Vol. 6: O’Flaherty, Éamon.

Type: Article

O’Flaherty, Éamon. ‘Urban Politics and Municipal Reform in Limerick, 1723-62’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 6 (1991), pp 105-120..

O’Flaherty selects Limerick as a case study for a consideration of the issues involved in the calls for Irish municipal reform in the eighteenth century. He outlines the facts of the dispute between the whig faction in the Limerick corporation and the military governor in the 1720s, and concentrates attention on the “excesses” of the corporation when under the control of the Roche party in the 1740s and 1750s. He notes the opposition of the English government to the power exercised in Ireland by municipal corporations: as a result of this, from the middle of the 1750s, “many of the capital improvements in the city were the result of direct acts of parliament … rather than acts of the corporation”. The middle class inhabitants moved from the jurisdiction of an unreformed corporation until the corporation “ceased to be an object of interest to the inhabitants”. O’Flaherty notes that the exclusion of catholics from corporations in Ireland tended to produce not a protestant oligarchy within the corporation as such but oligarchical control by a faction of the (sometimes corrupt) freemen.