Matthew Joseph Kenny
Matthew Joseph Kenny (1 February 1861 – 8 December 1942) was an Irish lawyer and Nationalist politician from County Clare. He was elected to the United Kingdom House of Commons at the age of 21, qualified as a barrister whilst still a member of parliament (MP), and later became a judge in the Irish Free State.
He attended Ennis College an Erasmus Smith school,. Thom's Irish Who's Who states he attended Stonyhurst, and Trinity College, Dublin,. This seems to be incorrect and all other contemporary sources confirm that he in fact attended Ennis School and Queen's Univ. While serving at Westminster, he was called to the bar at Gray's Inn in 1886 and at the King's Inns, Dublin, in 1889. In 1899 he went bankrupt and his estates were sold off. He became a King's Counsel in 1914.
|“||the Home Rule party candidate was Matthew J. Kenny who was selected at the request of local electors and with the agreement of Parnell. He was the son of Matthew [sic, but impossible!] Kenny, Freagh Castle and a nephew of Fr Matt Kenny. (founder member of Clare Farmers association and later active in the Land League movement while PP of Scarriff) and he was working in Manchester where he was president of the Irish Labour League. [...] Matthew (M.J.) Kenny arrived in Ennis accompanied by John Redmond, the Home Rule member for New Ross, and they addressed a crowd from a window in Carmody's Hotel before attending a nomination meeting which was chaired by Edward Finucane. [...] Polling took place on Tuesday 14 November and the Miltown Brass Band was in attendance from an early hour to support Kenny. The election booths were open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the sheriff declared the result before six o clock:
KENNY 136 R. W. CAREY REEVES 95. Spoiled votes 3.'
According to Hugh Weir's Houses of Clare (1999, p. 131), Kenny was the youngest Member of Parliament at the time.
The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 abolished Ennis's separate parliamentary representation, with effect from the 1885 general election. The former two-seat Clare county constituency was divided for parliamentary purposes was split into the new single-member constituencies of East Clare and West Clare with one member to be elected in each division. Kenny did contest either of the new Clare seats, standing instead in Mid Tyrone, where he was elected. However he continued to interest himself in political developments in Clare.
Kenny held the Mid-Tyrone seat from 1885–95. When the Irish Parliamentary Party split in 1890, he opposed Parnell. Indeed, he suffered a black eye at the hands of a Parnellite member Pierce Mahony.
Kenny retired from political life in 1895 and apart from his activities as a breeder of pedigree horses, cattle and sheep devoted himself to the practice of law.
In 1887, he married Elizabeth Robertson Stewart, daughter of W. R. Stewart, of Lairsill or Lairdshill, Aberdeenshire. They had two sons and two daughters.
He was appointed Senior Crown Prosecutor for County Kerry in 1916, and was appointed circuit court judge for Cork City and County in 1925, retiring in 1933 . Maurice Healy notes that his term of office had been extended due to the universal respect in which he was held.
Matthew Kenny, initially a Parnellite M.P., was a cousin of William Kenny, a Liberal Unionist M.P. The two cousins' tenures on opposite sides in the House of Commons overlapped between 1892 and 1895. Both were descended from Mathias Kenny of Treanmanagh, Kilmurry Ibricken and Dysert, Dysert, Co. Clare.
Maurice Healy in his memoirs describes Matthew Kenny with great affection as a judge of exceptional dignity and integrity who was universally liked and respected; his fault, if it was a fault, was the severity of his sentences in criminal cases.
- Clare Journal, 4 February 1861.
- "Kenny (Freagh Castle)". Landed Estates Database. Moore Institute, NUI Galway. Retrieved 28 November 2009.
- The Landed Estates database appears to have confused the landholdings of Matthew Kenny the barrister with those of his older second cousin once removed Matthew Kenny, a solicitor who practised in Ennis and Dublin, and who acquired an estate at Clooniff in county Galway.
- Debrett's House of Commons, 1886.
- Cecil S Kenny, "Genealogies of Kenny and Lysaght", NLI 1915
- Thom's Irish Who's Who 1923, p.123.
- notice of Auction 1899 as directed by the bankruptcy court, OAC Archive
- Department of Information Services (9 June 2009). "Appointments to the Chiltern Hundreds and Manor of Northstead Stewardships since 1850" (PDF). House of Commons Library. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 June 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- Department of Information Services. 1879/parnellcommissio00russuoft_djvu.txt "Parnell Commission" Check
|url=value (help). House of Commons Library.
- Brian M. Walker, ed. (1978). Parliamentary election results in Ireland 1801–1922. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. p. 135. ISBN 0-901714-12-7.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs
- Ferguson, King's Inns Barristers 1868–2004, p.72.
- New York Times, 25 January 1893.
- Irish Times, 26 August 1925.
- Kenny, Cecil S., "Genealogies of Kenny and Lysaght" Manuscript, NLI, Dublin 1915
- Healy, Maurice The Old Munster Circuit Michael Joseph Ltd. London 1939
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Matthew Joseph Kenny
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
James Lysaght Finigan
|Member of Parliament for Ennis
1882 – 1885
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Mid-Tyrone
1885 – 1895