Photo: Ray Ryan

The lad from ballinlass a man of the land and of the people

THROUGHOUT his long and varied career Paul Connaughton has maintained one steadfast consistency — he kept his feet firmly planted in his own place among his own people. When The Herald arrived to speak to the former TD and Minister on how he is faring in retirement it was hardly surprising to find him back where he started – seeing to the cattle in the home place.
Paul was born on D-Day, June 6, 1944, into the peaceful farm of Patrick and Nelly Connaughton of Ballinlass, Mountbellew. His grandfather moved to Ballinlass in 1912 when nine families from Newbridge each received a new house and 28 acres as part of the Land Acts, which saw the break-up of the big estates. Ironically, Ballinlass was the scene of one of the most notorious mass evictions of the 19th century, and a monument near Paul’s house commemorates this.
Paul still lives in the family’s original Congested Districts Board house over a century after his grandparents moved in. It’s been much extended and on the day we spoke a CDB cottage next door was being demolished to prepare a house site for his son, now Deputy Paul Connaughton.

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