Historic Dev Telegram Restored

Clare People, Tuesday, 1st December, 2009

Tom McCullough

A telegram sent by Eamon de Valera to his wife following his election as MP for Clare has been put on display at Clare Museum in Ennis.

The document which confirms the former Taoiseach and President’s 1917 by-election victory over Patrick Lynch of the Irish Party, is being exhibited along with the first Minute book of Clare County Council recorded in April 1899. The exhibits form part of a joint conservation initiative between Clare County Archives and Clare Museum.

Commenting of the newly restored telegram, Museum Curator, John Rattigan that its simple message disguises the importance of de Valera’s victory.

‘It signifies a move away from constitutional to physical force nationalism and the beginning of a political career that would last until de Valera’s retirement as President in 1973. In the months after his election victory, De Valera was named President of both Sinn Fein and the Irish Volunteers.’

Mr Rattigan said that prior to its restoration, the telegram was in a state of disintegration and was in an unfit state to be exhibited or handled.

‘The printed carbon copy on wood pulp paper had become brittle, discoloured and acidic’, he added.

The telegram is displayed alongside a comprehensive account of the council’s first meeting, which was held in Ennis on April 22, 1899 when Michael A. Scanlon was elected the council’s first chairman.

According to County Archivist, Rene Franklin it is clear from the minute book that those present regarded the new council as a stepping stone to national independence.

‘This nationalist fervour was the spirit behind a series of motions recorded in the minutes and preserved now in the Clare County Archives’, she explained.

At the inaugural meeting, Thomas Blackall proposed the following motion: ‘while accepting the Local Government Act (1898) as a tardy instalment of justice, and while we are determined to work for the benefit of all classes in our country, we hereby declare that we will never relax our efforts in the Nationalist cause until we see a native Parliament in College Green’.

All of the council minute books are preserved and available for public viewing by contacting Clare County Archives at archives@clarecoco.ie or 065-6846414.

Deputy Mayor Cllr Michael Guilfoyle, County Archivist Rene Franklin and Mayor of Clare Cllr Tony Mulcahy
Left to Right: Deputy Mayor Cllr Michael Guilfoyle, County Archivist Rene Franklin
and Mayor of Clare Cllr Tony Mulcahy with the telegram and Minute Book at Clare Museum.
Photo, John Rattigan.

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