O’Neill, Patrick

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O’Neill, Patrick

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1875-1938

History

Patrick O’Neill was born in Annaghmore, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, in 1875. He married Mary (Minnie) McConville in 1903 in Portadown, County Armagh, and they moved to Warrenpoint, County Down, where he became the proprietor of the Victoria Hotel. They had five children: Mary Theresa (Molly), Harry Gerard, Bernard, Patrick, and Nora. Mary died (likely in childbirth) in 1911. In 1913, Patrick O’Neill married Brigid Smith in Moynalvey, County Meath (Republic of Ireland), and they had four children: Brigid (Dolie), Jim, Teresa V. and Nuala. Patrick O’Neill and his family lived at the Crown Hotel in Warrenpoint, which he purchased in 1913.

In his early political career, Patrick O’Neill served as Chairman of the Warrenpoint Urban District Council, as well as Justice of the Peace, for a number of years. He was appointed as the presiding officer at the Warrenpoint Town Hall polling station during the 1918 general election in Ireland, and then in 1920, he ran unsuccessfully in the election for County Councilors for County Down. That year, the Government of Ireland Act was introduced to establish the partition of Ireland and create two devolved parliaments within the UK. O’Neill was elected to the newly formed Parliament of Northern Ireland as a nationalist MP for County Down in the 1921 general election. To protest the fact that Northern Ireland was established to have a Unionist majority, the Nationalist party members, including O’Neill, abstained from taking their seats during the first parliament. O’Neill was re-elected in the 1925 election, and in early 1926 decided to enter parliament. In 1928, he was elected as a joint honourary secretary of the newly formed National League of the North. He sat in the Northern parliament for County Down until 1929 when the Unionist government eliminated proportional representation, and then he sat for the newly created Mourne division until his retirement in 1938. Patrick O’Neill died in 1938 in Warrenpoint.

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