The Short Life of Fr. Manus Sweeney
As part of the campaign to fund a memorial to Fr Manus Sweeney journalist Anita McMahon wrote to the press relaying the story of his short, but remarkable life.
In 1942 Eva O’Flaherty, Anita McMahon and Emily along with the local parish priest and school teacher began their campaign to erect a monument dedicated to the Achill born Patriot Priest of the 1798 rebellion, Fr. Manus Sweeney. Fr. Sweeney was executed for his alleged part in the insurrection in 1799.
The well planned campaign began two years before the priest’s 180th birth anniversary in 1942. The project could easily have become impeded with obstacles, as it in the middle of World War Two. Ireland was a neutral country, and was experiencing “the Emergency”, where the flow of goods, services and transportation was slowed down. But the monument was going to be unveiled to mark an date, and that was how it was going to be. The well organised committee got in touch with the media, announcing their intention to the country. Below is one such article.
After the 1912 Scoil Acla session ended in early September Emily Weddall and An Paorach [Francis Hugh Power] made a visit to Connaught Irish College in Tourmakeady, in Co. Mayo. Scoil Acla had just enjoyed a good run and the pair may have been making a return visit to the Irish College.
Another item on their agenda was the payment of school teachers. Fr. Meehan, who visited the college too, made the point that teachers who could teach in both English and Irish should be paid at a higher rate than those who only taught through English. An Paorach was a bi-lingual teacher, who taught on Achill Beg. Part of his wages were paid the department of education, the rest by Emily Weddall, who was independently wealthy and happy to fund anything that encouraged the revival of the Irish language.