Thomas Sexton – family origins in Waterford
Thomas Sexton (1848–1932) was an Irish journalist, financial expert, nationalist politician and Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1880 to 1896, representing four different constituencies. He was Lord Mayor of Dublin 1888–1889.
He was first elected MP for County Sligo in the 1880 general election, for South Sligo in the 1885 general election, then for Belfast West in the 1886 election and for North Kerry in the 1892 election. He was a cosignator of the No Rent Manifesto issued in 1881. He was regarded as one of the finest orators of the Irish Party, but handicapped by a querulous temperament. Following the party split over Parnell’s leadership, he sided with John Dillon‘s anti-Parnellite faction, then in 1896 retired from parliamentary politics, disgusted at the bitter factionalism following the failure of the second Home Rule bill.
Sexton was a member of the Committee, chaired by Hugh Childers, to enquire into the financial relations between Great Britain and Ireland. In the report of the committee, published in 1896, he wrote a minority report showing that the tax burden on Ireland had been steadily increased throughout the nineteenth century, at the same time as its people were steadily impoverished.
He was hostile to the Irish Land Acts (1903) on financial grounds, and regarded by William O’Brien as one of the principal players involved in his subsequent marginalisations from the Irish Party. Sexton continued to be a leading ally of Dillon as Chairman of the board of the Freeman’s Journal from 1893 to 1911;however, his policy of cutting investments to maintain dividends led to the demise of the paper through William Martin Murphy‘s Irish Independent.
After retiring from the Freeman’s Journal he became Chairman of Boland’s Mill, and during World War I denounced wartime taxation and in 1918 endorsed Sinn Féin. At the end of his career he supported Fianna Fáil because it promised tariff protection for flour-milling.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Denis Maurice O’Conor and
|Member of Parliament for County Sligo|
1880 – 1885
With: Denis Maurice O’Conor, to 1883
Nicholas Lynch, from 1883
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for South Sligo|
1885 – 1886
Edward Joseph Kennedy
James Horner Haslett
|Member of Parliament for Belfast West|
1886 – 1892
H. O. Arnold-Forster
|Member of Parliament for North Kerry|
1892 – 1896
Michael Joseph Flavin
Timothy Daniel Sullivan
|Lord Mayor of Dublin|
Edward Joseph Kennedy