In November 1923, the long-serving editor of The Kildare Observer and Secretary of the Kildare Farmers’ Union Frederick Devere (sometimes Devers) announced his departure from County Kildare to take up the role of editor of The Western People newspaper in his native Mayo. His departure from Kildare saw many tributes paid by local organisations across the county.
Frederick Devere started out his career as a journalist as a junior reporter in The Western People at the age of sixteen, before subsequently working as an assistant editor in The Carlow Nationalist and later in The Leinster Leader. (This is an example of his work from this time, which shows his lifelong interest in Irish and local history) https://www.kildare.ie/ehistory/index.php/the-greatest-of-the-geraldines-lord-edwards-connections-with-co-kildare/
Frederick was appointed as editor of The Kildare Observer newspaper (owned by the Gray Family) in April 1908 aged 21 years old. He continued in this role until his departure from County Kildare in 1923. Interestingly, he is recorded as living in ‘Old Gaol’ in Naas in the 1911 Census. He also was Secretary of the County Kildare Farmers’ Union from 1918 onwards, serving during a tumultuous period in relations between large farmers and farm workers/the labour movement in County Kildare including during bitter farm strikes in 1919 and 1922/23.
He later became joint owner of The Western People with his brother Vincent (who is also recorded as living in Old Naas Gaol in the 1911 Census), following the death of his father Terence Patrick Devere. They later purchased The Ballina Herald. Many well known journalists served under him in Mayo, including Irish Times journalist John Healy who authored the well known Nobody Shouted Stop book. Frederick remained as editor until his sudden death in August 1958. Below are tributes paid by members of Naas Town Council upon his departure from County Kildare in November 1923.
NAAS URBAN COUNCIL
MR DEVERE’S DEPARTURE
The Chairman [Mr. D.J. Purcell] said they all very much regretted the approaching departure of Mr. F. V. Devere, who had been prominently connected with the public life of the town for close on twenty years. He had been a regular attendant there at their meetings in his professional capacity, first as a representative of the “Leader” and in latter years as representative of the “Kildare Observer.” He need not say anything about the manner in which Mr. Devere discharged his duties. He did what would be expected from a journalist of his ability. The reports of their meetings were always very full, very accurate and very impartial. Sometimes there were when he found occasion to criticise their proceedings, but they always welcomed honest criticism – they had no objection to it – and they were sure that Mr. Devere in anything he wrote with regard to the proceedings of this Council was actuated by the desire to promote, if possible, greater efficiency and more economic administration. There was nothing personal in the matter, and he gave the Council every possible assistance. His loss would be felt not only in the town of Naas, but also throughout the entire county. Speaking on behalf of the people of Naas, he was sure he carried with him their best wishes that he would be as successful in making friends for himself in his new home as he had been in Kildare during almost quarter of a century. He begged to propose a resolution expressing regret at Mr. Devere’s departure and conveying their best wishes to him.
Mr. Fitzsimons said he wished to second that resolution and to associate himself with the Chairman’s remarks regarding Mr. Devere. He had been in their midst for close on twenty years, and, as far as he knew, never in any way lessened the opinions of the people with regard to his actions in the position he occupied – a very important one, and one that sometimes as members of this Council they had a terror of (laughter), or if they hadn’t they ought to have had. However, taking everything into consideration, Mr. Devere’s relations with the Council and the people were, on the whole, pleasant and agreeable, and he was sure the Council and the people of Naas would regret his departure. They would not say anything about his abilities or actions outside the town. There would be others better able to speak of them than him, and he was sure they would do him justice. Mr. Dowling said he also desired to be associated with the resolution. Mr. Carroll said he agreed with everything said about Mr. Devere. Although they differed from him – at least he did – he still admired him for his courage, and he might say that as far as labour was concerned they were also sorry to hear of his departure. The Clerk said on behalf of the officials he begged to be associated with the resolution, and he wished Mr. Devere many happy years to develop in his native part of the country the talents which so eminently in this part. He wished him every success in his future life.
Mr. Devere, responding, said he need hardly say how much obliged to them he was for their very kind expressions to him on the occasion of his departure from Kildare. It was a consolation to think that he would carry with him to his new sphere their many good wishes, which he on his part sincerely reciprocated. He was also glad to think that although he considered it his duty to criticise this Council on occasions, that they appreciated the fact that it was not done in any spirit of personal animosity, but with the desire to help in the administration they had shown themselves so capable of carrying on. He very keenly regretted to sever his connection with the Co. Kildare because during his long period of residence there he had received nothing but the greatest courtesy and kindness. He might add that he had been at this Council since he came to the county seventeen years ago, and with the exception of Mr. Fitzsimons, he was sorry most of the familiar faces of the past had disappeared. He hoped that in the future they would at least be equally successful in carrying out the administration of the district, and he thought he need hardly say that in leaving Naas he wishes the members of the Council and the people of the town, from whom he had always received the greatest consideration, the best that could be afforded by the future.
Taken from The Kildare Observer, Saturday 24 November, 1923.