Letter of Pierse McCan M.P.(from Clonmel Borough Council minute book 1916-19)
A copy of letter from Pierse McCan, Gloucester Prison ( 17 January 1919) was entered into the Minutes of the Council of the Borough of Clonmel on 6th February 1919, acknowledging receipt of the resolution of 2nd January of Clonmel Borough Council demanding the release of Irish political prisoners in English jails. McCan asks ‘Will you please convey to the Corporation from my Comrades here and from myself, our sincere thanks. We fully realise we are not forgotten by our fellow Countrymen.’
McCan was president of the East Tipperary executive of Sinn Féin and was imprisoned twice, first in Reading Gaol after the 1916 Rising and secondly in Gloucester Prison from May 1918. While incarcerated in Gloucester, McCan was elected as a Sinn Féin M.P. for the East Tipperary Constituency in the 1918 General Election. He never sat in Dáil Eireann, dying in prison on 6th March 1919, a victim of the 1918 flu epidemic. He is buried in Dualla, Cashel. At a special meeting of the Borough Council on 17 March 1919, it was resolved ‘That the Corporation do attend in State at the Requiem Mass for the repose of the Soul of the late Mr. Pierse McCann’ (STAC/2/1/14, Tipperary Archives).
McCan was one of four M.P.s elected for Tipperary in the 1918 election, all Sinn Fein candidates:
Joseph MacDonogh was elected for Tipperary North. He was a brother of Thomas MacDonogh and was unable to attend the meeting of the First Dáil as he was interned in England at the time. He died young in 1922, but had played a significant role as Minister for Labour and Economic affairs in the Second Dáil.
Seamus Burke was elected for Tipperary Mid. He attended the First Dáil and was part of a small group involved in drafting the Dáil’s Declaration of Independence. He later become Minister for Local Government and Public Health (Second Dáil) and was a founding member of Cummann Na nGaedheal.
P.J. Moloney was elected for Tipperary South and was very active in Republican politics in advance of the First Dáil, as well as being an active member of local government. He was returned in the 1921 election, and in 1922 as an anti-treaty candidate. He did not take his seat in 1922 and did not stand again in 1923.
From its inception, Tipperary’s local authorities were supportive of Dáil Éireann and local M.P.s elected to it. As well as the condemnation of the imprisonment of McCan, condemnations were also issued in relation to the incarceration of P.J. Moloney, M.P. (by Tipperary Urban District Council, 12th April, 1920) and of all prisoners (Fethard Town Commissioners, 14th April 1920). Resolutions recognising the authority of Dáil Éireann were quickly passed by councils throughout the County (see attached images).