R.I.P. Tom Mitchell

Sinn Féin Poblachtach regret to hear of the death of Tom Mitchell. Tom was a a faithful Irish Republican. As a member of the Irish Republican Army he was imprisoned for his part in the raid on Omagh British Army barracks in 1954, he was elected as Sinn Féin TD for Mid-Ulster in 1955.

The British government used the archaic Westminster Forfeiture Act of 1870 to subvert the democratic vote of the people of Mid-Ulster. On 18 July 1955 a resolution of the British House of Commons, passed by 197 votes to 63, formally declared that Tom Mitchell was covered by this provision, vacated his seat, and ordered that a by-election be held.

In the subsequent by-election Tom won with an increased majority. Following this unionist Charles Beattie, whom Tom defeated in both elections lodged an election petition stating that the votes of those who voted for Tom Mitchell were invalid. Tom was not allowed to attend the election court. The court overturned the result of the election and declared Beattie the winner in defiance of the democratically expressed wishes of the people of Mid-Ulster.

The Westminster Forfeiture Act used to unseat Tom Mitchell in 1955 had also been used to unseat John Mitchell in 1875.

Tom later served as Ard Runaí of Sinn Fêin. He remained a faithful Irish Republican and regularly attended the Sinn Féin Poblachtach Ard Fheis. Deepest sympathy to his family.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.