Letter from Rev. Dr Oliver Kelly to Eneas McDonnell Esq.

'Seditious and inflammatory harangue by local Parish priest'

Tuam Herald, 1st July, 1916 Letter written between 1823 - 1829

Paddy Macken Plot

….. “Although this country was never more peacable than at this moment, the greatest efforts are insidiously made to make a different impression. I shall briefly relate one ‘Paddy Macken’ plot which was hatched in this neighbourhood, but which came to my knowledge before it was matured. Rev. Mr. Galbraith wrote a letter to Archdeacon Trench at Ballinasloe stating that a clergyman (Roman Catholic of course) told the people at his altar that now was the time for them to assert their rights and for that purpose they should make use of any arms they could lay their hands on even to the pitchforks! I omitted to state that the Rev. Mr. Galbraith is Rector of Killereran and nephew to his Grace, and that Mr. William Jennings P.P. of that parish, was the R.C. clergyman alluded to. On this report having reached me from Ballinasloe, I wrote to Mr. Galbraith, begging to know who the clergyman was to whom the odious and unseemly crime was attributed. And when and where he was supposed to have delivered the seditious and inflammatory harangue, to which I received the following reply:-

Mr. Galbraith’s response

“The charge to which you allude in your letter is of such a nature that I shall take an opportunity of waiting on you in the course of the day to explain the circumstances which have come to my knowledge.”

He accordingly called and in the presence of witnesses, acknowledged that although the words I quoted were not in his letter, he did write to him saying that the public mind was much agitated in that parish, and that it was reported to him by one of Mr. Jennings’ hearers that he, Mr. J., did use some words calculated, as he thought, to disturb the peace, but he then was willing to believe there was some misconception. On calling on him to contradict the report, or to give up his authors, he declined to do either. I went on Sunday to Killreran chapel and conjured the flock, if their pastor was guilty of the charge to come forward as men and as Christians to substantiate it. I called most particularly on Mr. G’s. informant to step forward.

Congregation in Killereran deny accusation

With one voice, they all declared that Mr. G. had not the slightest shadow of ground for the charge, that it was the invention of his own fertile imagination, and not an individual ever had a conversation with him upon which he could bottom such an accusation. Mr. Jennings has in consequence written up to have Mr. Galbraith served with a Latitat. for defamation of character. How the matter may terminate I cannot say, but I am determined to follow it up.

Expecting to hear that you and Mrs. MacD are in good health.

I remain with kind compliments.

Your faithfully attached and affectionate

+Ol. Kelly




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