Edmund Dwyer Gray senior

Published in Issue 3 (May/June 2017), Letters, Volume 25

Sir,—In his article ‘Edmund Dwyer Gray Jr in Tasmania’ (HI 25.2, March/April 2017), Felix M. Larkin made reference to his father, also Edmund Dwyer Gray, who was a very interesting man in his own right. Edmund Dwyer Gray was the son of Sir John Gray, proprietor of the Freeman’s Journal and MP for Kilkenny City. When Sir John died, his son succeeded him as owner of the Freeman’s and contested his father’s seat (unsuccessfully) in 1875. However, in 1877 he was elected MP for County Tipperary in the Home Rule interest in the by-election following the death of the Hon. William Frederick Ormonde O’Callaghan. In the general election of 1880 he was elected as MP for Carlow County. That same year he became lord mayor of Dublin and during his tenure he was chairman of the Dublin Mansion House Committee, which collected £180,000 for the relief of distress in Ireland. In 1882 he became high sheriff of Dublin and while holding this position was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment and fined £500 for contempt of court, having published a letter in the Freeman’s from William O’Brien (later MP for Mallow), accusing the jury who convicted Francis Hynes of the murder of John Doolaghty of having been drunk the night before their verdict was returned. The fine was paid by public subscription and after six weeks’ incarceration he was released. Following his conviction, the County Borough Council of Limerick elected him to the Roll of the Honorary Freedom of Limerick City ‘in appreciation of his public services to Ireland and in sympathy with his present imprisonment’. He successfully stood for two constituencies in the general election of 1885, Carlow County, where he was re-elected, and the St Stephen’s Green Division in Dublin, but decided to represent the latter. He died on 27 March 1888, aged 42 years, after a brief illness at his residence, Pembroke House, Dublin.—Yours etc.,

TADHG MOLONEY

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