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Repeal Association

Repeal Association, 1840–8. O'Connell's Catholic Association was suppressed when catholic emancipation was carried in 1829 but agitation for the repeal of the Union soon recommenced. For some years O'Connell preferred to work with the Whig governments but in 1840, faced with the prospect of a Tory government under Peel, he responded by organizing the Repeal Association, supported by the ‘repeal rent’, collected mainly by catholic priests. It drew up petitions, arranged candidates, sponsored monster meetings, claimed 3 million supporters, and employed 50 headquarters staff. In 1843 the government banned a meeting at Clontarf and four months later O'Connell was sent to gaol for conspiracy. The association was weakened by splits over tactics of violence, O'Connell's death in 1847, and the impact of the Famine. It was replaced in 1848 by a short-lived Irish League.

J. A. Cannon

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