Eucharistic Congress

Published in 20th Century Social Perspectives, 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 3 (May/Jun 2008), Letters, Letters, Volume 16

Sir,

—In response to my necessarily brief article on the EucharisticCongress (HI 15.6, Nov./Dec. 2007), Anthony Jordan (letters, HI 16.1,Jan./Feb. 2008) remarks on my neglect in not mentioning the Cumann nanGaedheal government, led by W. T. Cosgrave, which, in Mr Jordan’swords, ‘did much of the long-term planning for the Congress’. TheEucharistic Congress was in fact organised and sponsored by theCatholic Church in Ireland, which had established a special governingcommittee, a National Eucharistic Congress League and numerous otherorganising subcommittees over two years in advance of the Congress. Theoutstanding organising genius behind the Congress was not the presidentof the Free State but one Frank O’Reilly of the Catholic Truth Societyof Ireland, who was appointed director of organisation by thearchbishop of Dublin in 1930. I feel more inclined to regret notmentioning O’Reilly in my article but this was not Mr Jordan’s point.The Cosgrave government did support the Congress in important ways butit is difficult to envisage any Irish government in the period (withany sense of realpolitik) responding very differently.

—Yours etc.,
RORY O’DWYER
Carrigrohane
Co. Cork

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