Priests not intent on denying ‘every pleasurable aspiration’
An illustration from The Father Mathew Record, February 1913. Fr Mathew is seen as the architect of the modern temperance movement. Photo: Courtesy of the Irish Capuchin Provincial Archives

Priests not intent on denying ‘every pleasurable aspiration’

Bishop defends priests against ‘malignant charges’

Published: 5 December 1913

Fr Rev. Dr Morrisroe, Bishop of Achonry, has defended priests against ‘malignant charges and baseless calumnies’. Speaking at the opening of a new Temperance Hall in Carracastle, midway between Charlestown and Ballaghdereen, the bishop denied that that the clergy were intent on doing their best to ‘choke every pleasurable aspiration... and driving away all aspiration from the lives of the people’. The bishop maintained that the hall he was opening, and others like it, offered evidence enough of the contribution they were making to the social lives of communities. They provided, he claimed, a source of ‘enlightenment, culture, amusement and utility to the people of the district.’

Bishop Morrisroe added that the spread of temperance halls would have been an impossibility a quarter of a century before and their success was attributable, in large measure, to the ‘splendid services rendered by the Irish Party in fixing the tenant on the soil, and making him master in his own home. That is the happy result of the perseverance of our Members of Parliament.’

One such Member of Parliament - a very prominent one - was also in attendance for the opening of the new hall. Mr. John Dillon MP attributed the achievement of the new hall, in a parish once regarded as ‘poor and struggling’, to the persistence of local priest, Father P.J. Mulligan, who, he said, had given him a ‘great deal of trouble and could never keep quiet.’ Mr Dillon remarked on the impressions of returned emigrants who had been struck by the ‘wonderful change’ coming over the parish, adding that he, too, was encouraged to contrast the condition of the people ‘in the old days of the Plan of Campaign and their condition in the present time’.

RTÉ

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