Ceremony held in Ireland to mark the 90th anniversary of the death of Constance Markievicz

A commemoration was held on Saturday at Lissadell House, Sligo in Ireland to mark the 90th anniversary of the death of Constance Markievicz (February 1868 – 15 July 1927). Known as Countess Markievicz she took part in the 1916 Rising. In the Rising she fought in Dublin's St Stephen's Green where the fighters held out for six days, only stopping when the British brought them a copy of Patrick Pearse's surrender order. She was taken to Dublin Castle and then transported to Kilmainham Gaol. At her trial Constance Markievicz told the court, "I went out to fight for Ireland's freedom and it does not matter what happens to me. I did what I thought was right and I stand by it." She was sentenced to death, but this was commuted to life in prison. As part of the amnesty for those who took part in the Easter Rising she was released in 1917. 

At the 1918 Irish general election, Countess Markievicz was elected for the constituency of Dublin St Patrick's, as one of 73 Sinn Féin MPs elected in their landslide victory. In those days MP's were elected to the British House of Commons and she was the first woman elected to the British parliament. As with other elected Sinn Féin MPs, who refused to recognise the Parliament of the United Kingdom,  she did not take her seat. Those elected Sinn Féin members formed the first Dáil Éireann an independent legislature for Ireland which met in Dublin. She went on to become the second woman in the world to hold a cabinet position as Minister for Labour of the Irish Republic, 1919–1922.

Constance Markievicz died at the age of 59 on 15 July 1927. She was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery, where Éamon de Valera gave the funeral oration. At Saturday's commemoration his grandson, Fianna Fáil TD Eamon O'Cuiv, read the graveside oration which his grandfather gave at Countess Markievicz's funeral. A message was also read on behalf of the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins honouring her legacy.


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