by ehistoryadmin on May 30, 2014

Leinster Leader 6 September 1913



(From Our Reporter)

A very largely attended meeting of the U.I.L. was held in the Town Hall, Kildare, on Thursday evening. On the motion of Mr. Charles Bergin, J.P., the Very Rev. Father Campion, P.P., occupied the chair.

The Rev. Chairman said he thought at first and hoped they would be given the pleasure of having Mr. Kilbride with them that evening at that very representative meeting. If nothing unfortunate occurred Home Rule would become the law of the land next year, he did not think they need fear that anything would go wrong. The Liberal Party were never stronger than at present, and there was no doubt that if a General Election came the Liberal Party would be returned with an increased majority. As far as the Irish Party was concerned he considered that no party had ever kept so well together as they had under the leadership of Mr. John Redmond, and when history came to be written that would be the verdict. As far as the subscriptions to the fund were concerned he was very glad to say that one gentleman had given a splendid lead but they all expected that from him as his name was a synonym of generosity and kindness. He alluded to Mr. Parkinson, whose cheque he held in his hand for £20 (applause).

Dr. Rowan proposed the following resolution: “That this public meeting of the Nationalists of Kildare congratulate Mr. John Redmond and his party on the magnificent success with which they have steered the way of the Home Rule Bill through its many rugged passages till it is now about to become the law of the land, and that we also take this opportunity of expressing our best thanks to Mr. Denis Kilbride, M.P., for the devotion to duty he has shown by his constant attendance during the Sessions. Furthermore, recognising the demands that will be made on the National Exchequer during the next few months in combining the campaign of misrepresentation of the Irish Party by the Unionist in British constituencies, we call upon the Nationalists of Kildare to make this year’s collection a record.” Dr. Rowan said that few words would be required from him to commend this resolution to them, beyond what would be addressed to them by the speakers who were afterwards to address them. There was no one present who did not realise that this time at least, they stood on the very verge of victory, and that their next step forward would bring them to the goal of mecca, towards which the gaze of every faithful believer in their country’s nationhood had been turned for many weary years, anxiously yet hopefully, to the goal of National self control and independence. To the younger generation who were in this fight he would say that every one of them carries in his knapsack now the portfolio of an Irish Premier. Before them lay the noblest path of any that life could present to them; the path of duty well and fearlessly trodden in his country’s cause. But before they could enter on that path they must first kill the dragon which lies across the entrance, a dragon begotten of bigotry and of the selfishness that comes of the too long continued enjoyment of unjust and unearned privileges. Concessions would not appease that dragon for it had too many concessions already, and the more it got the more it craved for. To slay such a beast as that it would be necessary for them to use whatever means events prove to be necessary. And when that dragon of bigotry was removed from their path, then would be their opportunity to show that religious intolerance was never a consideration with Irish Catholics in their fight for nationhood. He did not say that their present day opponents would get more privileges than themselves under an Irish Parliament. Why should they? But they would never leave it to their opponents or to any man, to say that they had got less. The man who in an Irish Parliament or an Irish Council raised the sectarian issue or otherwise showed the cloven hoof of religious intolerance would at once become suspected even by his friends, and would be cut off from the body politic as the prudent gardener lops away the cankerous branch of a promising fruit tree. Meanwhile they could not relax their vigilance until victory was assured. The threats of violence of their enemies were only hypothetical and in any case could be dealt with in due course if they ever materialised. The monetary resources of their opponents were their best weapons now, and the Nationalists should do their part in providing similar resources to meet them up to the very end of the chapter. They only asked from every man what he could easily afford. But it would be indeed regrettable if any name was found missing from the subscription list in this crisis, for that would be the last opportunity they would get of proving in a practical way the political faith that was in them (applause).

Mr. Charles Bergin, J.P., said he had great pleasure in seconding the resolution. The resolution was adopted amidst applause.

Mr. Ignatius Kelly (U.I.L. Organiser), next addressed the meeting, and said they were there for the purpose of giving support to their leaders and the Irish Party in their efforts for the freedom of their native land. In a few months time the Home Rule Bill would become the law of the land. For 30 years the Irish Parliamentary Party had been fighting for Home Rule which was now about to be granted for Ireland. It was their duty to support the Party who were bringing the fight to the finish. They were only asked to give their assistance in a practical way until the Irish Party had the matter to a finish by the winning of Home Rule. For 30 years the Irish Party had laboured to uplift them, and with many good results. To-day the farmer owned his land, the toiler was better housed. The Catholics to-day were able to assert their rights. Several other reforms had taken place for the better in Irish life. They should stand as one united people until Ireland took her rightful place amongst the nations of the earth (applause).

Mr. O’Brien, in his address, said that as Dr. Rowan had said this meeting should be a practical one, he was going to take a lesson from him and not keep them long. At that meeting they had expressed confidence in their leader and the other members of the Irish Party who were so well guiding the barque into the harbour of refuge. They should mobilise their forces so as to bring the realisation of their hopes to a successful issue. He was very optimistic of the result. The House of Lords had been crippled, and very shortly the matter of Home Rule would be an accomplished fact. They had with them at present the great force of the democracy of England but the forces of the Carrion Crow Brigade and the Unionists of England were having charges launched against them, and it would be necessary for their representatives on the spot to refute these charges (applause). It was of course necessary to have the sinews of war to enable them to fight to a successful issue. One of the charges which had been levelled against them had been dissipated. They had been charged with being intolerant as far as religion was concerned, but as far as the Catholics of Ireland were concerned, no such thing as intolerance existed. In conclusion, Mr. O’Brien trusted they would still work on until they saw the final triumph of Ireland’s cause (applause).

The Very Rev. Chairman, in introducing Mr. Ronayne, spoke of his connection with Kildare.

Mr. Ronayne, B.L., said he was very glad to come amongst them not as a visitor exactly, but to speak to many of those he had grown up together with. After 25 years of political labour the people had been raised to a level which promised the greatest prosperity for the future. He did not mean to discuss Home Rule. There was only one side to the matter of Home Rule, and that was their side. He was glad that that evening they had sent a message to their leader and the Irish Parliamentary Party of their faith in the work which they were doing in the House of Commons. For a generation they had been fighting and they met there that night proud now of the regeneration of their country as they were sorry for her in the day of her degeneration (applause). There had been a lot of criticism of the Irish Party but the peculiar thing was that it came from fellow Irishmen. However, it had as much effect on them as the bear who lost his sore head, or the fox without a tail, or the Manx cat who never had a tail (laughter). Nothing could now stop Home Rule, but it was at the last moment that the order was generally given up guards and at them (applause). He asked that each of them should be of that guard. It was only necessary to bring Kildare men together to work for the cause. They, as a people, had shown more virility than any people on the face of God’s earth. It was tried to take their religion from them, but they had their priests with them that day. It was tried to take their lands from them, but the people were now owners of the soil. They tried to take their education, but they also failed. At the close of a very interesting speech, Mr. Ronayne said that Kildare deserved well, and will deserve well of the high place it held in National Ireland (applause).

Dr. Rowan was on the motion of Mr. Ronayne appointed Hon. Secretary, and Mr. Charles Bergin, J.P., Treasurer.

The Very Rev. Chairman said there would be something wanting unless they heard from Father Staples at the meeting (applause).

The Very Rev. Father Staples, O.P., who was heartily received, said he was very pleased to be present at the meeting that night to co-operate in the good work which they had in hands. He (Father Staples) was more a man of work than one to make speeches. He came there when he was informed by Dr. Rowan that they wanted the sinews of war which were very necessary (applause). The enemies of their country were doing all in their power to breed dissension, and in order to oppose this, and to show the democracy of England their feelings on the matter, it was necessary to send men to contradict these people and of course this meant expense. They had any amount of money on the enemy’s side, which they were using for the purpose of vilifying Irishmen, and the Irish Nation. It would, therefore, be necessary for them at home to contribute to the funds of the National Party, so that they would be able to counteract the effects of their conduct. He trusted that they would all contribute to the fund and make it as it was last year _ a very good one.

Mr. Kelly proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman for presiding. Through all the years of persecution they had their priests with them and through the whole National struggle and when great reformations were being won their clergy were always associated with them (applause).

In seconding the vote of thanks to the Rev. Chairman for presiding, Dr. Rowan said he would like to associate with the vote of thanks the names of Messrs. Ronayne, Kelly and O’Brien, who had favoured them with such able and eloquent addresses. Of Father Campion, it would be enough to say to those present who knew him as well as he (the speaker) did, that they in Kildare could always count upon him in every movement at all calculated to make for the social, political, or moral interests either of the country at large or of their community in Kildare, of whom he was the faithful pastor and whose members one and all had entertained towards him since his coming among them nothing but the deepest feelings of respect and affection. As for the gentlemen who had come there specially to address them that evening they were able and energetic specimens of the younger race now growing up among them, whose happy fortune it would be in the better days to watch, as freemen, over the cradle of a new and regenerated Ireland (applause).

The Rev. Father Staples, O.C.C., seconded the vote of thanks, and the Rev. Chairman, having replied, the sum of £36 8s 6d was handed into the Hon. Treasurer.

During the evening a selection of Irish airs were played by the Kildare band.

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