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Statement of Former Chief Herald, October 2001


Arising from certain queries presented by the undersigned to the former Chief Herald who issued a document recognising Terence MacCarthy as a Chief in 1992, the following statement has been received from solicitors acting on his behalf:

The queries posed to the former Chief Herald related firstly to the whereabouts of correspondence to his Office before 1992 warning against recognising Terence MacCarthy, and secondly to his issue in 1991 of a certificate of arms citing 'the feudal Lordhip of Duhallow', this being one of the bogus titles concocted by MacCarthy. It can be seen that the statement above does not deal at all with these queries, and indeed raises more questions. If MacCarthy was not in fact recognised as a Chief, why did the Chief Herald in question and his Deputy sign a certificate to this effect in 1992 (see below), and why did MacCarthy's name remain on the Register of Chiefs until his public exposure in 1999? Were the names of any other recognised Chiefs not posted in Iris Oifigiúil, the official Government Gazette? If MacCarthy was never ratified, why did the Office of the Chief Herald continue for a period of years to assure enquirers that he was genuine? The latter fact is attested to by William F K Marmion, who has written recently:

Now it is a fact that the first people approached by MacCarthy to join the Niadh Nask went to the Chief Herald both in person and by correspondence and were told clearly that Terence MacCarthy was the legitimate MacCarthy Mór. (Irish Roots, Second Quarter 2001, page 13.)

Certificate Recognising Terence MacCarthy as 'The MacCarthy Mór', 28 January 1992,
signed by the then Chief Herald and his Deputy

It is true that Chief Herald Begley endeavoured to avoid signing the above certificate, ordering his Deputy to do so 'per pro' or on his behalf, but on the insistence of Terence MacCarthy, he later appended his signature above that of his Deputy, as can be clearly seen. Rather than clarifying matters, the former Chief Herald's statement of October 2001 causes confusion and flies in the face of the known facts. A significant number of individuals in America and elsewhere abroad had their goodwill towards things Irish exploited for monetary gain by MacCarthy, and in endorsing his bogus Chiefship the Office of the Chief Herald effectively facilitated the MacCarthy Mór hoax. The undersigned remains convinced that a thorough official enquiry is required into the circumstances in which the Office of the Chief Herald recognised not only the disgraced Terence MacCarthy, but also other still registered fantasy Chiefs such as his great-uncle 'Maguire of Fermanagh' and 'O Long of Garranelongy', and indeed entered in its records a still not fully determined range of spurious pedigrees, arms and titles in the years before 1995.

Sean Murphy
Centre for Irish Genealogical and Historical Studies
8 December 2001, revised 3 March 2002