One of Ireland’s first TDs is to be remembered at the commemoration this Easter Sunday, March 31 in his home village of Killeshin.
Pádraig MacGamhna (Paddy Gaffney, 1895-1943) was born in Killeshin, at a time when Laois was called Queen’s County.
During his life Pádraig was a patriot who fought and suffered in the fight for Ireland’s freedom. In 1918 he was arrested by the RIC and imprisoned in Belfast Gaol for reading the Sinn Féin 1916 Proclamation in Carlow. He was arrested again in 1921 with members of the Irish Volunteers and interned.
Pádraig was elected to the Second Dáil as Deputy (TD) for the Carlow -Kilkenny Constituency, with the largest majority ever given to any parliamentary candidate before or since in the area.
His parliamentary career was brief as he refused to take the Oath of Allegiance to the King and resigned his seat.
Pádraig helped organise the Transport Workers Union in Carlow in 1917. A supporter of Irish Industrial Development, he promoted the development of a sugar beet factory in Carlow and campaigned for over 30 years to get the Government and industrialists interested in Laois, especially in the coalfields.
A descendant of Pádraig McGamhna will lay a wreath at the memorial opposite Killeshin Church. Trade Unionists will proudly carry a banner in the parade and a trade union official will speak. Deputy Brian Stanley is to be the main speaker at Sunday’s commemoration.
All are welcome to attend the event, and are asked to assemble at the Mall Lounge at 2.30pm on Easter Sunday, for a parade to the memorial.