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Irish BirminghamA History$
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James Moran

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781846314742

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846316043

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The Birmingham Political Union

The Birmingham Political Union

(p.39) 2 The Birmingham Political Union
Irish Birmingham
Liverpool University Press

This chapter begins with a discussion of the arrival of Irish migrants in Birmingham in the early 1800s. It then describes the successful campaign for Catholic emancipation in Ireland led by lawyer Daniel O'Connell. At this time, Birmingham had no MP of its own, and many in the town felt that this situation paralleled the lack of representation had encouraged Ireland's Catholics to join O'Connell's crusade. Local reform leaders set up their own organization called the Birmingham Political Union, and convinced Birmingham cleric Father Thomas Michael McDonnell to use his friendship with O'Connell to help with the region's new political enterprise. In October 1831, the Birmingham Political Union organized probably the largest political gathering ever seen in Britain, in an effort to persuade the House of Lords to pass electoral reform measures. When the meeting failed to move the peers in London, Father McDonnell next invited O'Connell himself to Birmingham.

Keywords:   Irish immigrants, Thomas Michael McDonnell, Catholic priest, emancipation, Daniel O'Connell

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