100 years today since first Dáil sat

100 years today since first Dáil sat

It is 100 years today since the first Dáil Eireann convened.

To commemorate a century of Ireland's parliament, a special ceremony will take place in Dublin's Mansion House this afternoon.

In the elections of 1918 Sinn Féin won a majority of the seats in Ireland and vowed to set up their own parliament.

They may have had no apparatus of government and no real power - they did have a mandate to rule.

But there were surprisingly few TDs at the first Dáil.

The unionists and the Irish Parliamentary Party - who won 32 seats between them - refused to attend.

And 34 of the 69 Sinn Féin candidates elected were in prison - including Eamon de Valera.

Micheal Collins and Harry Boland also were not in attendance as they were planning de Valera's escape from jail.

So just 27 TDs were in the Mansion House for what was largely a play to the press.

The number of foreign media alone that day outnumbered the TDs 2-to-1.

Almost all the proceedings were conducted in Irish - with a declaration of Independence and a message to other nations also read in English and French for international attention.

The first Dáil sitting wasn't entirely well received - with the Irish Times branding it a "futile and unreal charade".

But it marked the start of an institution that continues today.

This afternoon the President will lead commemoration proceedings before a special joint sitting of the Dáil and Seanad in the Mansion House.


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