeable presence.  Ireland, it would seem, is embracing the post-modern or digital age of campaigning.  But the combination of traditional gimmicks with new techniques and technologies to reach a wider audience is nothing new.

In the late 1920s and early thirties, Cumann na nGaedheal took an innovative approach to electioneering.  The Dublin North by-election of March 1929 was an arid political battle that attracted little attention; the parties simply went through the motions.  One event, however, that did inject some life into the campaign occurred on polling day.  A private aeroplane flown by Colonel Fitzmaurice – one of the three-man crew that piloted the first flight from Europe to North American on board the Bremen aeroplane the previous year – flew over the constituency, dropping the leaflets of the Cumann na nGaedheal candidate, Dr Thomas O’Higgins.  Read More