Orator and Statesman Edmund Burke – Ireland’s First Female Police Officer at Today in Irish History

July 9: TODAY in Irish History:

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Edmund Burke born dublin

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks 

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.



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1797: Edmund Burke – Statesman and Orator

Death of orator, statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke who was born in Dublin in 1729. Burke is seen by many as the finest orator of his day as he expounded in the House of Commons on the American Revolution, (he supported the revolutionaries), the French Revolution and Ireland. On the converse side, Lord Byron apparently thought Burke was a  bore!

On the Penal Laws which condemned most Irish to poverty and ignorance he wrote “It was a machine of wise and elaborate contrivance, and as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment, and degradation of a people, and the debasement, in them, of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.”

Edmund Burke born dublin
Edmund Burke 1729-1797


In Irish Orators and Oratory, Tom Kettle writes of Burke:

” There is no political figure of the eighteenth century,”  says (Dublin-born historian William) Lecky, ” which retains so enduring an nterest, or which repays so amply a study, as Edmund Burke. . . As an orator, he has been surpassed by some, as a practical politician he has been surpassed by many. . . But no other politician or writer has thrown the light of so penetrating a genius on the nature and working of the British Constitution, has impressed his principles so deeply on both of the great parties in the State, and has left behind him a richer treasure of political wisdom applicable to all countries and to all times. He had a peculiar gift of in-

troducing into transient party conflicts observations drawn from the most profound knowledge of uman nature, of the first principles of government and legislation, and of the more subtle and remote  consequences of political institutions, and there is perhaps no English prose writer since Bacon whose works are so thickly starred with thought. The time may come when they will be no longer read. The time will never come in which men would not grow the wiser by reading them.”




1943: Anti-Semitic Attack in Dail Eireann

In a Dail Eireann (Irish Parliament) debate on The Emergency Powers Act which was primarily designed to curtail IRA activity, independent TD Oliver Flanagan unleashed an astonishing attack on Jews.

“How is it that we do not see any of these Acts directed against the Jews, who crucified Our Saviour nineteen hundred years ago, and who are crucifying us every day in the week? ….  There is one thing that Germany did, and that was to rout the Jews out of their country. Until we rout the Jews out of this country it does not matter a hair’s breadth what orders you make. Where the bees are there is the honey, and where the Jews are there is the money.” See Dail Debates  Ireland did not cover itself in glory during World War II with Eamonn De Valera famously visiting the German Embassy to express condolences on the death of Hitler, probably the most odious incident.




1959: First Female Police Woman

Mary Browne, Galway becomes the first women to join An Garda Siochanna, the Irish police force. Her serial number was 00001W. Twelve women commenced  training with 44 men at the Garda Training camp in the Phoenix Park Dublin.

Chief Superintendent Catherine Clancy writes an excellent article on Irish Women in Policing. The journey to accepting women in the police force was a long one since the inception of the Irish Free State in 1921.

In 1939, the Minister for Justice dismissed the idea as “he is advised that the agitation for women police is an artificial business without any real roots in the country. The reception of a delegation would only prolong the artificial life of the agitation by giving the promoters an opportunity to pose as the recognised representatives of a considerable volume of public opinion, which they are not.”

In one not particularly correct utterance during a 1958 parliamentary debate on the possibility of women police, one TD (Member of Parliament) suggested that “while recruits should not be “actually horse faced, they should not be too good looking. They should be just plain women and not targets for marriage”.




1968: The Price of Irish  Whiskey!

The Irish Parliament (Dail Eireann) discusses the vital topic of the retail price of Irish whiskey. George Colley, Minister for Industry and Commerce tells the country that “three complaints (including one anonymous complaint) were received in my Department this year regarding overcharging in licensed premises for Irish whiskey.”

Mnister for Industry and Commerce George Colley

The response followed a question from Deputy Ryan:

Mr. Ryan asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will give the present controlled price on the retail sale of Irish whiskey for consumption on licensed premises.

Mr. Colley: The maximum price, as prescribed by Order, at which Irish whiskey may be sold by retail in any circumstances is the price at which it was sold in the same or similar circumstances immediately before 1st April, 1967.

Mr. Ryan: Can the Minister say whether that allows for variation between one type of whiskey and another and why it is that one Irish distilled whiskey, which bears a name which is understood by some to be Scottish, sells at a price higher than other blends of Irish whiskey?

Mr. Colley: The regulation does allow for variations in price in so far as there were variations in price before 1st April, 1967.

Mr. Ryan: Is it only such variations which are now permissible or variations of the same extent?

Mr. Colley: The maximum price for Irish whiskey which may now be charged is that which was charged immediately before 1st April, 1967.

Mr. Ryan: Plus, no doubt, the taxes?

Mr. Colley: There have not been any additional duties.

Mr. Lindsay: Surely variations in price are natural consequences of variations in taste?

Mr. Colley: I would imagine that that is so.

Mr. Ryan: And location.

SOURCE: Dail Eireann debates




WATCH: A Short History of Ireland

Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

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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.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

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