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15th January 1920

Local Government Elections

In 1920, local government elections took place in Ireland using proportional representation (a system of voting which awards seats based on the proportion of votes each party receives). Proportional representation was introduced in local elections by the Local Government (Ireland) Act of 1919.

In the urban council elections in January, ten town councils in Ulster including Londonderry, Strabane, Armagh and Omagh came under joint Nationalist/Sinn Féin control. In Belfast, the number of Unionist councilors dropped from 52 to 29. In the county and rural council elections held in June Sinn Féin took control of 28 of the 33 county councils.

With these Unionist losses and the increase in support for Sinn Féin, loyalists feared that proportional representation could lead to further loss of influence.

Unionism, Nationalism
Poster of Labour candidates standing for the Shankill Division.
Deputy Keeper of Records, PRONI D1514/2/6