Edmund Dwyer Gray (Irish politician)
|Edmund Dwyer Gray|
Memorial portrait as published in the Weekly Freeman shortly after Gray's death
29 December 1845|
|Died||27 March 1888
|Resting place||Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin|
|Title||Lord Mayor of Dublin|
|Political party||Home Rule League|
|Religion||Protestantism, Catholicism (see text)|
|Parent(s)||Sir John Gray, Anna Dwyer|
Edmund Dwyer Gray (29 December 1845 – 27 March 1888) was an Irish newspaper proprietor, politician and MP in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He was also Lord Mayor and later High Sheriff of the City of Dublin and became a strong supporter of Charles Stewart Parnell.
Early life and family
Gray was born on 29 December 1845 in Dublin, the second son of Sir John Gray and his wife Anna Dwyer. After receiving his education, he joined his father in managing the Freeman's Journal, the oldest nationalist newspaper in Ireland. When his father died in 1875, Gray took over proprietorship of the Journal, and his family's other newspaper properties such as the Belfast Morning News and the Dublin Evening Telegraph.
In 1868, Gray saved five people from drowning in a wrecked schooner at Killiney Bay, an action for which he received the Tayleur Fund Gold Medal for bravery from the Royal Humane Society. By coincidence, the rescue was witnessed by his future wife, Caroline Agnes, who he would meet shortly afterwards. Agnes was the daughter of Caroline Chisholm (an English humanitarian renowned for her work in female immigrant welfare in Australia), and although Gray was descended from a Protestant family, he converted to Catholicism to marry her in 1869. The couple had one son, Edmund Dwyer-Gray, who would take over from his father as proprietor of his newspapers and would go on to become Premier of Tasmania.
From 1875 to 1883, Gray served as a member of the Dublin Corporation, and in 1880 served a term as Lord Mayor of Dublin. Unusually for an Irish nationalist politician, Gray was very much focussed on urban rather than rural affairs, and like his father was heavily involved in public health and water provision for Dublin. He also promoted reform in the municipal health system.
Gray unsuccessfully ran for his father's seat of Kilkenny City at Westminster in the 1875 by-election that followed Sir John Gray's death. He won a later by-election in 1877, becoming a Member of Parliament representing Tipperary for the Home Rule League. At the 1880 general election, he won the seat of Carlow County. At the 1885 election, as a member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, he won representation of both Carlow and the new constituency of Dublin St Stephen's Green, and chose to represent the latter.
He was imprisoned for six weeks in 1882 for remarks made in the Freeman's Journal with regard to the composition of the jury in the case of a murder trial. (Gray was actually High Sheriff of the City of Dublin at the time of his imprisonment, and – because of the conflict of office – was taken into custody by the city coroner.) The defendant in the case in question was later hanged.
- Boylan, John (1998) Dictionary of Irish Biography p.153, 3rd.ed. ISBN 0-7171-2507-6
- G. B. Smith, ‘Gray, Edmund Dwyer (1845–1888)’, rev. Alan O'Day, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2006, accessed 7 May 2008.
- Edmund Dwyer Gray Album, NUACHT Leabharlann Náisiúnta na hÉireann (National Library of Ireland NEWS), Spring 2005.
- New York Times - 17 August 1882: Dublin people excited; The Hon. E. Dwyer Gray imprisoned for contempt
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Edmund Dwyer Gray
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Tipperary
1877 – 1880
With: Stephen Moore
Patrick James Smyth
Arthur MacMorrough Kavanagh
|Member of Parliament for Carlow County
1880 – 1886
With: Donald Horne Macfarlane 1880–1885
John Aloysius Blake
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Dublin St Stephen's Green
1885 – 1888
Thomas Alexander Dickson
|Lord Mayor of Dublin