October 6: TODAY in Irish History:
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Curated by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks
Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.
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1876: Sir Wilfrid Bliss Spender
Birth of Wilfrid Bliss Spender one of the key players in the development of the Northern Ireland civil service. He served as Secretary to the Northern Ireland Cabinet, 1921-1925, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, 1925-1944. He was knighted in 1929.
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1891: Death of Charles Stewart Parnell.
Irish Nationalist political leader dies in Brighton England. Parnell is one of the tragic characters of Irish politics. The disclosure of a long running affair with Katherine (Kitty) O’Shea, wife of Captain William O’Shea, one of Parnell’s supporters ended his political career and effectiveness. . The 1889 divorce action and resulting scandal destroyed Parnell’s reputation and effectively forced him out of politics.
In 1875, Charles Stuart Parnell was elected to the House of Commons, as a Home Rule League Member of Parliament (MP) for County Meath. The protestant Parnell was a hugely popular and effective leader of the Irish land league and Home Rule movement. Parnell encouraged obstructionism (basically filibustering) in Parliament and encouraged Irish peasants to stop paying rent to landlords. Parnell’s activities prompted Prime Minister Gladstone to introduce the first Home Rule bill in 1886. The bill failed to pass.
O’Shea’s marriage to wife Kitty had been in name only for many years. It was public (though not publicized) knowledge that Parnell and Kitty O’Shea were lovers. She bore three of his children. O’Shea filed for divorce in 1889 citing Parnell as co-respondent. Parnell’s career was in ruins as Catholic Ireland and Victorian England reacted in horror to the public outing of his relationship. Just a few months after the divorce was finalized, a desperately ill Parnell married Kitty O’Shea. He only lived for another four months.
Parnell made his final public appearance at Creggs, Co. Galway on September 27th. Speaking to his dwindling group of supporters in torrential rain. Already in poor health, the drenching rain effectively proved fatal. He returned to his home in England and died aged but forty five accompanied by his beloved Kitty O’Shea.
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1948: Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams is born in Belfast. Adams is one of the most divisive figures in Irish politics, loved and loathed, adored and distrusted with a passion by respective sides. He is currently TD (member of Irish parliament – Dail Eireann) for Co. Louth and President of socialist Republican party Sinn Fein. Although he absolutely and consistently denies it, there is a general acceptance in Ireland that Adams was a senior figure in the IRA during much of the troubles. The most damning allegation against Adams were made by deceased IRA veteran Brendan Hughes who in an interview with journalist Ed Moloney for his 2010 book Voices from the Grave said “I never carried out a major operation without the OK or the order from Gerry.” The allegations that Adams was leader of an IRA hit squad continue to haunt his political career.
Adams was one of the first militant Republican leaders to push for democratic activities and a ceasefire during the troubles. In 1988, while still a persona non-grata in mainstream political circles (and he probably still is), Adams (on behalf of the IRA political wing Sinn Fein) commenced secret discussions with John Hume of the SDLP about the possibility of peace negotiations. Ten years later, the Good Friday agreement which brought political stability to Ireland was signed.
Adams has proved himself to be an extremely capable political leader and a charismatic orator building Sinn Fein into one of the largest political parties in the Republic of Ireland. The political minefield of IRA membership and involvement in numerous killings will not go away. On September 29, 2012, Taoiseach Enda Kenny stated “”From all the evidence I have read and from all the evidence I have heard, I believe Gerry Adams was a member of the IRA and I was led to believe he was also a member of the army council.”
READ: A Battle for IRA Secrets
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Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish
This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.
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