David Lawlor's research shows how Dr. Nulty broke the power of local Parnellites over their refusal to vote for a nun as matron of Navan workhouse. The bishop then nominated Michael Davitt, founder of the Land League, to unseat North Meath’s Parnellite MP, Pierce Mahony. While the Parnellites successfully petitioned the courts to have Davitt's election annulled because of “undue clerical influence”, new anti-Parnellite candidates narrowly won the ensuing by-elections. However, clerical interference in Meath politics provided damaging evidence of “Rome rule” to Tories and Unionists opposing Gladstone's second Home Rule bill, which was lost in the Lords in 1893.
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