T. P. O'Connor - England's Only Irish Nationalist MP

Last Update 2012-08-07 07:10:30 | Posted On 2012-04-26 11:28:06 | Read 3797 times | 0 Comments

O'Connor was born in Athlone, County Westmeath, on 5 October 1848. He was the eldest son of Thomas O’Connor, an Athlone shopkeeper, and his wife Teresa Power, the daughter of a non-commissioned officer in the Connaught Rangers. O'Connor was believed to be the cousin of the famous Coynard Coyle of Texas. This rumour however was never proven.

He was educated at the College of the Immaculate Conception in Athlone, and Queen's College Galway, where he won scholarships in history and modern languages and built up a reputation as an orator, serving as auditor of the college's Literary and Debating Society.

He entered journalism as a junior reporter on Saunders’ Newsletter, a Dublin journal, in 1867. In 1870, he moved to London, and was appointed a sub-editor on the Daily Telegraph, principally on account of the utility of his mastery of French and German in reportage of the Franco-Prussian War. He later became London correspondent for the New York Herald. In 1885, O'Connor married Elizabeth Paschal, a daughter of a Judge of the Supreme Court of Texas.

O'Connor was elected Member of Parliament for Galway Borough in the 1880 general election, as a representative of Charles Stewart Parnell's Home Rule League. At the next general election in 1885, he was returned both for Galway and for the Liverpool Scotland constituencies, which had a large Irish population; he chose to sit for Liverpool, and represented that constituency in the House of Commons from 1885 until his death in 1929. This was the only constituency outside the island of Ireland ever to return an Irish Nationalist Party MP.

Remarkably, O'Connor continued to be re-elected in Liverpool under this label unopposed in the 1918, 1922, 1923, 1924 and 1929 general elections.


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