In 1872, Lt. Colonel John Philip Nolan was elected Irish Parliamentary Party MP for Galway County at the British Westminster Parliament. A supporter of home rule, Nolan was opposed by a conservative candidate. When Nolan won the election W Le Poer Trench, the conservative took legal action, claiming there had been intimidation of voters during the election. Judge Keogh ruled that the Catholic Church has been instrumental in the alleged intimidation; Keogh named an archbishop and two bishops, and 36 priests. Trench was installed as MP as a result of the ruling, only for him to be ousted by Nolan in the 1874 election. Judge Keogh’s remarks and Nolan’s removal caused an outcry amongst the Catholic and Nationalist community. Among many who sent donations to the fund to contest the decision were the parishioners of Kildress, lead by the parish priest, John J M’Cartan, a noted Nationalist. M’Cartan’s letter, which was accompanied by a cheque for a total of £6 10 s, apologised for the smallness of the donation, and referred to local wants, which had been the subject of recent appeals for help. Fr M’Cartan criticised Gladstone, the British Prime minister for failing to condemn Keogh and concluded with a call for home rule. The names of the subscribers followed the article which was published in ‘The Nation’ on 12 October 1872 and included contributions from John Yarrow of Port Clarence, an iron town on the north bank of the river Tees, in South East Co Durham, England, and of Mrs McEllione of Blackhill [my home town], an iron town in North West Durham. Poverty and famine sent many people from Kildress to work in Durham.
List of subscribers:
Rev JJ M’Cartan CC Kildress £1
Michael C Quinn 3s; John Yarrow, Port Clarence, England; Patrick Devlin, Oretor – 2s 6d each. Mrs M’Ellione, Blackhill, England, 2s; John Moss, 1s 6d.
Neal Lagan, John Loughran, Joseph Loughran, Stephen Loughran, James O’Neill, Hugh O’Neill, Mrs J Devlin, John McCreeghan, John Hart, John M’Namee, Daniel M’Nally, Michael M’Crony, Michael Hagan, John Molloy, Miss M’Closky, Miss Devlin, James M’Kenna, Patrick M’Nulla, Bernard M’Gurk, Patrick Kerr, George Crilly, Matthew M’Crory, Michael Nugent, Terence Monaghan, John Loughran, Miss Teresa Loughran, Patrick Devlin, Patrick Grimes, James Mallon – 1s each.
Michael Loughran, Charles Loughran, Peter Loughran, Michael Quinn, Michael M’Namee, Patrick Quinn, Patrick O’Neill, Michael Ward, Edward Monaghan, Charles Heagney, Michael Quinn, Peter Monaghan, Michael Monaghan, Patrick Heagney, Owen Malloy, Patrick M’Gurk. Patrick M’Kernan, James Devlin, James M’Clean, Owen M’Givern, John McDonald, Terence Hagan, William Lagan, Frank M’Comomy, Peter Fox, Terence McIlhone, Joseph M’Nally, John M’Kernan, Patrick M’Namee, Edward O’Neill, James M’Creeghan, Bernard M’Closky, Bridget Quinn, Sarah Anne Devlin, Margaret Hagan, Francis Lagan, Arthur M’Gurk, Hercules M’Gurk, John Devlin, Patrick M’Nally, John M’Kernan, Miss Rice, Alexander McDonald, James McCardle, James Early, John Donnelly, Owen M’Givern, Owen M’Kernan, James M’Nally, Thomas M’Donald, Patrick Quinn, James M’Elhone, James Devlin, Daniel Hughes, Michael M’Closky, Archey Kielty, Neal M’Gurk, Peter Nugent, Bernard Mullen, John Nugent, Charles M’Kernan, Edward M’Cugher 6d each