Introduction. At 12 o’clock on 11 February, 1886 Parnell, accompanied by Rev. Peter Dooly, P.P.; Rev. John Carolan, P.P.; Rev. Eugene Sheehy, C.C.; Mr J. J. O’Kelly, M.P.; and Mr Campbell, M.P.; left the Railway hotel, and drove out to Castlegar to address the electorate there. After spending a short time in the house of the Parish priest, Rev. John Carolan, he addressed the villagers. In his speech Parnell outlines the reasons why he chose Captain O’Shea to stand for Galway city.
Source. Irish Times, 11 February 1886.
People of Castlegar, I am obliged to you for having assembled in such numbers and on such short notice. I am glad to be able to announce to you that the dispute in reference to the representation of Galway has been settled by the self-sacrifice of Mr Lynch and his friends, who have retired in favour of the candidate, Captain O’Shea, recommended by me to the constituency. I shall take this opportunity of telling you that if I had known that Mr Lynch was coming forward for the representation I should have accepted him, for I believe that he is an honest man and a gentleman, in every way suited to represent with honesty and ability the people of Galway.
But in the duty which has devolved on me as leader of the Irish party and of the nation, to advise the people of Galway with regard to the selection of a candidate, it became necessary for me ten days ago to inquire as to whether there was any local candidate in existence who desired to offer himself to the constituency, and I was informed by Mr T. P. O’Connor that the only local candidate, Mr Lynch, would not offer himself; that he had declined; and that, not under any circumstances could he be induced to offer himself for the representation.
It therefore became necessary for me to look for some outside person unconnected with Galway— for the best candidate I could find. I therefore took it on myself to recommend Captain O’Shea, but, owing to some misunderstanding, Mr Lynch was induced to put himself in opposition to Mr O’Shea. A crisis of some gravity, difficulty and danger then arose, but, as I have told you, that crisis has happily terminated by the patriotic withdrawal of Mr Lynch.
I wish now to say a few words in favour of Mr O’Shea and of his action in the last Parliament, and of his willingness to work with us. I say that you may go to the poll and record your votes in his favour. Although Mr Lynch has withdrawn it will yet be necessary for you to go to the poll and record your votes for Captain O’Shea. Mr Lynch’s name is on the ballot paper, and it is possible that the Tories and Orangemen of Galway will go and vote for Lynch, and endeavour to return him if the people do not come forward in sufficient numbers to return Captain O’Shea. It will, however, not be Mr Lynch’s fault should they do so, for he has done everything that an honourable man could do by withdrawing from the contest. It will therefore be your duty to go tomorrow to the poll and put a cross opposite the name of Mr O’Shea.
Now, with regard to Mr O’Shea’s candidature. He represented the County of Clare without my recommendation—in fact he was not at the time my candidate; but notwithstanding this fact, immediately after his return in 1880 he came up to Dublin and attended a meeting of the Irish Parliamentary party, held in the City Hall, when the famous division took place on the question whether Mr William Shaw or I should be leader of the party, and at that crisis in the history of Ireland, he cast his vote in my favour. My election on that occasion was carried by a majority of two votes, and it is right for me to remember now the service then rendered by O’Shea to me and in the cause of Ireland. If he and one other had voted against me then I should have been deprived of the leadership of the party, and many of the great things that have since been done would not have been accomplished. There are men in the Parliamentary Party who did not vote for me on that occasion, and if that be so shy should not I remember that vote he then gave me in my favour.
I have one fault to find with Mr O’Shea’s public action. I repeatedly told him that I should not recommend his election unless that fault were amended, and I declined to support him for Galway till he had given me a promise that his conduct in future should not be open to that charge. The only fault I found with him during the last Parliament was that he consistently refused to sit on the same side of the House with us in opposition. But he has now given me this promise, and I guarantee to you that he has given me this promise, that in future he will sit with us as the Irish Party. Therefore the last possible objection that could be raised against him has disappeared.