John Redmond, who died in 1918, was an Irish nationalist politician, barrister and member of parliament in the British House of Commons. He is best remembered for his part in the passing of the Home Rule Bill in 1914, which would have delivered a devolved Parliament to Ireland, and also for his appeal to his fellow Irishmen to enlist to fight in the First World War.
John Redmond represented Waterford from 1891 until 1918 and played an important role in rallying support for the war effort in Waterford. John Edward Redmond was born in Kilrane County Wexford on 1 September 1856. The Redmond family were a well to do Catholic family and his father, William, was nationalist MP for Wexford. John Redmond followed his father into political life and was elected MP for New Ross in 1881. He was MP for North Wexford from 1885 until 1891 and was MP for Waterford City from 1891 until his death in 1918.
The stamp, designed by Post Studio, features a portrait of Redmond by Sir John Lavery from the Hugh Lane gallery. A First Day Cover (FDC) envelope produced to mark the occasion includes a photograph of the Irish Parliamentary Party from 1916. The stamp is available from main post offices, the stamp counters at Dublin’s GPO and online at www.irishstamps.ie.
The stamp was unveiled by former Taoiseach John Bruton at a Centenary symposium on Redmond which opened at the National Gallery of Ireland on Tuesday.
Redmond’s appeal, to the Irish Volunteers to also enlist caused a split in the movement; some 140,000 followed Redmond and formed the National Volunteers, while a minority of around 9,700 members remained as the original Irish Volunteers. It was Redmond’s belief that Imperial Germany’s hegemony and military expansion threatened the freedom of Europe and participation in the war was Ireland’s duty, having achieved future self-government.
But the war killed the Home Rule Bill and the next four years saw the end of Redmond and the Irish Parliamentary Party. They were overhauled in the General Election of 1916 and wiped out completely in the election of 1918 held just nine months after Redmond’s death.
Picture Credit: The National Archives of Ireland, John Redmond MP, the pre-eminent political figure in Waterford, addresses a large public meeting in 1912 (NLI, IND H 0005)