2001 ASSLH conference – The paradox of Paddy Lynch

Danny Cusack
Centre for Irish Studies, Murdoch University


Patrick Joseph Lynch (1867-1944) emigrated from Ireland to Australia as a nineteen-year-old. He subsequently served as a senator representing WA in the Federal Parliament (1906-38), the last six years as President. Unusually for an Irish Catholic in the Labor Party at this time, he adopted a pro-conscription stance in 1916-17. However, a closer examination of class and national loyalties suggests that there was a much more problematical relationship between the Irish and the early labour movement than much myth-making has previously allowed. Furthermore, the traditional Irish Catholic-Labor nexus has always been historically weaker in Western Australia than elsewhere. Lynch both reflected and reinforced that development. Hugh Mahon MHR provides an interesting counter-example to Lynch.This paper will firstly examine the career of Senator Patrick Joseph Lynch (1867-1944), an Irish-born Catholic pro-conscriptionist Labor senator, who, along with Billy Hughes and other dissidents, was expelled from the Labor Party in 1917. He originally struck me as something of a paradox, a maverick, an enigma. Lynch’s career and role in the conscription controversy is interesting and significant in itself.1 Secondly, however, the paper will use Lynch as an example to reflect upon some of the wider implications for an understanding of the role of Irish Catholics in the Labor Party, in the conscription controversy and in Australian politics generally in the early part of the twentieth century. I will also consider how the West Australian experience of Irish Catholic political involvement might differ from that in other states.

Early life

Patrick Joseph Lynch was born in Ireland in 1867, the youngest of eight children, to a moderately well-off family which had farmed in that area for generations. His home place was in the parish of Moynalty in Co. Meath, about ten miles north-west of the town of Kells, which is itself about forty miles north-west of Dublin. He grew up in a fairly close-knit rural community at the Newcastle end of Moynalty parish. Young Paddy attended a couple of the local national schools before, at the age of fifteen, going to spend two years at the Bailieboro Model School in Co. Cavan, a kind of non-denominational finishing school for bright young pupils who might have notions of going on to teach. It is said that young Paddy travelled the nine miles to Bailieboro each day by donkey.2 Whatever notions young Paddy may have entertained about teaching, he did not or could not pursue them. After a couple of years working on his father’s farm, he emigrated to Australia in 1886 at the tender age of nineteen years.

Life in Australia

Here Lynch had a very colourful and chequered career spanning nearly twenty years prior to his entering parliament. He worked for some years in Queensland, then went on to Darwin, from where he spent seven years at sea as a stoker and marine engineer. During this time he unsuccessfully attempted to save a fellow seaman from shark infested waters off Fiji in the dark of night, an act of bravery for which he was later awarded a Royal Lifesaving Humane Certificate. In about 1897 he followed the hordes seeking their fortunes on the Western Australian goldfields. During the next seven years he worked as an engine-driver at Kalgoorlie-Boulder, was a founding member of the Amalgamated Certificated Engine Drivers’ Association (ACEDA), of which he was Boulder branch secretary for several years then Goldfields General Secretary for two years, and represented trade union interests in the State Arbitration Court.

These formative years in the Goldfields at the turn of the century saw Paddy Lynch, by now in his mid-30s, cutting his industrial and political teeth in the early labour movement in Western Australia. For example, his role in representing engine-drivers in several prominent cases involving mining companies in the Leonora-Gwalia area gained for him a profile in the wider Goldfields. From 1901-4 he was a member of the Boulder Municipal Council, a position which augmented his union activities and consolidated his role in the local politics of the Goldfields and in promoting the Labor interest. In 1901 he married Ann Cleary, a native of Co. Clare, and together they had two daughters and a son.

Political career

In 1904 Lynch was elected as Labor member for the newly created state seat of Leonora and he briefly held office as Minister for Works in the Daglish Government (the first Labor government in WA) prior to its defeat in 1905. In 1906 Lynch was elected as a Labor senator for WA. An ardent protectionist, he took a prominent part in the tariff debate of 1907. Lynch remained a senator for thirty-two years (1906-38); the first ten years as a Labor senator, then the remaining twenty-two as a non-Labor (that is, Nationalist) senator, following upon the Labor split in 1916 and his subsequent expulsion from the party. Meanwhile, however, Lynch had severed his immediate links with the Goldfields. In 1909 he took up the lease of a 2500 acre farm at Three Springs outside Geraldton with his brother Phil.

In the wake of the conscription controversy Senator Lynch followed his leader Billy Hughes and other dissidents out of the parliamentary party. He served briefly—for two months only—as Minister for Works and Railways in the first Hughes-led National government. Lynch was doomed to be unlucky. He was never again destined for ministerial office—always remaining in the shadow of fellow Western Australian Labor renegade, Senator George Pearce—and his political career after 1917 was something of an anti-climax. In 1932 he was elected—on the third attempt—as President of the Senate. He was, however, in his late 60s by this stage and his six year term as president represented very much the twilight of his political career.

After his electoral defeat and subsequent retirement in 1938, he retired to the West and to his farming interests. He died at Mt Lawley in Perth in 1944, aged 76 years, and was buried in Karrakatta cemetery. A distinctive personality, Paddy Lynch was variously described by commentators as an excitable though sincere Irishman, given to colourful oratory and exotic turns of phrase, and occasionally to reinforcing his arguments with his fists.

Conscription controversy

One particular episode in Australian political history proved to be the turning-point in Lynch’s own political career. In the middle of the First World War Labor Prime Minister Billy Hughes decided he wanted to introduce conscription for overseas service in order to make up a shortfall in recruitment numbers. Two bitterly fought referenda were held in 1916 and 1917, and each defeated. The labour movement was split down the middle on the issue. In November 1916 the Federal Labor Parliamentary Party split; PM Hughes and twenty-two pro-conscriptionist supporters walked out, leaving behind 42 anti-conscriptionist parliamentarians. The minority breakaway group led by Hughes became the National Labor Party (NLP). The remaining (majority) group became known as the Official Labor Party. The NLP quickly joined up with the conservative opposition and became the first Nationalist Government under PM Hughes. This government was comfortably re-elected in 1917 and Labor remained in opposition until 1929.

The split at federal level was quickly followed by splits at state level, with widespread expulsions on a state-by- state basis. The state Labor governments in WA and NSW fell as a direct result of the conscription crisis.

There is ample documentary evidence demonstrating Lynch’s own involvement in the conscription controversy. In June 1915, at least a year before Hughes first proposed the introduction of conscription, Bakhap, a conservative senator from Tasmania, advocated conscription in a speech to the Senate. He was immediately followed by Senator Lynch whose speech included the following remarks:

Senator Lynch      I believe that what Senator Bakhap said with regard to conscription has in it very much food for earnest thought for every member of the British Empire, wherever found, for today we are engaged in a war the equal of which has never before occurred. We are engaged in a war with enemy countries which need not have gone to war at all. Germany was securing a peaceful, bloodless victory the world over in the matter of trade, and need not have gone to war at all. She could have preserved her good name and retained the respect and good opinion of the civilised world if only she had stood where she was, and not drawn the sword. But Germany began by breaking her word, and since then has prosecuted the struggle in a way which never could have been anticipated. She has violated every moral code, and today retains no vestige of respect throughout the civilised world. Having participated in that struggle, we need now to recast our ideas radically as to how victory is to be secured. Conscription has no terrors for me.

Senator Bakhap: That is the way to talk.3

Lynch was an ardent proponent of conscription during the ultimately unsuccessful referendum campaign of October 1916. In the wake of the referendum defeat and the subsequent withdrawal of Hughes and his supporters from the Labor caucus in November, a Special Interstate Labor Conference to consider the conscription crisis was held in December under the aegis of the Victorian ALP branch. An original letter by Lynch, in his own distinctive flowery hand, has been discovered in an ALP State Executive file in the Western Australian Archives. Lynch was writing to Clementson, the acting ALP State Secretary, from Melbourne where he had been attending this special conference as a Western Australian delegate. Lynch wrote:

Dear Mr. Clementson,
I wired you on Wed. stating that Mr. Burchell & myself were duly expelled from the Labor Conference & the Labor Party. When the vote was taken the President ruled that I had no right to sit. I protested against this ruling & said that I realised the moral effect of the overwhelming vote taken but reflected that I had every legal & constitutional right to share in the Conference until the last word was said. After making this protest, I retired from the conference as, otherwise, no good could result. The effect of this expulsion is that the elected representatives of the Official Labor Party cannot support or advocate conscription & remain members of it. The rank & file of the Party can still believe, & advocate conscription with impunity.

 I am firmly of opinion that Conference has made a monumental blunder. I was prepared, on the terms of my instructions from the North Coolgardie Area Council, to effect a reconciliation, but my expulsion prevented that being done. I’m afraid the breach is unhealable as far as the Eastern States are concerned. Notwithstanding this lamentable prospect, I believe the movement as a whole can remain solid & not suffer from happenings on this side. But, for the present the outlook here is not good.

P.J. Lynch4

Compare the relatively conciliatory, even hopeful, tone of this letter to the blatantly defiant tone barely two months later, evidenced by the contents of a small newspaper clipping sent from Melbourne and lodged in the famous ALP State Executive File No. 81 labelled “RATS”:

Labor executive’s message to be used to light cigar Senator Lynch defiant

Senator P.J. Lynch, Minister for Works, has received an official intimation from the Labor Executive of Western Australia, giving him a month to repent of his action in remaining loyal to Mr. W.M.Hughes, the P.M., and return to his party, under penalty of expulsion.

“I am still, and will remain, a member of the Labor movement”, said Senator Lynch this afternoon, by way of comment, “ but not a member of the party masquerading in the name of Labor both here & in the West. There is no repentance for me, as I am not guilty of any crime. I am going to answer in those terms. When their notice of expulsion comes I intend to use it to light a twopenny cigar. Even if I could afford a more costly smoke I would hesitate to spoil its flavour by using the document in question as a lighter.”5

Yet another example of Lynch’s defiance is portrayed in a colourful description by historian Bobbie Oliver of a meeting of the Eastern Goldfields District Council of the ALF in Boulder in January 1917 at which Lynch was called to account for remarks he made during the conscription referendum campaign. Lynch ended up coming to blows with a delegate at the back of the hall and the meeting dissolved in disorder.6 It would seem that Lynch had been somewhat wounded by the surprise motion of expulsion moved by Jim Scullin at the Melbourne conference the previous month. This had left him angry and defiant. During the conscription crisis the party in the West, despite strong internal differences, had strived for harmony and the avoidance of a split at any cost. Even the most fervent anti-conscriptionists had tried to keep the pro-conscriptionists on board. When the West too eventually turned against Lynch, this for him was the last straw.

Resolving the paradox

On the face of it, Paddy Lynch was a paradox. The common perception is that most Irish Catholics in Australia in 1916 were anti-conscription and that they stayed in the Labor Party, making it a much more Irish-Catholic party thereafter. Paddy Lynch went the other way and, after leaving the party (along with Billy Hughes and the other dissidents), he found himself on the non-Labor side of politics. Paddy Lynch ran against the Irish Catholic Labor grain in two respects: firstly, he was pro-conscription and pro-Empire in 1916, and, secondly, he was non-Labor thereafter, on the right of the political divide.

But was this really such a paradox? Is it not in fact a false paradox? After all it is a gross over-simplification to say that all Irish-Catholics were automatically pro-Labor let alone anti-conscription. Many Irish Catholics, especially of the middle-class, were not pro-Labor and, even those who were, were not necessarily anti-conscription. The issue cannot be resolved in terms of a simple dichotomy.

Western Australia different

The problematic link between Labor, labour and the Irish has been at the heart of much myth-making; the linkages are in fact far more complex. The common generalisation about the political allegiances of Irish Catholics did not hold true across Australia; more especially, it did not hold true in Western Australia. WA had a distinctively different religio- political development from the rest of Australia. There was never the same Irish Catholic-Labor nexus in that state, even before 1916. Some possible reasons for this are: the late history of convictism in Western Australia which resulted in the different development of the class structure; the relative lack of an industrialised urban working-class, impeded to some extent by the aforementioned recent history of convictism, at least until the 1890s with the establishment of a mass industrial base in the goldfields; the relative moderation of the Western Australian labour movement compared to the eastern states; the fact that politically prominent Irish Catholics early in the century were predominantly from the professional and professional and farming classes (for example, the Duracks, Tim Quinlan, Sir John Kirwan, Sir James Connolly, Norbert Keenan); the fact that prominent clerical figures like Bishops Gibney and Clune tended to be associated with the local political establishment, and linked to Forrest and the conservative parties; and the fact that Western Australia as a whole was more pro-Empire, pro-War and pro-conscription in 1916 in any event. Geographical isolation bred insecurity and conformity.

Lynch defection: Why?

Even allowing for these localised considerations, how do we explain Paddy Lynch’s jumping ship in 1916? Note that he was pushed rather jumped. Along with Hughes and the other dissidents, he was expelled from the Labor Party—not for supporting conscription, but for being a member of another party (the breakaway National Labor Party). Some possible explanations of Paddy Lynch’s support of conscription and his subsequent changing political camps can be summarised as follows:

(1) Lynch had experienced a road to Damascus and a conversion of heart with regard to the Empire. He was still an Irish nationalist but his seven years at sea with the merchant navy had altered his perception of the Empire. This is wonderfully illustrated in an address given by Lynch to a meeting held in Perth in 1925 to form the Argonauts Club, a conservative political organisation established by a group of businessman, including Lionel Boas, to fight communism and industrial unrest in WA. The following extract is in reported rather than direct speech:

Lynch:                    Although born in a part of the Empire which was not for a time on speaking terms with England, that feeling had worn off. [Applause]…Once he had but little respect for the British flag, but after he had wandered abroad he came back to Australia with the conviction that the best thing that he could do was to make this country for all time. The Empire could not be improved upon as a political organisation having regard to freedom. Whereas he once regarded the flag as an emblem of slavery, he now regarded it as an emblem of salvation. What democrat could find fault with a political organisation that permitted a Labor Government to hold office? Yet there were some who appeared dissatisfied with the Empire, although they had enjoyed the utmost freedom in the shelter of the flag—even the freedom to be disloyal.7

(2) Lynch was an independent thinker who had developed his own geopolitical world-view. He was well-read. He saw Germany as a potential threat to Australia and the Empire as Australia’s protector. Defending Australia meant defending the Empire. Supporting Ireland meant defending the Empire. He was an Empire man because he was an Irishman. He was very much in the Redmondite Home Rule tradition, which held ascendancy in Ireland up until 1916.

(3) As previously mentioned, Lynch had been one of the founders of the ACEDA, the elite craft union on the Goldfields. He had cut his industrial and political teeth in that organisation during this formative period of his life in WA. He would have been less sympathetic to industrial unionism and particularly to the One Big Union idea. Furthermore, he was absolutely hostile to the activities of the IWW during the First World War.

(4) Lynch’s generation of older, more moderate trade unionists from the 1890s era, including the likes of George Pearce, had to some extent been superseded by a younger brand of more militant unionists by World War I. Lynch’s generation of Labor politicians had achieved many of their original goals by 1913. He and his like were inclined to resent the younger more critical breed of Labor activists.

(5) The conscription controversy was to some extent merely a manifestation of a growing left/right divide within the labour movement. Lynch was essentially a man of moderation (in views if not in temperament!) who probably felt threatened by the left. However, we should note his defence on socialist grounds of conscription at the Special State Labor Conference in June 1916.8

(6) By 1909 Lynch was a farmer owning 2500 acres at Three Springs. He was now a big farmer rather than a trade unionist, albeit still a Labor senator. His changed political stance after 1916 could be said to reflect his changed class interest.

(7) Deep down Lynch was in all probability really a conservative; the conscription controversy and Labor Split of 1916 merely an excuse to jump ship. This is confirmed by his increasingly more conservative and right-wing stances on political & economic issues generally, not just the Empire, after 1916.

(8) Lynch’s own background in Ireland must not be forgotten. Once he had become a farmer again and returned to that farming tradition into which he had been bred, he would naturally have reverted to that tradition of rural conservatism with its attendant values and outlook. It is difficult to envisage his native parish producing anyone too radical politically. That part of County Meath has always had a tendency towards social conformity, political conservatism & moderate nationalism. This area was also more Anglicised than other parts of rural Ireland, especially Munster and Connaught to the south and west.

From this it might well be argued that Paddy Lynch had always been essentially a conservative farmer whose short career as a trade unionist and Labor activist can be explained as an aberration, an historical accident consequent of emigration.


Other aspects of Paddy Lynch’s career before 1916 lend weight to the initial impression of paradox. There is nothing in his background to suggest anything of the West Brit, Castle Catholic, lickspittle, seonin [flunky or toady], social climber or career opportunist about Paddy. Neither was he an obvious “right-winger”, and he had a solid background in the trade union movement, unlike some of the johnny-come-lately professional Labor politicians of his day.

Furthermore, Paddy Lynch was very much an initiator rather than a mere follower with regards to the events of 1916-17. He did not reluctantly support conscription; indeed he was its earliest Labor advocate in the Federal Parliament. He never apologised for his support of conscription, nor for joining the Labor defectors in 1916. He was always combative, uncompromising and unapologetic. Friend and foe alike agree as to his sincerity, and that he was motivated by the courage of his convictions and genuinely-held beliefs, rather than by political opportunism.

In 1916 Lynch seemed to view his erstwhile colleagues—rather than himself—as “rats” and traitors to the labour movement. At least initially, he appeared to see himself as true to the Labor tradition, something like the DLPers in the 1950s. How much Lynch’s language in 1916-17 was merely rhetoric is another question. As time went on, he ceased to defend himself as a socialist and Labor man. As with the later Labor split in the 1950s, positions became further entrenched as time passed and, once men had jumped ship, they were invariably inclined to move from positions of moderation to the extremes.

Another manifestation of paradox is the spectacle of the Irish-born pro-conscriptionist Lynch at loggerheads with the Irish-Australian anti-conscriptionist John Curtin in 1916-17. This surely suggests that degree of Irishness was a secondary factor in this controversy. Other more significant factors—for example, class, religion, political ideology, attitudes to war and pacifism—determined respective stances, even within the labour movement.

In a sense Lynch and Curtin neatly encapsulate the differing political atmospheres and moods of WA and Victoria in 1916. Significantly too, Lynch was at loggerheads with the anti-conscriptionist Archbishop Mannix of Melbourne, yet thoroughly in accord with his own archbishop in Perth, the pro-conscriptionist Patrick Joseph Clune.

Hugh Mahon

Hugh Mahon (1856-1932), sometime Federal Labor MHR between 1901 and 1920 (first for Coolgardie then later for Kalgoorlie), provides the obvious counter-example to Paddy Lynch. While the conscriptionist Lynch was expelled from the Labor Party, his fellow West Australian, Mahon, an anti-conscriptionist, stayed with the party in 1916-17, only to be expelled from the House of Representatives in 1920 on the motion of his erstwhile leader Billy Hughes for his now famous reference in a public speech at Richmond, Victoria to “this bloody and accursed Empire”. The parallels suggest themselves: both Lynch and Mahon were Irish-born Catholic Western Australian Laborites who established their early political careers in the Goldfields around the turn of the century, Mahon hailing from Co. Offaly in the rural Irish midlands, barely fifty miles from Lynch’s homeplace in rural Meath. Lynch’s solid trade union Labor background, as against Mahon’s status as a professional journalist with far more tenuous Labor roots, introduces another element of contrast and paradox.

However, a closer examination will suggest that Mahon and Lynch may not provide such obvious counter-examples of differing political trajectories after all. Firstly, Mahon was far from being an out-and-out anti-conscriptionist. Indeed, it has been suggested that he was initially pro-conscription, or at least content enough to go along with the plans of Hughes and the majority of the Cabinet of which he was a member, and that this would have remained the case but for pressure from extra-parliamentary Labor anti-conscriptionists forcing him to change his stance. Indeed, Mahon and his like were regarded as “trimmers” and “fence-sitters” by ardent anti-conscriptionists within the party ranks. This view is sustained by the fact that at an early stage Hughes had sent Mahon on a fruitless and futile mission to Mannix to try to persuade him not to openly oppose conscription.9 Secondly, despite his brief spell of imprisonment with Parnell in Kilmainham Jail, Dublin in the 1880s, and despite his extensive involvement in the Home Rule movement, Mahon was by 1914, like Lynch, a moderate mainstream Irish nationalist and Redmondite Home Ruler. He was certainly no radical or militant, nor was he on the left of the Labor Party. Far from it; indeed, his outburst in 1920 should be seen more as a temporary aberration on Mahon’s part, a momentary slip which Hughes seized upon for his own vindictive political purposes, thus elevating this relatively minor misdemeanour to a significance it did not deserve.

All of this suggests a strong element of historical chance in the different political paths taken by men like Mahon and Lynch. Such comparisons often serve only to underline similarities—and to re-assert complexities, ambiguities and ambivalences—rather than to highlight differences, let alone stark personal contrasts.10

Challenged assumptions

The conventional image of Irish Catholic republican anti-British, anti-establishment, anti-conscription, working-class Laborites of the World War I era is undoubtedly the preferred perceived self-image of many present day Irish- Australians, but it is a false or, at best, a simplistic one.

I want to suggest that several relevant relationships are in fact more complex and more problematical than often allowed: firstly, the relationship of the Catholic Irish within Ireland itself to the British, to the Empire, to the war and to the threatened introduction of conscription. Colonialism always appropriates, to varying the degrees, the colonised—or at least a significant proportion thereof. After all, thousands of ordinary Irish volunteers died in the trenches; secondly, the relationship of Irish Catholics in Australia to all of the aforementioned issues. Thousands of ordinary Irish- Australians volunteered for the forces. Allegiances were never straightforward. Neither were party political loyalties; thirdly, the relationship of Irish Catholics—outside as well as inside the Labor Party—to the conscription controversy and to the ensuing Labor split. Loyalties were divided, not only between people but also within individual people. That is to say, any given Irish-Australian Catholic felt the tug of competing ethnic, religious, class and political loyalties.

Irish Catholic political alignments in WA always differed, at least in degree, from the other states. The traditional Irish Catholic/ALP link was always much weaker in the West. My own view is that Lynch both reflected and reinforced this development. Consequently, there has always been a larger proportion of Irish Catholics involved in the non-Labor parties than elsewhere. Furthermore, the 1950s Labor split had a muted impact in WA. Many Catholics who were unhappy with the Labor Party—and who had not already done so—went straight over to the Liberals, by-passing the DLP. This subject requires further research and investigation, but my impression is that in recent decades there has always been a large number of people of Irish-Catholic background involved in the conservative parties in WA, possibly as many as in the ALP.

False paradox?

It might well be said that the “paradox of Paddy Lynch” is a false paradox, that I have conveniently set up as a straw man to knock down. That may well be so. Nevertheless, I would defend this tactic as a useful investigative device with which to unravel and tease out some of the issues. It contributes to a further understanding of the Irish emigrant experience in Western Australia; it breaks down some of the stereotypes, highlights many of the complexities and serves to underline some of the subtleties and nuances, ambivalences and ambiguities involved. Straddling as he does two political camps, Paddy Lynch encapsulates many of those ambivalences and ambiguities.

1 My own curiosity about Lynch was crystallised early in 1999 when he became the topic of my PhD at Murdoch University. There is, however, another personal reason for my interest; that is my own personal connection with this same north-west corner of County Meath. My paternal grandfather and three of his siblings who emigrated to Perth came from the very next parish to Lynch. During my 14 years living in Ireland I spent a considerable amount of time in this area; I feel an affinity with the people and I think that I have some understanding of the mindset of this rural community.
2 Despite historian David Fitzpatrick’s suggestion that I emulate Paddy’s feat, I did the next best thing and retraced the route by bicycle.
3 Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, 9 June 1915 [Senate debate on Supply Bill],Vol.LXXVII, p.3781
4 Letter dated Melbourne,7 December 1916 in ALP State Executive Correspondence File No.68,Australian Labor Federation Papers (Manuscript No.300) in Western Australian Archives, Battye Library, Perth.
5 Herald, Melbourne, 5 February 1917
6 Bobbie Oliver, War and Peace in Western Australia, UWA Press, Nedlands, 1995, p.108
7 Report in unnamed newspaper, 1925 [n.d.], in Boas Papers 948A/2, West Australian Archives, Battye Library, Perth.
8 Report of Special State Conference(Congress), Australian Labor Federation (WA Division), Perth , 1916, p.22
9 The Advocate (Melbourne), 29 November 1919, p.20. “Crushing Reply to Mr. Hughes: Mr. Hugh Mahon Gives Some Important Facts”
10 The case of Hugh Mahon does, however, suggest one other interesting observation, one which does serve to reinforce the conventional image of the Labor Party as a much more strongly Irish-Catholic party after 1916. The vote in the House of Representatives on 11 November 1920 which resulted in Mahon’s expulsion was conducted along strict. party lines Of the 42 members on the government side who voted for Mahon’s expulsion, none could be said to have Irish surnames; whereas of the 27 members on the Labor side who voted against Mahon’s expulsion, no fewer than eleven could be said to have Irish surnames. Such a stark contrast could not be more evident and it symbolises the reinforced ethnic-religious-political alignments after 1916.