John Mitchel’s election was deemed invalid as he was a convicted felon for his activities with the Young Ireland movement. In poor health, he would die weeks later on 20th March.
Mitchel wrote for ‘The Nation’ and was founder of ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper which openly preached rebellion against England returns to Ireland. Convicted of treason in 1848, Mitchel was sentenced to fourteen years’ transportation in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). In 1853, he escaped to America, where he published his ‘Jail Journal’.
While in America, he was editor of the ‘Richmond Examiner’ and a strong advocate of Confederate rights. He was imprisoned for several months after the Civil War ended. His return to Ireland, evoked huge enthusiasm amongst an Irish population devastated by The Great Hunger and emigration.
Photo: Statue of John Mitchel in Newry, ‘John Mitchel 1815–1875 After twenty seven years in the exile for the sake of Ireland he returned with honour to die among his own people and he rests with his parents in the 1st presbyterian old meeting house green at Newry.’