Jeremy Corbyn proposes London Markievicz memorial

Election of Countess to House of Commons an ‘important footnote’, Labour leader says

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has proposed a memorial to Countess Markievicz to be erected in his London constituency of Islington North.

Mr Corbyn told the Labour Party conference on women that Countess Markievicz created history by becoming the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons.

Markievicz was elected to the Dublin St Patrick constituency in the election of 1918, but like all other Sinn Féin MPs, refused to take her seat.

She spent most of her early years in London though the family-owned Lissadell House in Co Sligo.


She was second-in-command of the Irish Citizen Army during Easter Week 1916 and was sentenced to death.

The sentence was commuted to life in prison because she was a woman, but later released.

She was arrested again in 1917 and was detained in Holloway Prison for nearly two years.

Holloway Prison is in Mr Corbyn’s constituency. While she was in prison, she was elected to the House of Commons.

In 1919, she became the first female Irish cabinet minister, a record that was to stand for nearly 60 years when Maura Geoghegan Quinn became a cabinet minister in 1979.

Mr Corbyn has been a long time admirer of Countess Markievicz and told the women’s Labour conference that her election to the House of Commons was an “important footnote in history”.

He added: "I have been discussing this with women colleagues on Islington Council and when we rebuild our library next to the prison we are going to have a plaque, a memorial, up so that all the generations can understand the contribution that Connie Markiewicz and so many others made."

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times