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April 21,

Charles Stuart Parnell. Roger Casement Captured. Paul Hill Exonerated on this day in Irish History

April 21: TODAY in Irish History (by IrishmanSpeaks) Twitter Icon

1875: Charles Stuart Parnell is¬†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.

Parnell became one of the tragic characters of Irish politics following an ongoing affair affair with Katherine (Kitty) O’Shea, wife of one of Parnell’s supporters. The 1889 divorce action and resulting scandal destroyed Parnell’s reputation and effectively forced him out of politics. He died in 1891.

Charles Stuart Parnell


1916: A German ship, the Aud is discovered off the coast of Kerry with a reported shipment of up to 20,000 rifles for Irish rebels who were planning the Easter Rising of 1916 (three days later.) The crew scuttled the ship and spent the rest of the war in captivity. On the same day, Roger Casement is captured by British forces after he lands in the same area from a German U-boat. Casement, who at one stage was a prominent English diplomat and British consul would be charged with treason and executed.

Roger Casement


1994: Paul Hill, one of the Guildford Four is cleared of IRA murder charges in a separate case to the Guildford charges which saw him spend fifteen years in jail. During brutal interrogation re the Guildford bombings, Hill confessed to the murder of ex-British soldier Brian Shaw in Belfast in 1974 in an unrelated incident. Following his exoneration, Hill said “‘I want to lead a normal life now. I’ve been in limbo for a long time. I didn’t wait for 17 years to be told I was innocent of this – I always knew I was innocent of this.”

Shaw’s family do not accept Hill’s innocence on this charge. The murdered man’s wife said “Naturally we are disappointed with the verdict.¬†‘We have to live with this decision, but we do not have to agree with it. Brian Shaw was the real innocent victim in this case.’

Hill married Mary Courtney Kennedy (daughter of Robert Kennedy) in 1993. They separated in 2006.

For more on Paul Hill


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This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humoristIrishmanSpeaks – 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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