Massive Home Rule demonstration in Mayo
People came from all over the west of Ireland to the town of Balla in Co. Mayo last Sunday. Photo: 'Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland' by P.W. Joyce and A.M. Sullivan [1900]. Retrieved from The Internet Archive (www.archive.org).

Massive Home Rule demonstration in Mayo

Published: 31 January 1914

Special trains from across the west of Ireland brought thousands of people to a monster Home Rule demonstration in Balla, Co. Mayo last Sunday.

A special platform had been erected in the middle of the town square, and more than forty local councillors, members of the clergy and other public representatives sat and stood through the speeches despite the driving rain and bitter cold.

Numerous bands including the Bohola Pipers’ Band, Ballina Ancient Order of Hibernians Band, Straide Fife and Drum Band, and Belcarra Fife and Drum Band played national airs before and after the speeches.

The parish priest of Balla, Father J.B. Jennings presided over the rally. He told the crowd that they were all there to celebrate the imminent establishment of a Home Rule parliament in Dublin.

Fr. Jennings said that they had broken the back of landlordism and the land was now being divided up and given back to the people. He said that that campaign had begun in Mayo and now it was fitting that they should be the ones to pay tribute to the leaders of Irish nationalism who were owed sincere thanks for all that they had done for Ireland.

He said that the name of John Redmond could stand beside those of Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Davitt, and those of other martyrs who had died for Ireland.

John Fitzgibbon, the Irish Parliamentary Party M.P. for South Mayo, told the gathering that they had lived to see the dawn of freedom break, and notwithstanding a conspiracy by ‘a little gang’ in the north of Ireland, Home Rule would soon be an accomplished fact, and the sons and daughters of Ireland would soon be able to live contented and prosperous in the land of their birth.

English rule in Ireland had not worked, he said, ‘They were ruled by people who knew nothing of their wants or requirements, and so it was by their neglect and indifference, by their lack of knowledge of what the Irish people required, they had left this country a complete wreck.’

Mr. Fitzgibbon added that they were now being handed over their country a complete wreck and it was the duty of all Irishmen to now join together in repairing the wrongs of the past.

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