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Limerick's Triumph: The Reversal of the Coal Act Amendment | Limerick Gazette Archives

Limerick’s Triumph: The Reversal of the Coal Act Amendment

In a significant turn of events, Mr T. M. Healy, H.C., MP.., has successfully championed the cause of the Irish, particularly highlighting the concerns of the County Limerick Blacksmiths’ Association. The issue at hand revolved around the proposed amendment to the Coal Act, which initially sought to exclude Ireland from its benefits, sparking a wave of discontent among its populace. Mr Healy’s efforts have been instrumental in overturning this amendment, a move that has been met with widespread acclaim from his constituents and beyond.

The controversy began when the so-called “Irish Party” introduced an amendment during the Committee stage that would have seen Ireland excluded from receiving the reduced coal grant—a vital provision for many, especially in the industrial and artisan sectors such as the blacksmiths of County Limerick. This amendment was perceived as not just a slight against the Irish people but as a continuation of what Mr Healy describes as a decade of “legislation of the pest” that has scourged Ireland.

Mr Healy’s correspondence with Mr John Higgins, the broad secretary of the County Limerick Blacksmiths’ Association, sheds light on the intense lobbying and political manoeuvring that took place behind the scenes. In his letter, Mr Healy modestly deflects personal credit for the victory, instead highlighting the collective failure of the amendment’s proponents. He characterises the proposal as “idiotic” and unworthy of serious consideration, a sentiment that appears to have resonated with the broader governmental body when the Bill returned to the Report stage.

Crucially, Mr Healy notes a fortuitous absence of certain “statesmen” during the Report stage, suggesting that their presence has often hindered rather than helped Ireland’s cause. This absence allowed the government to “feel free” to neutralise the controversial amendment, leading to a significant legislative victory for Ireland.

This event has not just been a win for the immediate beneficiaries, such as the blacksmiths of County Limerick, but also represents a broader symbolic victory against policies perceived as detrimental to Ireland’s interests. It highlights the critical role that individual MPs can play in advocating for their constituents, navigating the complex legislative process to effect change.

Moreover, Mr Healy’s comments hint at a deeper frustration with the political status quo, suggesting a yearning for more permanent solutions that would enable Ireland to flourish. His pointed critique of the “Irish Party” and the call for certain politicians to “remain permanently at home” underscore a contentious relationship between different factions within Irish politics, reflecting the complex interplay of local and national interests.

As the dust settles on this legislative battle, the people of Limerick and indeed all of Ireland can take solace in the fact that their interests were effectively represented and defended on the national stage. The reversal of the Coal Act amendment not only ensures the continuation of the reduced coal grant for Ireland but also serves as a reminder of the power of dedicated advocacy and the importance of unity in the face of divisive policies.

Irish Independent – Tuesday 10 August 1915