Thomas Quinn (MP)

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Thomas Quinn (1838 – 3 November 1897) was an Irish nationalist politician and a successful builder in London. A member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for Kilkenny City from 1886 to 1892 and Treasurer of the Irish National League and the Irish Land League of Great Britain.

A general contractor, main contractor or prime contractor is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of a construction site, management of vendors and trades, and the communication of information to all involved parties throughout the course of a building project.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Irish Parliamentary Party political party

The Irish Parliamentary Party was formed in 1874 by Isaac Butt, the leader of the Nationalist Party, replacing the Home Rule League, as official parliamentary party for Irish nationalist Members of Parliament (MPs) elected to the House of Commons at Westminster within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland up until 1918. Its central objectives were legislative independence for Ireland and land reform. Its constitutional movement was instrumental in laying the groundwork for Irish self-government through three Irish Home Rule bills.

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In the Split in the Irish Parliamentary Party over the leadership of Charles Stewart Parnell, he began as a supporter of Parnell but changed allegiance to the Anti-Parnellite majority in May 1891.

Charles Stewart Parnell Irish politician

Charles Stewart Parnell was an Irish nationalist politician who served from 1875 as Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and whose party held the balance of power in the House of Commons during the Home Rule debates of 1885-1890.

The Irish National Federation (INF) was a nationalist political party in Ireland. It was founded in 1891 by former members of the Irish National League (INL), who had left the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) in protest when Charles Stewart Parnell refused to resign the party leadership as a result of his involvement in the divorce proceedings of Katharine O'Shea, the separated wife of a fellow MP with whom he had a long-standing relationship.

Early life

Quinn had a humble background. He was the son of Matthew Quinn of Longford, Co. Longford. He was educated at Longford and Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. At an early age he went to London, where he lived for the rest of his life. He learned the building trade as a journeyman carpenter, eventually creating a large building business of his own, and winning government contracts. He was one of the pioneers of the building of flats. In 1863 he married Mary, daughter of Michael Canlan, and they had four children.

Longford Town in Leinster, Ireland

Longford is the county town of County Longford in Ireland. It has a population of 10,008 according to the 2016 census. It is the biggest town in the county and about one third of the county's population lives there. Longford lies at the meeting of Ireland's N4 and N5 National Primary Route roads, which means that traffic traveling between Dublin and County Mayo, or North County Roscommon passes around the town. The station in Longford on the Dublin-Sligo line is important for commuters.

County Longford County in the Republic of Ireland

County Longford is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Midlands Region and is in the province of Leinster. It is named after the town of Longford. Longford County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county was 40,873 at the 2016 census. The county is based on the historic Gaelic territory of Annaly (Anghaile), formerly known as Teffia (Teathbha).

Mullingar Town in Leinster, Ireland

Mullingar is the county town of County Westmeath in Ireland. It is the 3rd most populous town in the midlands region, with a population of 20,928 in the 2016 census.

Political career

He stood as a Home Rule candidate for County Leitrim in 1880, but came 170 votes short of winning a seat. He remained active in the Nationalist cause; as of 1883 he was Treasurer of the National League and Land League of Great Britain. [1] In August 1885 he was adopted as a Nationalist candidate for County Longford, and at a convention in October 1885 it was decided that he would fight the South seat. He had to withdraw before being formally nominated because of an indirect connection with a government contract, [2] but in the following July 1886 general election, he was returned unopposed for Kilkenny City.

Leitrim was a Parliamentary constituency in Ireland, represented in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It returned two Members of Parliament (MPs) from 1801 to 1885 and one from 1918 to 1922.

South Longford was a parliamentary constituency in Ireland, which returned one Members of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Quinn was a particular target of the "Parnellism and Crime" campaign by The Times newspaper against Parnell and his party. [3] Whereas the main accusation against Parnell was simply that according to a corrupt journalist Richard Pigott he had privately expressed support for the Phoenix Park Murders, Quinn was effectively accused in an anonymous letter published on 13 June 1887 of being an accessory to the murders themselves. He was effectively exonerated, along with his co-accused, by the collapse of The Times’ case before the Parnell Commission in February 1889.

<i>The Times</i> British newspaper, founded 1785

The Times is a British daily national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register, adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, itself wholly owned by News Corp. The Times and The Sunday Times do not share editorial staff, were founded independently, and have only had common ownership since 1967.

Richard Pigott British newspaper editor

Richard Pigott was an Irish journalist, best known for his forging of evidence that Charles Stewart Parnell of the Irish Land League had been involved in the murders of senior British government representatives. Parnell successfully sued for libel, and Piggott shot himself.

Phoenix Park Murders assassination of two senior civil servants in Phoenix Park, Dublin

The Phoenix Park Murders were the fatal stabbings of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Henry Burke in Phoenix Park in Dublin on 6 May 1882. Cavendish was the newly appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Burke was the Permanent Undersecretary, the most senior Irish civil servant. The assassination was carried out by members of the rebel group Irish National Invincibles, a more radical breakaway from the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

When the Irish Parliamentary Party split over the question of Parnell’s leadership in December 1890, Quinn supported Parnell. However he disagreed with Parnell over the latter’s treatment of the disputed "Paris funds" [4] and in May 1891 he applied for the Whip of the Anti-Parnellite Parliamentary Party chaired by Justin McCarthy. The Anti-Parnellites were seriously divided between the factions led on the one hand by Timothy Healy, and on the other by John Dillon and William O'Brien; between them Quinn was a neutral. [5] In February 1892 he saw off an attempt by a creditor to have him committed to prison, when the judge at Westminster County Court threw out the case on the ground of Parliamentary privilege.

A whip is an official of a political party whose task is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. This usually means ensuring members of the party vote according to the party platform or other accepted policy views shared by the party, rather than according to their own individual conscience or the will of their constituents.

Justin McCarthy (1830–1912) Irish nationalist and Liberal historian, novelist and politician

Justin McCarthy was an Irish nationalist and Liberal historian, novelist and politician. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1879 to 1900, taking his seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

John Dillon Irish politician

John Dillon was an Irish politician from Dublin, who served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for over 35 years and was the last leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party. By political disposition Dillon was an advocate of Irish nationalism, originally a follower of Charles Stewart Parnell, supporting land reform and Irish Home Rule.

Quinn retired from Parliament at the general election of July 1892 due to ill-health. [6] He died at his home in Kensington on 3 November 1897, having never recovered from a severe chill contracted when attending a Gaelic athletic sports event four months previously. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, on 10 November 1897. [7] He was survived by his wife, but all four of their children predeceased him.

Footnotes

  1. Letter by ‘Nemo’ in The Times, 10 July 1888. This letter formed part of The Times’ "Parnellism and Crime" campaign against Parnell and his party. Presumably most of what was stated in the letter was false, but there is no reason to doubt the statement that Quinn was the League’s Treasurer.
  2. The Times, 17 July 1886
  3. Moody (1968) appears to be the most up-to-date and authoritative overview of this episode, although he does not refer specifically to Thomas Quinn.
  4. The Times, 4 May 1891
  5. The Times, 16 April 1892
  6. The Times, 4 November 1897
  7. Freeman’s Journal, 8 November 1897

Sources

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Francis Smithwick
Member of Parliament for Kilkenny City
18861892
Succeeded by
Thomas Bartholomew Curran

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