The Returning Officer


Louth was an Irish constituency in the UK parliament from 1801 to 1922 (split into North and South from 1885 to 1918). The Irish Nationalist Alexander Martin Sullivan was elected in 1874, but didn't take his seat; re-elected in April 1880, he resigned in May the same year. This was related to a feud with his "running mate" Philip Callan, whom he described as being without "a reputable public character". Sullivan sued Callan for libel and won.

Tim Healy was MP for North Louth (1892-1910) and split with Charles Parnell over his affair with Mrs O'Shea. In 1910 he lost the seat to Richard Hazleton, who was then disbarred by special electoral court.

Joseph Nolan, a supporter of Parnell, sat for North Louth (1885-92) having defeated Callan; he was defeated at South (1892) and by Healy at North (1895), before returning for South (1900-18). He then retired, allowing Hazelton to fight the reunited seat again in 1918. Hazelton lost only narrowly in the Sinn Féin landslide.

This article first appeared in the 14 March 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Who owns the world?