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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Members of the Fifth Dáil - Jasper Wolfe

Jasper Travers Wolfe (3 August 1872 – 27 August 1952) was an Irish independent (non-party) politician who was elected three times as Teachta Dála (TD) for Cork West, from 1927–1933.
He was born into a Methodist family the son of William J. Wolfe. He was educated at Bishop's School, Skibbereen and was admitted as a solicitor in 1893. He obtained first place in his final exams and was awarded the Findlater Scholarship. He was a member of Skibbereen UDC for a number of years. He was crown prosecutor in Cork City for a period and for the West Riding of County Cork 1916–1923. He was the first Cork man to hold the Presidency of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland. Wolfe was elected to Dáil Éireann on his first attempt, at the June 1927 general election, and took his seat in the short-lived 5th Dáil. He was re-elected at the September 1927 general election and again at the 1932 election, but did not contest the 1933 general electio. He died at his residence "Norton", SKibbereen and is buried at Aughadown Cemetery.

Wolfe was a solicitor who also owned the Cork County Eagle and Munster Advertiser newspaper. This was a successor to the Skibbereen Eagle (see Skibbereen) which in an editorial in 1897 had famously warned the Tsar of Russia about expanionist aims towards China, declaring that the Skibbereen Eagle had "got its eye on the Tsar".

An incident with Solicitor Jasper Wolfe (later Teachta Dála for West Cork) was described by another solicitor Willie Kingston in Skibbereen Historical Journal. Willie Kingston was a cousin of Jasper Wolfe, Solicitor and Crown prosecutor in Skibbereen. Wolfe at the time had friends in both camps. In April 1921, Wolfe, Kingston and Miss Brown motored to Durrus where he had a case at Petty Sessions. Kingston had been in Bantry earlier where he saw two men coming towards him, one saying to the other 'that's him’, he thought it was a case of mistaken identity. Later he met Jasper at the hotel and a man came out of the shadows and peered at his face. Jasper had met (Bawnie) T.T. McCarthy, cattle dealer earlier and offered him a lift to Skibbereen. They all went to Durrus in Jasper's car driven by a chauffer and had tea in Miss Brown's mother's house. Leaving Durrus for Caheragh McCarthy was in front with Jasper but his profile indicated him as a cattle dealer rather than the Crown Prosecutor. In Caheragh, as they rounded a corner a whistle was blown violently suggesting the man was running and giving a pre-ordained signal. Kingston and Miss Brown crouched down but nothing happened. Jasper had a few drinks and slept through the entire episode. When they got back to Skibbereen they heard that an ambush was being laid for Jasper, he thought that the unexpected lift to the cattle dealer had the effect of calling off the ambush.

A book about Jasper's life has been written, entitled 'Jasper Wolfe of Skibbereen'. It was written by Jasper Ungoed-Thomas, who is the grandson of Jasper Wolfe, and tells the story of Jasper's life, set against the backdrop of the partition of Ireland and the emergent new political order
In 1894 Jasper founded Wolfe & Co. Solicitors, which is still operating in Market Street, Skibbereen, Co. Cork.

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