24th November 1885

General Election

More people in Ireland than ever before were able to vote in the general election of 1885. The Third Reform Act of 1884 extended suffrage (the right to vote) to many more working men.

The increase in the electorate created additional support for the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) who won 86 seats. Charles Stewart Parnell, the party leader, had previously been the president of the Irish Land League which campaigned throughout Ireland against unfair rents and evictions. Parnell now turned his attention to achieving Home Rule for Ireland. Home Rule would give Ireland its own parliament to deal with its own affairs, but Ireland would still remain within the British Empire and under the rule of the British crown.

With 86 seats in the Houses of Commons, the IPP held the balance of power which gave them considerable political influence.

Home Rule, Nationalism, Voting Rights, Land Question, Parliament
United Ireland supplement portraying Charles Stewart Parnell as a knight.
United Ireland, Belfast Central Library