The Millstreet Man who saved the Limerick Leader

Buckley, Jeremiah (1862–1937), newspaper proprietor, accountant, and nationalist, was born 16 November 1862 in Coomlogane, Millstreet, Co. Cork, the second son of John Buckley, gentleman, and Ellen Buckley (née Mullane), of Curragh, Millstreet, Co. Cork. He entered King’s Inns (1890) and was called to the bar in 1893. Having dealt with only a few cases he went on to become a chartered accountant, as a junior at Kean and Co., Dame St., Dublin. He bought this company on Kean’s death, retaining its working name. Around 1900 he also obtained ownership of the Limerick Leader, which had been founded in 1889 as a pro-nationalist journal, and run into financial difficulties. He revitalised the paper, securing its finances and maintaining its pro-nationalist stance. In 1902 he was jailed for one month because of a Leader editorial in which he denounced those who occupied the land of evicted tenants. The paper was again in trouble in 1919 when it was suppressed by the authorities for supplying information on the national loan organised by the first Dáil.

Buckley became an advisor and close friend of Éamon de Valera (qv) and was heavily involved in the foundation and development of the Irish Press. His accountancy firm were the auditors of the Irish Press, and his legal, financial, and journalistic knowledge was indispensable to the paper during its formative years, a contribution acknowledged by de Valera on Buckley’s death.

Buckley died 15 September 1937 in a private nursing home in Dublin. He was married to Mary Duggan, of Curragh, Millstreet, Co. Cork. They lived at 11 Park Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin, and had two sons and a daughter. [Dictionary of Irish Biography]


LIMERICK LEADER OWNER JAILED Mr Jeremiah Buckley, proprietor of the Limerick Leader, having heard that a warrant had been issued for his arrest, arrived at Limerick yesterday and surrendered to the authorities for the purpose of undergoing a Crimes Act sentence reduced from four months with hard labour and six months additional in default of bail, to one month without hard labour on appeal before Judge Adams. The delay in the execution of the warrant it is alleged was due to the action of Removable Brady, who sought to upset the decision of the Judge with regard to bail. [KERRY STAR , FEBRUARY 1903]

“… so unlike Jeremiah Buckley, a real limerick leader, who went to jail for telling the truth at the turn of the century…” [Limerick Socialist (1972 -1981)]

“… The Leader, established on 9 August 1889, had flawless nationalist credentials. It was set up as a Parnellite Party newspaper to cater for the counties of Limerick and Clare by Jeremiah Buckley who was himself a staunch Parnellite, and its …” [Limerick Constitutional Nationalism, 1898-1918]


“Bowman, from Cappamore, issued a writ for libel against the Limerick Leader. O’Dwyer was later publicly to admit saying he’d make the Leader’s articles the ‘dearest drop of ink put on paper’. It did not knock a feather out of Jer Buckley, the patriotic owner who had already been in jail for contempt of Her Majesty’s judges (he returned to Limerick to a tar-barrel and torchlight procession).” [Scandal at Bruff]


On Tuesday 22 January 1901, the death occurred of Queen Victoria in the Isle of Wight. Aged 82, she was the longest ever reigning British monarch (63 years) and her demise elicited mixed emotions in Limerick, with the loyalists proclaiming deep mourning and the nationalist faction doing their best to ignore the whole thing.
The division was reflected in the columns of the city’s two main newspapers of the day. The Limerick Leader’, whose proprietor Jeremiah Buckley was to go to jail two years later for his nationalistic stand, trotted out the damning statistics of deprivation that this country had suffered under the monarch’s reign: died of famine, 1,225,00; number of emigrants, 4,185,000; number of persons evicted, 3,668,00. “This is the record of Ireland under the glorious and prosperous reign of Queen Victoria! A reign which our country has been slowly bleeding to death,” the article thundered. “In 1846 Lord John Russell stated: ‘We have made Ireland – I speak it deliberately – the most degraded, the most miserable country in the world.” The editorial added: “Queen Victoria was a good mother and a model woman according to her lights, but it cannot be said that she took the private interest in the trials and troubles of Irish subjects which would make us mourn her death with a sense of irreplaceable loss.” [ref]



Mr. Jeremiah Buckley, A.C.A., B.L., Principal of Kean and Company, Chartered Accountants, died at a Dublin private hospital last evening.
Mr. Buckley, born in Cork was imprisoned in the Parnellite days.
He was active behind the scenes of the national movement, was an active supporter and a clise friend of Mr. de Valera, and showed practical interest in the latter stages of teh struggle for independence.
Mr. Buckley was the proprietor of the “Limerick Leader”

Limerick Chronicle 16th September 1937



“The Buckley family’s interest in the paper began in the early 1900s when Jeremiah Buckley purchased the paper and immediately moved to 54 O’Connell Street. The business was sold to the Leinster Leader Group in December 2002, ending a century of Buckley family involvement. They later sold it on to Johnston Press Group in September 2005. They are the current owners.” [1]


The Limerick Leader is to be sold to the publisher of the Leinster Leader in a deal likely to be worth about €20 million. … The Limerick Leader was founded at the end of the 19th century by Dubliner Jeremiah Buckley and has been held within the Buckley family ever since.
The company is currently held in three blocks by four shareholders, all of whom are Buckley family relatives.
It is unclear how the proceeds from the sale of the company will be divided among the shareholders: Ms Fiona Buckley, Mr John Wright, Mr Shay McAuliffe and Mr Tom McAuliffe. [1]


Celebrating the Centenary of the Limerick Leader [1]


Members of the Buckley and Related Family.

Jeremiah Buckley, the Dublin businessman who bought the Limerick Leader early in the 20th century, must either be spinning in his grave over the sale of his 113-year old paper or resting happy in the knowledge that seven of his descendants will live out a very comfortable existence, flush with cash.
Even though the shares in the Leader had passed to the third and fourth generations, no member of the Buckley family was in charge of the paper when it sold last week. Two non-family men, managing director Joe Gleeson and long-serving editor Brendan Halligan, run the business.
Only one shareholder, Shay McAuliffe (28), works for the paper. He is the newspaper’s accounts manager, but does not sit on the board. Only one shareholder, Fiona Buckley, the widow of Jeremiah Buckley’s grandson Niall, is a director of the newspaper.
Deciphering who owns what in the Buckley family — and how they came to own it a is difficult. The Buckley family tree is more monkey-puzzle than palm tree.

At the top was family patriarch Jeremiah Buckley. His children, Eileen, Niall and Jack, each inherited a third of the Limerick Leader Eileen married solicitor Ted Wright. A director of the Leader for over 50 years, Eileen was chairwoman of the company during its centenary celebrations in 1989. She died in 1992, leaving her one-third share to her only child, John.
John Wright worked as a photographer on the paper for over a decade before retiring 12 years ago. He moved to Guernsey in the Channel Islands, where his parents also lived for a time. He still has an address on the island, but spends most of the year at his home near Marbella in Spain.
Wright married Limerick woman Breda Gorey, an Irish dancing champion who entertained guests at the medieval banquets in Bunratty Castle in Co Clare. They have two grown-up children: Paul, a teacher, and Samantha who works in banking in the Channel Islands.
John Wright is an avid scuba diver and underwater photographer. He can now devote even more time to this, as last week, he made between € 6 million and € 8 million for his stake in the Limerick Leader.
Jeremiah Buckley’s son, Niall, was less active in the family business and is remembered as ‘a character’ who, in his early years, formed a lively double act in social circles with his wife Joan. The couple lived in Ballybunion, Co Kerry, for a time and had one child, Helen.
Helen married Ballybunion publican and supermarket owner John Higginbotham, but the marriage lasted only a few years. She lived the remainder of her life a single woman in a large house in the fashionable Limerick suburb of Castletroy. She died in 1995 at a relatively young age.
Helen took a more active role in the business than some other family members. She was educated at Sion Hill in Dublin and later trained as a journalist, working for the Connacht Tribune in Galway before joining the editorial staff at the Limerick Leader.
A friend of Helen’s said Buckley and her first cousin Breda McAuliffe — also a single woman — were “like sisters”. Their mothers were also close. Breda (58), who works in the Limerick Leader’s accounts department, is a director but not a shareholder of the company.
The Buckleys and related families are known in Limerick for their leanings toward Fine Gael. Helen was friendly with the former Fine Gael leader and Limerick deputy Michael Noonan, while her cousin Breda was party secretary in the Limerick East constituency.
When Helen died, her third of the business was divided between Breda McAuliffe’s nephews, Tom and Shay. The brothers are not directly related to the Buckley family.
Tom McAuliffe (30) followed his father into farming. He has a farm in Abbeyfeale in west Limerick. His brother Shay (28) is a business graduate of the University of Limerick.
Shay McAuliffe is a keen Gaelic footballer. He played with the Abbeyfeale club, Fr Casey’s, when it won the senior county football championship two years ago.
Last week’s sale makes Shay and his brother very eligible bachelors. They made somewhere between 6.6 million and € 8.3 million, the same amount that John Wright received.
The final third of the company, which was left by Jeremiah Buckley to his son, Jack, was eventually split between Jack’s children, Jerry and Niall St John. Jerry and his first cousins Helen Buckley and John Wright were the only members of the third generation of the family to work for the business.
Jerry, who was the Leader’s production manager, died at the age of 53 in 1999. His wife Marie died a short time before him. The couple had three daughters, Aisling, Sacha and Susan who are in their 20s and live just outside Limerick. The Buckley girls inherited their father’s sixth of the business and join a very exclusive club in Limerick — millionaires under the age of 30.
It is believed that Aisling worked in Dublin for a few years, but has since returned to Limerick where she lives with her two sisters. Sacha worked in a local pub near her home for a time.
The remaining sixth of the business passed to Niall St John Buckley, a commercial photographer. Niall, like his cousin Helen and brother Jerry, died at a relatively young age last year. His share passed to his wife, Fiona, and he is survived by their two sons — Lee, in his early 20s and John, a teenager.
Friends and relatives characterise the Buckleys, the McAuliffes and John Wright as quiet and unassuming people who keep to themselves. A well-known figure in Limerick went further, describing the third generation of Buckleys as “reclusive” and “anonymous in the community”.
The Buckley family are cashing in their chips at the right time, as the paper is highly profitable. One source close to the family said they just felt that “the time was right to sell”. The business made a pre-tax profit of €1.46 million from a turnover of 7.1 million in the financial year to November 2001 … [read the full article from 11/Dec/02]


Baptism of JEREMIAS (JEREMIAH) BUCKLEY of MILLSTREET on 12 November 1862

Birth of MARY DUGGAN in 1869 to Con Duggan and Johanna Fitzgerald of Umeraboy

Marriage of JEREMIAH BUCKLEY and MARY DUGGAN on 25 November 1899. Jeremiah a barrister-at-law living in Dromcondra, and Mary a teacher, living in Millstreet. Married at ??? Cathedral, North Dublin

1901 census –  They were living at 356 in Park Avenue (Part of) (Pembroke East & Donnybrook, Dublin). Jeremiah’s wife Mary is referred to as Minnie. The servant Helens (15) is probably a relation of theirs from Millstreet.

Son: Birth of JOHN BUCKLEY on 21 June 1904 to JEREMIAH BUCKLEY and MARY DUGGAN (address #1 Guilford Rd, Dublin)

Son: Birth of NEIL STANISLAUS BUCKLEY on 05 September 1906 to JEREMIAH BUCKLEY and MARY DUGGAN (#1 Guilford Rd, Dublin) 

Daughter: Birth of EILEEN GWENDOLINE BUCKLEY on 15 October 1908  to JEREMIAH BUCKLEY and MARY DUGGAN (#1 Guilford Rd, Dublin) 

1911 census – They are living in house 1.2 Guilford Road (Pembroke East, Dublin)

Death of Jeremiah Buckley in 15th September 1937 at 4 Upper Pembroke Street, Dublin. His Address was listed as 11 Park Avenue, Sandymount.


Jeremiah’s Parents:


It looks like Jeremiah’s mother may have died in the Millstreet workhouse!!! in October 1901 [1], or maybe this one [2]

Jeremiah’s Siblings:


The top article says that Jeremiah’s father John was a Gentleman, but the birth records for Jeremiah’s siblings state that he is a blacksmith. hmmmmm.


We don’t have a photo of Jeremiah, though it  is possible that he is in the middle of the photo below:

2 thoughts on “The Millstreet Man who saved the Limerick Leader”

  1. The man in the middle of the back row is my great great grandad Lawrence Dickinson; his young sons Jack and Thomas are in the middle row at each end. Jack age 12 years on left and Thomas on end of row on right is 17 years old. They along with Lawrence’s brother Thomas worked for the printer for many years.

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