Cahir HEALY
d. Feb 1970

 

The Times, February 10, 1970

MR CAHIR HEALY

Irish Nationalist M.P.

Mr.Cahir Healy, a leading Northern Ireland Nationalist politician for more than half a century who had represented Fermanagh both at Westminster and Stormont and had twice been interned, has died at Enniskillen. He was 92.

Born in co. Donegal, Cahir Healy's first political interest was Sinn Fein and he was present at the formation of the movement's national council in Dublin in 1905. After the signing of the Anglo-Irish treaty he was involved in the preparation of material supporting the case for the exclusion of Fermanagh and Tyrone from Northern Ireland. He gave this as the reason for his arrest and internment in 1922 when he was held on board the prison ship Argenta in Belfast Lough. While he was there Healy was nominated as Sinn Fein candidate for Fermanagh and Tyrone constituency at Westminster and was elected in November of that year. Efforts were made to secure his release to enable him to take a seat but the Speaker ruled that Healy was held in custody legally and no steps could be taken to release him. Healy remained in custody at Larne until 1924 when there was a general release of prisoners. In the following year he was elected as Nationalist member for South Fermanagh at Stormont, a seat he held until he retired in 1965. Although returned in 1925 because of the Nationalist policy of abstention he did not take his seat at Stormont until 1927. He was again interned in July,1941, under an order made by the Home Secretary under Defence Regulation 18B, when he was held in Brixton prison until December,1942. Nationalist M.P.s and senators saw his arrest as a violation of the principles of parliamentary democracy but the Home Office issued a statement defending his internment saying that political considerations had, played no part and that the order had been issued because the Home Secretary "had cause to believe that Healy had recently been concerned in acts prejudicial to the public safety or the defence of the realm".

Healy was again returned to Stormont and Westminster in 1950 but did not take his seat at Westminster until 1952. With the revival of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland and a renewal of violence on the border with the Republic, he did not seek re-election to Westminster in 1955 and until his retirement 10 years later his parliamentary career was restricted to Stormont where he was to become Father of the House.

He published a volume of verse, a number of short stories of Irish life, wrote regularly for the press and made many broadcasts.

Both at Stormont and Westminster Healy gained respect for his mild personality and his sincerity.

He is survived by two sons and a daughter.