IRISH REVOLUTIONARY REPUBLICANS

In 1918 Maud Gonne was arrested and imprisoned in Holloway along with Countess Constance Markievicz revolutionary Irish nationalists, suffragette and socialists. They were accused of being involved in the “German Plot” when it was alleged that they were in league with Germany against Britain. Countess Constance Markievicz (nee Gore Booth) was in elected Sinn Fein MP for Dublin St Patricks from her cell in Holloway prison. Becoming the first women elected MP to British House of Commons Westminster, beating her opponent with 66% of the vote. She was imprisoned in Holloway during the first Dail (Parliament) in Ireland in 1919. Called as those elected in the 1918 General Election refused to recognise the Parliament of the United Kingdom. When her name as read out in the Dail she was cited as being "imprisoned by the foreign enemy". She became both the first Irish female Cabinet Minister and at the same time, only the second female government minister in Europe. Hanna Sheehy Skeffington and Margaret Cousin (nee Gillespie) both served time in Holloway and were founding member of the Irish Women’s Workers Union and The Irish Citizen a feminist newspaper and Irish Women's Franchise League Maud Gonne McBride wrote in a letter from Holloway "I have asked repeatedly since the day of my arrival here to see a Solicitor, but I am not allowed. We are not allowed Irish or Labour papers. No charge has been brought against us, yet we are shut up in cells seven feet by 13, with window too high to see out of, and [an] air opening about half a foot, 18 hours out of 24. We meet in the exercise yard while cells are being cleared and for about an hour in the afternoon” As Civil War broke out in Ireland in 1922, Maud Gonne founded the Women’s Prisoners’ Defence league with Hanna Sheehy Skeffington and Charlotte Despard “for the help, comfort and release of” Republican prisoners. They campaigned and fundraised for over 7000 republicans who were imprisoned as a consequence of the Irish Civil War. The organization of “mothers” as Maud called them, was banned a year later. The group also introduced the lily as a symbol of the Rising of Easter 1916. The lily is still used today by Irish Republicans to remember the rebellion and those that died.

Bennett, R. (2017). Personal Correspondence
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_D%C3%A1il https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constance_Markievicz http://www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/the-words-of-maud-gonne-macbride-from-her-prison-cell- 34576989.html