Thaddeus O'Malley

O'Malley, Thaddeus, Rev., "The Father of Federalism in Ireland," as he was wont to call himself, was born in the diocese of Limerick about 1796. He entered the priesthood at an early age. His first appearance in politics was as an advocate of the introduction of the Poor-law into Ireland, in opposition to O'Connell's denunciations. He also favoured the system of National Education. In consequence, perhaps, of his support of these measures, he was appointed Rector of the Government College at Malta. This position he occupied for some time, but he ultimately left it, in consequence of differences regarding the management of the institution, and returned to Ireland. He subsequently carried on a long and somewhat warm correspondence with the London officials on the matter. He differed from O'Connell as to the comparative merits of Repeal and Federalism, being a strong advocate of the latter, and they had a lively and passionate public debate upon the question.

For a short period, in the advocacy of his opinions, he edited the Federalist newspaper. After remaining more than twenty years in comparative retirement, he again came prominently before the public, after the inauguration of the Home Rule movement by Mr. Butt in 1870, being almost the only Catholic clergyman of the diocese of Dublin who appeared publicly in its favour. He was constant in his support of the new movement in speech and print, and delighted in being recognized as the early advocate of opinions become at length apparently so popular. He came under much censure among his co-religionists as the supposed author of a certain work, Harmony in Religion, advocating the marriage of the priesthood and other changes in the Catholic Church. His little book, Home Rule on the Basis of Federalism, went through more than one edition. An honest man, a gentleman, and a scholar, he was greatly beloved by a large circle of friends. He died at his humble lodgings in Henrietta-street, Dublin, 2nd January 1877, aged 81, and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.


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