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Daniel O'Connell announced that 1843 was to be the "year of the great repeal" and called monster meetings all over Ireland, to culminate in a meeting at Clontarf. This is part one of a series of speeches that he made when repeal agitation was at its height. It was given at Mullingar on 14 May 1843.
My first object is to get Ireland for the Irish (loud cheers). I am content that the English should have England, but they have had the domination of this country too long, and it is time that the Irish should at length get their own country...
What numberless advantages would not the Irish enjoy if they possessed their own country? A domestic parliament would encourage Irish manufactures. The linen trade, and the woollen would be spreading amongst you. An Irish parliament would foster Irish commerce, and protect Irish agriculture. The labourer, the artizan, and the shopkeeper would be all benefited by the repeal of the union; but if I were to describe all the blessings that it would confer I would detain you here crowding on each other’s backs until morning before I would be done (laughter)....
I next want to get rid of the poor rates (cheers). England does charity in the way a person will throw a bone to a dog, by slashing it in between his teeth (hear, hear). That is the poor law charity, the charity of the commissioners and assistant-commissioners, and all concerned under them except the poor themselves, and when they do give relief they take up the poor as if they were criminals, or as if poverty were a crime to be punished by perpetual imprisonment (hear and cheers). . . . I know it will be said that I want to leave the poor destitute. I do not want to do any such thing. Would I not have the tithe rent-charge and the ecclesiastical revenues to apply for their relief? And would I not with their aid be able to maintain hospitals for the sick, the lame, the impotent, the aged, and all those who are real objects of charity?
The Nation, 20 May 1843
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