Michael Davitt: He that Hungers and Thirsts after Justice

Michael Davitt’s early years are difficult: Eviction during the Great Famine in Ireland, emigration, a child factory-worker, an industrial casualty, an Irish Catholic boy at an English Protestant school, a Fenian and a prisoner on penal servitude.

He emerges from imprisonment with spirit unbroken and the vision to found and organise the Land League, which changes the social structure of rural Ireland within a generation.

His sympathy and concern range from tenant farmers to agricultural labourers, and from the plight of the British working class to prison reform, the Boers in South Africa to the Jews in Russia.

Michael Davitt leaves us in 1906. Over his grave in Co. Mayo, a Celtic Cross bears the words: “Blessed is he that hungers and thirsts after justice, for he shall receive it…”

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