COSGRAVE INCIDENT Political Consequences Summarised
From Our Own Correspondent
Labour by gaining a last minute seat at Cork on Wednesday upset Mr. de Valera's chance of gaining a parliamentary majority over all other parties.
Right up to the end of polling it was thought that Fianna Fail would be left at least equal to the combined strength of the Opposition. Only Labour has gained seats, Among the chief points of the Election are the following: (I) A considerable increase in the Labour Party, despite the reduction of the Dail, so that Labour (as forecast in a former letter) is the chief gainer.
(2) Fianna Fail and Labour together hold a solid majority over the rest of the Dail.
(3) Mr. Cosgrave's party has been defeated heavily. General Mulcahy, former Minister for Defence; Mr. Desmond Fitzgerald, former Minister for External Affairs, and Mr. Geardid O'Sullivan, one of the most important of General Mulcahy's former lieutenants, have lost their seats. For his viain support henceforward, Mr. Cosgrave must rely on Mr. James Dillon and Mr. J. Coburn, who represent the Redmondite tradition.
(4) Mr. Patrick Belton, head of the Irish Christian Front, Tvho stood as an Independent, lost his seat.
(5) The plebiscite on the Constitution resulted in a large vote in its favour, so that the new Dail is authorised by the nation to enact the new Fundamental Law.
The poll was heavy. In some places it touched 95 per cent. of the electors, and 80 per cent. was usual. This is a surprise to the Irish Times, which prophesied an apatIlletic election, just because all was done in so orderly a way.
As I said last week, the campaign was on a high plane of propriety. Personalities and disorderliness were conspicuous by their absence. There was only one regrettable incident of any note. The Republican Press published a private letter written by a prominent Unionist to Mr. Cosgrave, the drift of which shewed that Mr. Cosgrave had sought an opinion as to English views, and had received a reply condemning his party's attitude towards the Crown, separating the symbol from the person.
In replying to criticism, Mr. Cosgrave angrily made charges as to the means by which private letters got into the wrong hands, which Mr. de Valera angrily repudiated.
Otherwise, there was little to mar a dignified election.
The political consequences of the decision will be (i) The speedy enactment of the Constitution, and the election by the nation of the President of the new State—this will require a general vote on the panel of persons proposed for the Presidency, in a few weeks' time.
(ii) Probably a re-opening of AngloIrish relations. since the new Can renders the old Treaty wholly outof-date and irregular; but the initiative for an Anglo-lrish settlement must come, one assumes, from England, and will not come until English statesmanship sees cause to abandon its long policy of inaction.
(iii) The initiation of an advanced social policy, in which Fianna Fail, with Labour support, will make a bold attack on unemployment. A minimum wage for all workers is promised as the first large measure.
(iv) A new approach to the problem of Partition. This, I think, will take the form of spontaneous, popular agitation, rather than action by the State.
How votes were cast: meaning of "P.R." election. --page ii.