PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION IN IRELAND. [To THE EDITOR OF THE "
Sin,—I observe that Home-rulers who cannot deny the existence of two nations in Ireland, are now greatly exaggerating the preponderance of the so-called " Nationalist" Party. An evening paper recently published a map of the Irish elections, and challenged any one to deny the fact that " five-sixths of the Irish electorate are Nationalists." The editor has, however, thought fit to refuse insertion to a letter in which I gave a numerical disproof of this statement. I therefore ask an opportunity to draw attention to the following figures.
The number of registered electors in Ireland is 712,000; the Unionist poll at the Election of 1883 was 142,000; twenty-four seats were left uncontested ; in three of these, contests have since taken place, in which the Unionist poll has amounted to 13,500. In the twenty-one seats which have not been contested at either Election, the Unionist vote would no doubt have been small, but would certainly bring up the total to over 160,000 votes, or considerably more than one-fifth of the registered electors ; and if allowance is made for absentees, the Nationalists can scarcely claim a majority of three to one, certainly not the five to one majority which is paraded by and for them.
The matter may be put in another way. The Unionists have secured a bare majority of Members in Ulster ; the Unionist vote in Ulster at the last Election amounted to 80,000, the Nationalist vote to 72,000; whilst the Nationalists won four seats without a contest, and the Unionists three. The Unionists, therefore, are certainly not over-represented in Ulster, but rather the reverse ; whilst in the other three Provinces, the forty or fifty thousand Unionist electors have not a single representa- tive, unless we count the Members for Dublin University ; in Dublin City and County alone there are some 13,000 Unionists who are absolutely unrepresented. I am not a believer in the possibility of proportional representation. I only wish to point out that, although five-sixths of the Irish representatives are Nationalists, the proportion among the electors is considerably different.—I am, Sir, &c.,