on Thursday, November 6, Thurles born John Callanan will sit in the Gallery of the House of Lords and watch with thumping heart as his son Martin Callanan, from Gateshead, is led in formal procession into the Chamber for his introduction as a peer.
Both John and Martin’s hearts will surely skip a beat as the title of Lord Callanan of Low Fell echoes through the august Chamber for the first time since the House of Lords was founded back in the eleventh century. The 53 year old former Conservative MEP for Newcastle was awarded a life peerage by Prime Minister, David Cameron, following Martin’s defeat by UKIP candidate, Jonathan Arnott in the May European Elections.
“The occasion will bring back memories of visits to Tipperary and Thurles”, Martin assured me in a recent interview. “I’m very conscious that this is where my father comes from and where my family originates”, he pointed out. “It is certainly where the family name comes from”, Martin added.
On receiving news of the peerage, Martin contacted the Heraldry Society and was assured that he will be the first ever Lord Callanan to sit in the House of Lords. Low Fell refers to an area of Gateshead where John and his locally born, and sadly now deceased wife, Ada, brought up their family of three boys, Martin, Lester and Peter. John still lives in the family home and Martin also resides in the area.
Among those watching from the Gallery will be Martin’s wife, Jayne, and their nineteen year old son, Joe. Also present will be John Callanan’s step brothers, Gerard and Andy Callanan, formerly of Westgate, Thurles, and now living in Dublin and Cork respectively.
John’s brother, Richard, who lives in Scotland is unable to attend as his wife, Rosabel, is unwell. Sadly John’s other brothers, Con, London, and Martin and Paddy, New York are now deceased. All seven were sons of the late John Joe (Joby) Callanan,( 1894- 1970) of Cathedral Street and Westgate, Thurles, who captained Tipperary to All Ireland victory in the 1930 hurling final against Dublin. John Joe had already won an All Ireland medal with Dublin ten years earlier.
Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star.