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Dev’s victory telegram goes on display

A TELEGRAM sent by Eamon De Valera to his wife following his election as MP for Clare has been placed on display at the Clare Museum in Ennis. The document, which confirms the former Irish 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 on the newly restored telegram, museum curator John Rattigan emphasised that the simple message on the telegram belied 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 of Ireland in 1973. In the months following his election victory, De Valera was named President of both Sinn Féin and the Irish Volunteers,” he added.
Mr Rattigan noted that prior to being restored, 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 has been placed on display alongside a comprehensive account of the first meeting of Clare County Council, which was held in the Grand Jury room of Ennis Courthouse on April 22, 1899.
During the inaugural meeting, Michael A Scanlon was elected as the first chairman of Clare County Council.
According to archivist Rene Franklin, “It is clear from this 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 Clare County Archives.”
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 national cause until we see a native Parliament in College Green (CC/MIN/1, 22 April 1899).”
All minute books of Clare County Council are preserved and available for public viewing by contacting Clare County Archives at archives@clarecoco.ie or 065 6846414.

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