Votes and gerrymandering

 

Sir, – Writing about the “gerrymandering” of some local authority districts (Home News, August 10th) Susan McKay states: “Those who owned houses had votes, those who did not had none”. This is incorrect. There was indeed a restricted voting entitlement in operation right up to 1969, but it was not one reserved only for home owners. Tenants, both public and private, along with their spouses also had the vote. So in terms of distinguishing between who had the vote and who didn’t, social class was in fact the primary divider, not religious denomination; precisely as was intended by its originators, the British government at the latter end of the 19th century. It applied throughout the UK and not just Northern Ireland right up to the end of the second World War, after which it was abandoned in Britain but retained in Northern Ireland. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL DONNELLY,

Lecturer,

Political Science & Sociology,

NUIG, Galway.