Newry.ie
Write a comment
Pin It

William Cronin was Town Clerk of Newry Urban District Council (UDC) from 1908 – 1947. His service spanned the First World War, Partition, the Dissolution of the Council in 1922 and the Second World War. He was born c.1876, the son of Patrick Cronin, an accountant, who was originally from county Cork. In his youth, Cronin was a noted sportsman and was cox for the famous Newry Rowing Club team who participated in the 1903 Henley Regatta.

William Cronin c.1914 when compilation of the Newry’ Roll of Honour was underway. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
William Cronin c.1914 when compilation of the Newry’ Roll of Honour was underway. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection

Cronin had an unsurpassed knowledge of local government procedures and legislation and served on a multitude of public bodies, including secretary of the Newry Port and Sanitary Authority. He was noted as a ’practical and far sighted administrator’, with great integrity, who was responsible for a myriad of schemes to improve the welfare and living conditions of local people. 

The Board Room in Newry Town Hall where Newry Urban District Council met in the days when William Cronin was Town Clerk.
Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
W The Board Room in Newry Town Hall where Newry Urban District Council met in the days when William Cronin was Town Clerk. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection

When a Roll of Honour for the town of Newry was proposed in November 1914 by Alex Fisher, a member of Newry Urban District Council and a local solicitor, Cronin was tasked with co-ordinating collection of the names of those who were serving in the First World War by 1915. He enlisted the aid of Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), who had experience of collecting and collating information for the 1911 Census.

After Partition in 1921, Newry UDC continued to ignore circulars sent from the Belfast Parliament. This changed in April 1922 when the Town Hall was occupied by the Special Constabulary and the Council was dissolved and a Commissioner appointed to perform the duties of the Council. This commissioner continued in power until January 1923, when the Council was reinstated. 

Letter appointing Gerald Cronin, Assistant Town Clerk, as Deputy Returning Officer. William Cronin was succeeded by his nephew, Gerald Cronin in 1947.
Newry and Mourne Museum Collection
Letter appointing Gerald Cronin, Assistant Town Clerk, as Deputy Returning Officer. William Cronin was succeeded by his nephew, Gerald Cronin in 1947. Newry and Mourne Museum Collection

As Town Clerk, William Cronin submitted evidence to the Irish Boundary Commission in February 1925. His statement concluded “I therefore support the claim that the entire area comprised the Poor Law Unions of Newry and Kilkeel should be retained in the Irish Free State as desired by the majority of the population of the said area there being no economic or geographical condition that I am aware of which could be regarded as incompatible with the “wishes of the inhabitants”. The Commission concluded in 1925 without any changes being made to the border. 

William Cronin also represented Newry UDC on Down County Council and, by 1936, was its vice-chairman. He played a significant role guiding Newry through the Second World War and, in the 1946 New Year Honours, he received an M.B.E. for his services to local government. When he retired in 1947, he was succeeded by nephew, Gerald Cronin. 

Newry and Mourne Museum re-opens to the public on 26th May 2021, Wednesday – Saturday 10.00 – 12 noon and 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm. These opening hours will be extended at a later date.

Call 0330 137 4422 for further information

by Noreen Cunningham

Say something here...
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.

DONATE TO NEWRY.IE

Please consider supporting Newry.ie

Amount
Newry.ie require Cookies on some parts of our site to enable full functionality. By using Newry.ie you consent to our use of Cookies. You can use your browser settings to disable cookies on this or any other website.