The annual statuary meeting of the Swinford District Council was held on Tuesday week last in June of 1906. Mr M C Henry, JP, Chairman presiding.
The following Councillors were also present at the Meeting:
Messrs: J Morrin, M Igo, J A Mellett, T Morrin, A J Staunton, J Morrisroe, T F Harrison, T Gannon, M J McLoughlin, T Roughneen, J Parsons, M F Campbell, W McNerney, P A Mulligan, P O'Hara, P Jones, J Roughneen, and D J Murtagh. Mr A J Staunton proposed Mark C Henry for the chairmanship for another year.
Mr James Morrin seconded. He also proposed the re-election of Mr Patrick Jones as vice-chairman.
When the business of the meeting was concluded, the Chairman Mark C Henry, said that he now had to perform one of the saddest duties which it had ever fallen to his lot to discharge, namely to propose a resolution of regret at the death of that great Irishman, whom they had laid to rest last Saturday in the ancient burial ground of Straide.
He could not recall any occasion which had so deeply moved the hearts of our people and sent so intense a wave of sorrow to all classes, at the death of the founder of the Land League, who first pointed out to them the only lines upon which they could work with any prospect of success for the emancipation of the tenant farmers of Ireland.
When they remembered the work which he had accomplished and what he could still do, if God had spared him, it was hard to realise that the heart which always beat so warmly for his native land, was now stilled in death. Mr Davitt was a unique figure in Irish politics, and he could never be replaced.
The only consolation they had was, through his works and writings, he would still continue to speak to them from beyond the grave, and his memory would be a beacon to move his countrymen to greater effort for the achievement of that measure of Liberty which he told them in his pathetic message to the Nation it was his life's ambition to obtain.
He had gone down to memory with the ashes of his own, amid a manifestation of sorrow and respect, which has scarcely been ever witnessed in Ireland before.
The Chairman also mentioned that in all the Churches in the Parish of Charlestown prayers were offered up publicly for the repose of his soul, and he hoped that that noble character who spent his life in the cause of suffering humanity, would receive a just reward from that great Divinity that "shapes all our ends rough hew them as we may". He begged to propose the following resolution:
Resolved: That we, the Swinford Rural District Council, desire to join in the Nation's profound sorrow at the death of Michael Davitt and to tender to his bereaved wife and children, the expression of our heartfelt sympathy in their affliction.
Mr Davitt's death has called forth among all creeds and classes of the community a feeling of grief and sympathy which has scarcely a parallel in the annals of Irish history, while his priceless services to his Country, his record as a gifted Patriot, and his noble work as a champion of human liberty in all climes, have gathered around his memory a halo of respect and gratitude which will last until the end of time.
We earnestly hope that these tributes of undying affections from the hearts of the people he loved and so unselfishly worked for may help to assuage the bitterness of that great sorrow which has fallen on his afflicted family. I hope it will bring them some small measure of consolation in the hour of their terrible bereavement.
That we now adjourn this meeting without transacting any further business, as a small mark of respect to the memory of the illustrious patriot.
Mr James Morrin, Chairman of the Board of Guardians, said it was his mournful duty to second the resolution. Mr A J Staunton said he felt it a melancholy duty to support the resolution. Mr Thomas Roughneen, Co Council, also said it is his sad duty to associate himself with the expressions of sorrow that had fallen from the Chairman and the other members. Mr J A Mellett endorsed all that had been said by the previous speakers.
The clerk of the Union said he would like to have the privilege in joining in the Board's expressions of sorrow at the death of this illustrious Patriot. He said that the young men of Ireland would always have a guiding light in the life work of Michael Davitt and they would find a fertile source of inspirations in the sacrifices and heroism of his noble career.
The resolution was passed unanimously.
The following is a list of some of the people who assembled at different Stations along the route and at the graveside in Straide. The body of Michael Davitt was brought from what was then the Broadstone station in Dublin to Foxford by the Midland Great Western railway company.
Ballyhaunis Station: Messrs: John Hanson of Castlerea, J.M.Conway, Conor Flynn and M.J. Byrne.
The Rev John McDermott, PP, Balla, was among the crowd who stood on the Platform at Manulla station as the train sped by. He remained standing with bared head until the train had passed.
Claremorris Station: The Ven. Archdeacon Kilkenny, PP, VG,Claremorris, Very Rev. Canon McHugh, Crossboyne, Rev. W.J. Browne, CC, St. Marys Greenock, Rev. John Tuffy, CC, Claremorris, Rev. J. McEvilly, CC, Crossboyne, Rev. Patrick O'Connor, Ballinlough, Rev. Father Glynn,CC, Rev. Dr. Higgins, president St. Jarlaths College, Tuam, Rev Peter McGirr, PP, Ballindine, Very Rev. Canon Lyons, PP, Castlebar, Mr E.P. O'Flanagan, solicitor, Mr Patrick McCormack, Castlebar, Dr. McGuire, Claremorris, Mr Fergus Kilkelly, Mr Michael Browne, Chairman, Claremorris Board of Guardians, M.C. Henry, JP, DC, Charlestown, T.R. McNulty and P. Moran, Tuam.
Claremorris and Straide:
M.C. Henry, JP, DC, Charlestown, T.R. McNulty and P. Moran,Tuam, The Rev. Alex Eaton, St. Jarlaths College, Tuam, Wm. Duffy, MP, John Galvin, Co.C, J.M. Hayden, D.C, M.C. Shine, T.C. Tuam, T. Flatley, Tuam, Ml. Nally, D.C, Milltown, T.O'Donnell, Co.C, Milltown.
Amongst those present at the funeral at Straide, in addition to those whose names are already given were the following:
Mrs Jordan, Mr. John Davitt, Mr. Frank Davitt, Mr. Hugh Kilty, Miss Margaret Kilty, Miss Mary Kilty, (Relatives of Mr. Davitt, Mrs Jordan being the Godmother of Master Michael Davitt) Mrs Kelly, (an old lady, said to be Mr Davitt's Godmother), Very Rev. Dr. Daly, Ballaghaderreen, Rev T. Walsh, P.P. Park ,Turlough, Rev.M.Henry, P.P. Foxford, Rev. M. Gallagher, ADM, Rev. M. Keaveney, P.P. Rev.P. Keaveney, C.C. Rev. J. Devine, C.C. Foxford, Rev. P. Hewson, professor, Seminary, Ballina, Brothers Anthony, Paul, Aloysius, Marist Brothers Swinford, Rev J.J. McDonnell, P.P. Killasser, Rev David Humphreys, P.P. Killenaule, Co.Tipperary, Rev. Fr. Loftus, Rev. J. McEvilly, C.C. Crossboyne, Rev A. Devine, C.C.Killasser, Rev. Fr. O'Connor, P.P. Rev. J. O'Grady, P.P. Bohola, Rev P. Hunt, P.P. Straide, Rev. W. Henry, P.P. Rev. Fr. Mullen. Rev. Fr. Murphy, C.C. Balla, Rev. P.J. Hurst, C.P.S., P. O'Hara, D.C, M.T.J. McEllin, T. Walshe, P.A. Mulligan, Charlestown, J. Morrisroe, Charlestown, J. Davis, J.P. R.A. Gillespie, Castlebar, T.H. Gillespie, Castlebar, Ml. Gallagher, Straide, James Gallagher, Straide, H. McGowan, Duff and Co. Ballaghaderreen, T. Forde, Straide, M. O'Grady, N.T. Straide, Francis Davitt, Swinford and many others not mentioned.
The arrangements in connection with the burial were carried out by Denis Johnston who had been in the District for a few days and who was assisted by J. Morrin, Co.C, Mr Jones and Mr. Boland.
© Cathal Henry 2007