- John J. O'Kelly
John Joseph O'Kelly (known as Sceilg, an acronym of his name in _ga. Seán S. Ó Ceallaigh; 1873–1957) was an Irish politician, author and publisher. He was a former president of the
Gaelic Leagueand of Sinn Féin. He was born on Valentia Islandoff the County Kerrycoast.
He joined Sinn Féin at its inaugural meeting on
November 5 1905. Following the 1916 Easter Rising, O'Kelly joined the Irish National Leagueand became treasurer of the "Irish National Aid and Volunteers' Dependants' Fund" for the relief of prisoners and their families. In February 1917 he was arrested and deported to England where he was interned without trial for several months. On his release O'Kelly was elected to the Provisional Committee of the newly merged Irish National League and Sinn Féin, thereafter called Sinn Féin. He was appointed editor of the influential "Catholic Bulletin". [ [http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/jsp/id/The_Catholic_Bulletin_and_Republican_Ireland_with_Special_Refere/9780850341089 Recent book on the Bulletin] ] In the United Kingdom general election, 1918he was elected as a Sinn Féin MP for Louth by 255 votes in what was the closest contest in Ireland in that election. The closeness of the contest was due to the strong AOH organisation in the county that campaigned for outgoing North Galway MP Richard Hazleton of the Irish Parliamentary Party.
O'Kelly took his seat in
Dáil Éireannas a Sinn Féin Teachta Dálaand was elected Leas (vice) Ceann Comhairlein 1919-21. He was Secretary for Education in the Government of the 2nd Dáil. From 1919 to 1923, he was President of the Gaelic League. He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treatythat was ratified by the Dåil in January 1922, and refused to accept the legitimacy of the Irish Free Stateestablished in December 1922. He and others maintained that the Irish Republiccontinued to exist and that the rump Second Dáil, composed of those anti-Treaty TDs who had refused to take their seats in what became the Free State parliament, was the only legitimate government for the whole of Ireland. He was elected to the Third Dáilbut abstained from taking his seat. After the resignation of Éamon de Valeraas president of Sinn Féin in 1926, O'Kelly was elected in his place and remained in this position until 1931.
He was a prolific author on Irish language and history topics, editing "Banba", "The Catholic Bulletin" and "An Camán". He was intensely religious and a conservative
Roman Catholic. Many of his speeches and writings contained anti-Semiticand anti-Masoniccontent [See,for instance "The Irish Revolution, 1913-1923"edited by Joost Augusteijn,Palgrave Macmillan (2002) pg. 46, and "The Two Irelands 1912-1939" by David Fitzpatrick, Oxford (1998) Pg. 188. ] . He opposed members of the IRA fighting against Franco in the Spanish Civil War. In 1938, he was one of seven remaining abstentionist Second Dáil TDs who transferred the "authority" of what they believed was the "authority" of the Government of the Irish Republic to the IRA Army Council(see Irish republican legitimatism).
*Dr. Brian P. Murphy, "The Catholic Bulletin and Republican Ireland 1898-1926: with special reference to J. J. O'Kelly" (Athol Books: Belfast, 2005)
title=John J. O'Kelly
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