(1728–66), Catholic priest executed for murder at Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. His trial was one of a series launched against local Catholic clergy and gentry at a time when sectarian passions had been inflamed both by the Whiteboy movement and by a bitterly contested by-election (1761) involving the convert Mathew family. Sheehy, who had apparently been active in anti-tithe protest, had surrendered himself following an initial indictment, on the understanding that he would be tried in Dublin. He was acquitted there but then returned to Clonmel, where he was convicted, along with three prominent local Catholics, on highly suspect evidence. Their judicial assassination is widely cited as evidence of the continued strength of anti-Catholicism, and the potential for arbitrary repression, at a time when enforcement of the penal laws was apparently diminishing.
From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: European History.