Denis Caulfield Heron

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Denis Caulfield Heron LL.D QC (16 February 1824, Newry County Down – 15 April 1881, Lough Corrib, County Galway)[1] was an Irish lawyer and politician, who was Catholic Liberal MP for Tipperary, and a senior legal adviser to the English Crown. He was born in Newry, County Down, the eldest son of William Heron, a merchant, and his wife Mary Maguire of Enniskillen, he was educated at Downside Abbey, Stratton-on-the-Fosse, and proceeded to Trinity College Dublin, where he was elected a Scholar.[2]

In December 1845 Heron was the subject of a celebrated hearing at Trinity College Dublin. Heron had previously been examined and, on merit, declared a scholar of the college but had not been allowed to take up his place due to his religion. Heron appealed to the Courts which issued a writ of mandamus requiring the case to be adjudicated by the Archbishop of Dublin and the Primate of Ireland;[3] the decision of Richard Whately and John George Beresford was that Heron would remain excluded from Scholarship.[4]

In 1848 he received his law doctorate, and was called to the Bar.[5] By 1852 Heron was professor of jurisprudence and political economy at Queen's College, Galway.[6] In July 1860 he was appointed Queen's Counsel,[5] he became a Bencher of the King's Inn in 1872. He was Law Adviser to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1866 to 1868 in which capacity he was much occupied with prosecuting the trials that followed the Fenian Rising of 1867.[7] In 1880 became Third Serjeant-at-law (Ireland),[8] his death the following year put a premature end to a brilliant career.[9]

In the 1869 by-election for Tipperary constituency, Heron was defeated by 1054 to 898 votes by the incumbent, Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa; however the election was declared invalid because Rossa was an imprisoned felon[10] and, in the second election, Heron defeated the Fenian candidate and was returned to the Commons. He held Tipperary until 1874.

He was the author of Constitutional History of the University of Dublin (1847), An Introduction to the History of Jurisprudence (1860), and Principles of Jurisprudence (1873),[11] he was a long-standing member of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland, and served as its Vice-President for several years.[12]

Denis Caulfield Heron, who was a keen sportsman, died suddenly of a heart attack while he was salmon fishing in the Corrib River in County Galway in April 1881,[13] he was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery; almost all the leading legal Irish legal and political figures attended the funeral. He had married Emily FitzGerald, youngest daughter of David and Catherine FitzGerald, and sister of John FitzGerald, Baron FitzGerald; she predeceased him, they had no children.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "House of Commons constituencies: T (part 1)". Leigh rayment's Peerage pages. Retrieved 15 April 2008.
  2. ^ The Times; The New Members Of Parliament 9 June 1870; pg 7, column A
  3. '^ The Times, Important Collegiate Question., Denis C. Heron 13 December 1845; pg. 3, column E
  4. ^ The Times; Ireland. Protestant Alliance; 9 Jan 1846; pg 5, column D.
  5. ^ a b The Times, Ireland 5 July 1860; pg 12 col B
  6. ^ The Times, Election Intelligence 27 April 1852; pg 8 col D
  7. ^ Obituary for Heron in the Downside Review (1881)
  8. ^ Hart, A.R. History of the King's Serjeants at law in Ireland Dublin. Four Courts Press 2000 p.172
  9. ^ Hart p.131
  10. ^ A. M. Sullivan, New Ireland, London, n.d. [c. 1877], pp. 329–330. The Princess Grace Irish Library profile of Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa claims the result was 1131 to 1028.
  11. ^ Hart p.172
  12. ^ Hart p.132
  13. ^ Downside Review

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Charles William White
Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa
Member of Parliament for Tipperary
1870 – 1874
With: Charles William White
Succeeded by
Charles William White
William Frederick Ormond O'Callaghan