Election Mail [152]






Mail advertising election candidate’s positions on various issues travels free in Ireland.  Four different elections are included; the Dáil or  Lower House of Parliament; the Seanad or Upper House of parliament; the President of Ireland; and the EU Parliament elections.

To qualify for this free mailing, the letter containing the material must have the words “Litir um Thoghchan” or “Election Communication” printed or stamped on the envelope in lieu of a stamp. It must also state that this is in place of postage, although this appears to be an obvious conclusion.(Figure 1).

These covers are usually found not cancelled, much the same as the electoral material seen in the US.   

What is interesting is the variety of spelling seen for the word Thoghchan.  Prior to the formalization of the Irish lexicon in 1948, there was no “correct” spelling of the Gaelic words, although most areas agreed on most words.  Mackay offers several variations in Official Mail of the British Isles. (Figure 2 and 3).  I have been told that this is, in part, the source of the variety of spelling seen in Irish names.  For example, the family name Beisty from Mayo is sometimes seen as Biesty, or even Besty or Beasty, even though their bearers were related.  Regardless of the cause, this creates problems for geneaologists.  Postal history collectors are also hampered by the variations, but not to the same extent. The word Litir (Letter) was also subject to variation but has generally standardized. (Figure 4)

This mail normally is seen from the three major universities which each elect senators in Parliament.  Each university graduate votes for the individual to to hold the respective seat. The information is sent to the graduates, who vote by means of  absentee ballot in a registered return cover.

Mackay, James A.,  Official Mail of the British Isles, published by author, Dumfries, Scotland, 1983, Chapter IX, Pp 192, 196-200.