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As it happened, Ashe declined to put his name forward, and the national election committee was wary of choosing Clancy, a local but relatively unknown candidate, after the very narrow victory of Joe Mc Guinness, a similarly low profile local man, in South Longford.De Valera, as the recognised leader of the released prisoners, was acceptable to the Volunteers and had at least some national profile.
Your website address or its sub-links called deep link.The Parliamentary Party were on the run, having lost by-elections in Roscommon and Longford; the organisation in Clare was completely run down, as there hadn’t been a contested election in 22 years; their candidate was Patrick Lynch, a barrister and Crown Prosecuter.He was a popular local man – one Sinn Féiner said: 'he has defended one half of the murderers in Clare and is related to the other half'.Impressed by the evident change in the popular mood, de Valera overcame his doubts and accepted the nomination.But he made one interesting precondition – he insisted on taking Eoin Mac Neill with him.On the day of his release from jail, along with the rest of the convicted prisoners, de Valera was handed a telegram informing him he had been selected as the candidate for East Clare.
But he had opposed the Volunteers getting involved in elections when Mc Guinness was nominated for Longford; and now he insisted that he wasn’t interested in politics and wanted to stick with his work for the Volunteers.
He also demonstrated a puritanical streak, ordering the bar in the Old Ground Hotel to close on polling night, an order that didn’t go down too well with thirsty election workers.
He was expected to win, but the margin was much bigger than expected – 5,010 votes to just 2,035 for Lynch.
In October he was unanimously elected the President of the new Sinn Fein party, and went on to the career we all know about.
And Paddy Lynch, the alleged place-hunter, became a convert to Sinn Fein, opposed the Treaty - and in the 1930s became de Valera’s Attorney General.
Pamphlet for de Valera's campaign in East Clare in 1917 (Image: National Library of Ireland, EPH A319) From campaign headquarters in the Old Ground Hotel, Dan Mc Carthy organised the canvass with military precision.