Laurence O'Neill (1864–1943)
Lord Mayor of Dublin (1917–1924), patriot and man of peace
Thomas J. Morrissey SJ
'This is a timely reminder of a man whose achievements have been overshadowed by history', Books Ireland (May/June 2014).
‘Knowing nothing about Laurence O’Neill before I undertook the review, I was taken aback to discover his central role in so many of the momentous events during the revolutionary period of 1916–1922 … For those with an interest in early 20th-century Irish history, this is a fascinating read. The whole book almost appears as a Hollywood film where the protagonist is interested into the middle of major historical events and meets all the towering figures of the age. Except in this case, O’Neill was present and on personal terms with all of these significant figures of the Irish historical narrative. An obvious illustration of this is Morrissey’s anecdote recounting how O’Neill pursued British Prime Minister Lloyd George across rural Wales seeking clemency for an IRA volunteer! This Dubliner and the lord mayoralty played a much greater role in the securing of an independent democratic Ireland than is commonly acknowledged and this book by Morrissey is a timely re-writing of his contribution back into the national story of this troubled period’, Rose Higgins, Journal of the Irish Society for Archives (2014).
'An important biography of a largely forgotten figure in modern Irish history … Fr. Morrissey’s research is thorough and yet, easily connects the reader to a labyrinthine world of political in-fighting, industrial disputes, revolutionary activity, defying conscription, hunger strikes, shifting allegiances and demonstrates O’Neill’s political skill as a negotiator and trusted intermediary … Dublin City Council and Fr. Morrissey have, with this wonderfully researched book, restored O’Neill to his rightful place as a champion of liberty, justice and national pride – a patriot and an outstanding Lord Mayor', Michael Merrigan, Ireland's Genealogical Gazette (March 2014).
‘This book is well researched and well written, and provides a fine insight into a man whose complexity of views perhaps makes him an excellent subject in a time when analysis of the critical period in his life is often simplistic and opinionated … the book should be read by all with an interest in the history of our city in the years that went to make it the capital of an independent state’, Eoin C. Bairéad, Dublin Historical Record (Spring/Summer 2015).