by ehistoryadmin on June 21, 2020


– Elects Sinn Féin Chair & Vice Chair

– Recognises Authority of Dáil Éireann

– Rescinds Previous Resolution Condemning 1916 Rising

– Passes Resolutions On Income Tax, In Favour of Munitions Strike, Demanding Release of Jim Larkin & Promotion of Irish history and language in schools

The first meeting of the newly elected Kildare County Council was held in Naas Courthouse (image above) on 21st June 1920. The make-up of the new Council was a radical departure from previous Council’s in power since 1898, with the republican majority (Sinn Féin and Labour) quickly demonstrating their control by passing a motion declaring the allegiance of Kildare County Council to Dáil Éireann and rescinding a previous motion passed in 1916 condemning the 1916 Rising. Below is a selection of the report that featured in the Leinster Leader the following Saturday.


The first annual general meeting of the newly elected Kildare County Council was held on Monday in the County Chamber Courthouse, Naas. The following were the members present – Messrs. D. Buckley, T.D.; P. Phelan, M. Fitzsimons, M. Carroll, Lee Heffernan, J.P. Cusack, John Traynor, Thomas Harris, Eamon Moran, James Fay, Francis Doran, W. Burke, M. Smyth, R. McCann, A. Murphy, C.J. Supple, James Cregan, H. Colohan, J. Fitzgerald, T. Doran, N. Hanagn, James O’Connor, W. Murray, W. Mahon, P. Dooley.

Messrs W. E. Coffey, Secretary; John Rorke, Co. Surveyor; P. Field, Accountant; A. O’Connor, B.E., T.D., Assistant Co. Surveyor were in attendance.


The Secretary said as neither the outgoing chairman nor vice-chairman were present it would be necessary to appoint someone to act as chairman of the meeting. Mr. Phelan proposed that Mr Buckley be appointed chairman of the meeting. Mr. Cusack seconded and the proposition was carried unanimously. Mr. Buckley, speaking in Irish, said: Is mór an onóir atá déanta agaibh orm, a cáirde, agust is baogál liom ná rud le tuillte agam, mar nílim in ann an obair an Comhairle a dhéanamh i gceart. Déanfad mo dhíceall. Continuing in English, he said he would proffer that some other members be appointed chairman, as had no experience whatever in conducting business as chairman. Mr Mahon, said there were all more or less in the same position as regards experience of chairmanship. Mr Buckley then took the chair.


On the proposition of Mr. Mahon, seconded by Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Eamon Moran was unanimously elected vice-chairman of the Council.


A letter was read from the County Kildare Gaelic League asking that a deputation be seconded by the Council at that meeting. It was unanimously decided that the deputation – which consisted of Rev. Fr. O’Brien, C.C., Prosperous; Messrs Art O’Connor, T.D; Dr. Grogan and Mr. Sean Kavanagh be received.

… Mr O’Connor said they were there to ask the Council to help put the Irish language ahead in the county, and there were a few things in particular they would like to ask them to bear in mind. For years they had been contending that one of their best methods of getting Irish into its proper place was to make it the customary language at meetings and in schools and such like places. It was in the power of the Council now, if not immediately, to make Irish the sole medium at the Council meetings to make it at least a very large partial medium…

Mr. Moran proposed a resolution in Irish that the Council should use all their power immediately to further teaching of Irish and Irish history in schools, school inspection committees to be appointed of members and non-members for this purpose; cheques, headings of papers, books, etc. to be in Irish alone, and minutes to be signed in Irish; that the Council give preference in advertising etc. to papers that publish Irish speeches and remarks in Irish, and that they give the language a fair show. Mr. Harris seconded the resolution which was carried unanimously.


Mr. Moran proposed the usual resolution acknowledging the authority of Dáil Éireann. Mr Fitzgerald said that he would like to make his position clear with regard to the resolution. They were all aware he had been elected on a different ticket from the rest of the members. He knew, of course, that he was in a hopeless minority on the Council. Mr Phelan: Why don’t you throw in your lot with the rest of us? Mr Harris: You are a citizen of the Irish Republic as well as anybody else, and I am sure you recognise it. Mr. Fitzsimons: I am an Irishman, and I hope I have always been a good Nationalist. The resolution was adopted, Mr. Fitzsimons dissenting.


Mr. Smyth proposed that the resolution on the minutes passed by the old Council deploring the rebellion of Easter week, 1916 be rescinded. Mr. Colohan seconded. The Secretary produced the minute referred to, which was proposed by Mr. Healy and seconded by Mr. Phelan.

Mr. O’Connor said he was not aware that any such resolution was adopted or that he was present. Members attending meetings were in the habit of going out for refreshments and in their absence it was possible for resolutions to be passed of which they would have no knowledge. Mr. Phelan said he did not think the Council passed such a resolution at all. It showed the altered times they were living in. At that time he believe the rising in Dublin was wrong, but times had changed since and conditions were altered. To-day he believed no man could remain outside the movement in view of the feeling of the country at present. He did not wish to say anything in support of his actions at that time. Since then his opinions had changed very much (applause).

The resolution was unanimously adopted. Mr. Mahon proposed that the resolution referred to be burned. Mar. Harris said he would not be in favour [of] cutting the resolution out of the minute book. He would be in favour of cancelling it by drawing a line through it in red ink. The suggestion of Mr. Harris was adopted.


Mr. Colohan proposed – “That this County Council of Kildare at a duly convened meeting desire to express our approval and admiration of the action taken by the Irish railwaymen and dockers, in refusing to handle munitions of war intended for the destruction of our fellow countrymen and we hereby pledge ourselves to support them by every means in our power and we call on all classes in the county to give their moral and financial support to these men in their fight against self-extermination.” Mr O’Connor seconded the resolution and suggested that they add “and that the Council form themselves into a committee to collect funds for the support of the railwaymen and that Mr. Michael Smyth be appointed treasurer.” Mr. Colohan said this was not a Trade Union fight, but a fight for the nation. The resolution was adopted unanimously.


On the proposition of Mr. Smyth, seconded by Mr. McCann, a resolution was adopted without discussion demanding the release of Jim Larkin now undergoing a sentence of from 5 to 10 years’ imprisonment in Sing Sing prison on a charge of criminal anarchy in America.

INCOME TAX INFORMATION (To British Authorities)

A resolution was also unanimously adopted, proposed by Mr. Burke and seconded by Mr. Symth, that the Council would not facilitate British authorities or their agents in the collection of income taxes and “that every possible obstacle be placed in the way of the British government in collecting taxes…”




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