Waterford and John Redmond


John Redmond represented Waterford from 1891 until 1918 and played an important role in rallying support for the war effort in Waterford. ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌John Edward Redmond was born in Kilrane County Wexford on 1 September 1856. The Redmond family were a well to do Catholic family and his father, William, was nationalist MP for Wexford. John Redmond followed his father into political life and was elected MP for New Ross in 1881. He was MP for North Wexford from 1885 until 1891 and was MP for Waterford City from 1891 until his death in 1918.

John Redmond was a supporter of Charles Stewart Parnell, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party and he continued to support Parnell following the split in the party as a result of the scandal of Parnell's involvement in in the O'Shea divorce case in 1890. Redmond became leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party when it re-united in 1900. He led the party to hold the balance of power in Westminster and used this position to leverage an agreement from the Liberal Government to introduce the third Home Rule Bill in April 1912. The Home Rule Bill had a contentious passage through the Houses of Parliament with the Ulster Unionist Party vigorously opposed to its introduction. Redmond's work to bring the Home Rule Bill through the Houses of Parliament was recognised and appreciated by his constituentsin Waterford. On 7th April 1914 Waterford City Council resolved:

"That we heartily congratulate Mr. John E. Redmond MP and the Irish Parliamentary Party on the success of the Home Rule Bill, and we desire to express our enabled confidence in our Leader and his gallant band for their wisdom, energy, determination and ability on all occasions, and especially at the present crisis our pleasure at last nights majority on the division on the second reading of the Bill, and that a copy of this resolution be sent to Mr. Redmond".

Waterford County Council also expressed their support for John Redmond and the Irish Party and trusted "...that any action they take is in our best interests".

On 2nd June 1914 Wateford City Council resolved:

"...that we the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the County Borough of Waterford, in council assembled, tender to our worthy representative Mr. John E. Redmond MP, and the Irish Party, our hearty and sincere congratulations on the passge of the Home Rule Bill, and we earnestly pray that Mr. Redmond may be long spared to guide the destinies of our country in the Old House at College Green."

At the same time as the Home Rule Bill was making its way through the Houses of Parliament in Westminster war was making its way through the countries of Europe. John Redmond was a strong supporter of the Allied cause and exhorted members of the Irish Volunteer Force, established to protect nationalist interests in the face of Ulster Volunteer Force militant opposition to Home Rule, to join the British Army and fight. On 4th August 1914 Waterford City Council resolved:

"That we the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the County Borough of Waterford, in meeting assembled, thoroughly approve of, and heartily congratulate our working city member, Mr. John E. Redmond MP on the able and statesmanlike speech delivered by him last evening in the House of Commons on the War Question."

Many Waterford people responded to John Redmond's call to arms and joined the British Army. However, the people of Ireland were still focused on the success of the Home Rule Bill and on the visit of John Redmond to Waterford on Sunday 11th October 1914. On 6th April 1914 Waterford City Council resolved:

"...at this, our first meeting since the passing of the Home Rule Bill heartily congratulate Mr. John E. Redmond MP our wise and able leader, and the faithful Irish Parliamentary Party, on the great and glorious triumph of the placing of the Home Rule Bill on the Satute Book, and that we tender them our sincere and grateful thanks for their strenous labours and constant and punctual attendance during the long and weary historic struggle for freedom for Ireland, which has now come to a successful end."

An address was written to be presented to John Redmond on his visit to Waterford on 11th October 1914, on 18th August 1915 and on 3rd October 1916.

  • Address to John Redmond 11th October 1914
  • Address to John Redmond 18th August 1915
  • Address to John Redmond 3rd October 1916

  • The first address was given on his first visit to Waterford after the successful placenment of the Home Rule Bill on the statute book. The August 1915 address was given to support John Redmond's stance of support for the war effort and the 3 October 1916 address was given after the Easter Rising 1916 to reiterate the support of Waterford City Council for John Redmond's stance in supporting the war effort and delaying the introduction of Home Rule.

    Attempts by the British Government to introduce a form of Home Rule that allowed for the permanent partition of Ireland fell apart and damaged the support for the Irish Parliamentary Party. John Redmond was part of an Irish Convention to try and bring about an agreement on Home Rule from July 1917 to March 1918 but this fell apart and his influence was waning. He was suffereing from ill-health at the time and he died on 6th March 1918.

    Related images

    County support for Redmond
    August Address