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An image of such politics
Author: Sonja Tiernan

More than eighty years after her death, the name of Eva Gore- Booth is still known. This book is the first dedicated biography of the extraordinary Irish woman, who rejected her aristocratic heritage choosing to live and work amongst the poorest classes in industrial Manchester. Her close bond with her sister, an iconic Irish nationalist, provides a new insight into Countess Markievicz's personal life. Living in an environment receptive to occult beliefs, Eva became preoccupied by spiritualism and believed she developed a psychic ability. Many historians and literary critics have credited Eva's interest in the occult to the influence of Yeats. Gore-Booth published volumes of poetry, philosophical prose and plays, becoming a respected and prolific author of her time and part of W.B. Yeats' literary circle. Her work on behalf of barmaids, circus acrobats, flower sellers and pit-brow lasses is traced in the book. During one impressive campaign Gore-Booth orchestrated the defeat of Winston Churchill. Her life story vividly traces her experiences of issues such as militant pacifism during the Great War, the case for the reprieve of Roger Casement's death sentence, sexual equality in the workplace and the struggle for Irish independence. The story of her revolutionary life shows a person devoted to the ideal of a free and independent Ireland and a woman with a deep sense of how class and gender equality can transform lives and legislation.

A social revolution begins
Author: Sonja Tiernan

Ireland was the first country to extend marriage to same-sex couples through a public vote. This book records the political campaign and strategy that led to this momentous event in 2015, from the origins of a gay rights movement in a repressive Ireland through to the establishment of the Yes Equality campaign. The story traces how, for perhaps the first time in the history of the Irish State, the country shed its conservative Catholic image. Ultimately, this is the account of how a new wave of activism was successfully introduced in Ireland which led to a social revolution that is being fully realised in 2019 and beyond through subsequent campaigns, activism and further referenda. The marriage equality movement is best explored through the stories of the main campaigners, including those already well known in the Irish movement, such as David Norris, Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan, as well as individuals who inspired the founding of vibrant new groups such as NOISE and Marriage Equality, or reactivated established groups such as GLEN. This social revolution is detailed through accounts of how political lobbying was used and court cases launched that brought about necessary legal and political change which now showcases Ireland as a progressive country continually working towards achieving full equality.

Sonja Tiernan

A brief introduction to the Eva Gore-Booth family background, tracing the reality behind how they achieved their land and titles, explains why Eva was so troubled by her family history. The turbulent nature of Ireland is embodied in the story of the Gore-Booth. The origin of the family in Ireland can be traced to Paul Gore, a prosperous soldier during the reign of Elizabeth I. Gore came to Ireland in 1599. In recognition of his loyal service to the Crown, Gore was created a baronet in 1622. When Robert Gore-Booth reached the age of twenty-one in 1826, he succeeded to the estate. Four months later he married Caroline King, daughter of the first Viscount Lorton. Robert visited the town hall during his travels to Manchester on business. Lissadell House mirrors the Greek revival style of the building in Manchester.

in Eva Gore-Booth
Childhood and Lissadell
Sonja Tiernan

In 22 May 1870, Eva Selena Laura Gore-Booth was born in Lissadell House, County Sligo. She was surrounded by her extended family and lived a life of opulence and privilege. The work of the Lissadell School was highly commended in the Pall Mall Gazette. Eva spent most of her time with her maternal grandmother, who instilled in her a love of poetry and an interest in religion. In addition to their education, the Gore-Booth children enjoyed outdoor activities typical of their class, including riding and hunting. Eva was particularly aware of the plight of others less fortunate than herself. During the 1860s spiritualism and the occult were becoming fashionable among the elite set in London who thrilled at attending seances and table rapping events. Eva's parents were particularly open to ideas of the spirit world and the occult.

in Eva Gore-Booth
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Meeting Esther Roper
Sonja Tiernan

It was at the villa in Bordighera that Eva Gore-Booth met a young English woman named Esther Gertrude Roper. Literary historian and author Emma Donoghue is dismayed with Gifford Lewis' insistence that the pair, along with 'a long list of devoted partnerships among feminists of the time', were platonic friends. Within just five years of graduating from Owens College, Roper became a highly respected campaigner for women's suffrage. Irish author, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne, accepts this premise stating that Gore-Booth 'lived with Esther Roper, probably in a lesbian relationship'. The two women met in what Lewis, perhaps unwittingly portrays as a highly romantic situation. Gore-Booth was moved to immortalise their meeting with a poem entitled 'The Travellers', dedicated to 'E.G.R', Esther Gertrude Roper, and published in 1904. Roper was a remarkable character and was clearly the greatest influence on Gore-Booth's personal, literary and political life.

in Eva Gore-Booth
Social reform in Manchester
Sonja Tiernan

After the publication of Poems, Eva Gore-Booth concentrated on social and economic reform in Manchester. Gore-Booth was inspired by Esther Roper's suffrage work. When she returned to Lissadell, she immediately set about organising a local campaign to secure votes for women at general elections. Gore-Booth called the first official meeting of the Sligo Irish Women's Suffrage and Local Government Association (IWSLGA) on Friday 18 December 1896 at Milltown National Protestant School in Drumcliffe, Sligo. The Sligo Champion dedicated a large section of the weekly paper to a detailed account of the events. Gore-Booth stressed the importance of gaining votes for women in order to improve their position in the workplace. She became actively involved with the work of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), attending a conference of their parliamentary friends in the House of Commons on 7 February 1899.

in Eva Gore-Booth
Lancashire trade unions
Sonja Tiernan

Life at Lissadell had changed dramatically since Eva Gore-Booth originally left Ireland. She published a poem, 'The Place of Peace', in New Ireland Review in 1899. This poem expresses a dark uncomfortable feeling about the crowded streets of Manchester. By the start of the twentieth century, Gore-Booth had completely rejected her advantaged heritage and was submerged into her new life in Manchester. The year 1901 marked a change in Gore-Booth's political campaigning tactics. The deputations came back to Lancashire sadder and wiser women. Gore-Booth resolved to secure a representative for women in the House of Commons. Gore-Booth and the radical suffragists offered to campaign for Shackleton amongst female trade unionists, if in return Shackleton guaranteed his support of women's suffrage. Gore-Booth's work at the WTUC was highly successful. She orchestrated the establishment of dozens of thriving unions for women workers.

in Eva Gore-Booth
Suffragists and suffragettes
Sonja Tiernan

After a long and arduous battle to gain equality, Eva Gore-Booth's perseverance was rewarded in 1904. Within days of Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst's threat, Christabel Pankhurst and Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) member Annie Kenney arrived at a Liberal Party meeting in the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Pankhurst was an executive committee member of the North of England Society for Women's Suffrage (NESWS). Before the end of 1905 they formed the National Industrial and Professional Women's Suffrage Society (NIPWSS). Gore-Booth immediately distanced herself from this new, militant wing of the feminist movement and from Pankhurst. On 19 May 1906, women from suffrage organisations all over Britain arrived in London to meet with Campbell-Bannerman. A report in an American newspaper clearly favoured Gore-Booth's delivery style.

in Eva Gore-Booth
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Legislative proposals and Winston Churchill
Sonja Tiernan

Eva Gore-Booth's strategy was to either run a suffrage candidate at election or support an existing candidate, regardless of party, who advocated for women's suffrage. The radical suffragists actively supported the Labour candidate at the by-election. Frank Gillett, an artist for the illustrated Daily Graphic, drew impressive pictures of Winston Churchill, Annie Kenney, Gore-Booth and Selina Cooper at their various campaign posts. In January 1907, Gore-Booth launched a quarterly paper, the Women's Labour News, as the organ of the Women's Trades and Labour Council. Gore-Booth anticipated that the Women's Labour News would provide a forum to air grievances and establish consistency throughout campaigns for gender equality in the workplace. Through her various activities Gore-Booth had alienated the temperance suffragists and she again faced opposition from the women's anti-suffrage movement. In her article Gore-Booth warns that working-class women should not be dependent on men or upper-class-women to legislate fair laws.

in Eva Gore-Booth
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From trade unionism to peace movements
Sonja Tiernan

An article appeared in The Woman Worker on 4 September 1908 criticising Gore-Booth and questioning the basis of her social reform work. J.J. Mallon was secretary of Anti-Sweating League (ASL). The organisation was founded in 1906 by trade union organiser and secretary of the Women's Trade Union League, Mary MacArthur. Eva Gore-Booth was not opposed to the health and safety regulations implemented through legislation. She was opposed to sections in the Factory Acts which set regulations for the employment of women. The first act to be introduced in the twentieth century, the Factory and Workshop Act 1901, was implemented on 1 January 1902. While the various trade union groups and politicians waited for the commissioner's decision, Gore-Booth continued to campaign against protective legislation. She published an article in the Englishwoman denigrating how the Factory Acts 'handicap women', through the actions of 'innocent philanthropists'.

in Eva Gore-Booth