Kennedy, Patrick James (1864–1947), politician, was born 19 December 1864 at Rathcore House, Enfield, Co. Meath, son of Brian Kennedy and his wife, Brigid (née Bourke). He was educated at St Vincent's College, Castleknock, Co. Dublin. In 1888 he married Cornelia Duncan, whose father was a professor at the University of Vienna. He farmed extensively around Enfield and Trim. As MP for North Kildare (1892–5) Kennedy was associated with the Healyite faction within the anti-Parnellite Nationalist Party; he was a friend of T. M. Healy (qv). At this time Kennedy was a governor of Mullingar district asylum and a JP for Meath. In 1899 he was elected to the new Meath county council for the Enfield area and became chairman of the new body. During his chairmanship Kennedy established a reputation as an able administrator and a stickler for legality. In November 1900 he edited a book of standing orders, regulations, and other information on Meath county council, which was taken as a model by several other county councils; it was also drawn on extensively during the reorganisation of public bodies in the early years of the Irish Free State. Kennedy's Meath Chronicle obituarist (10 Mar. 1947) even suggested that his role on the council could be described as that of proto-county manager. In October 1901 Kennedy resigned his chairmanship and council seat after the council rejected the recommendation of its roads committee that the assistant county surveyor, who was accused of incapacity and official misconduct in his relations with road surveyors, be dismissed. He was restored to the council by co-option in December 1901 and re-elected chairman in January 1902.
Kennedy was elected MP for North Westmeath in 1900, defeating the official Irish party candidate, Laurence Ginnell (qv). Kennedy used his parliamentary seat to criticise the supervision exercised over county councils by the local government board. He was on very bad terms with his vice-chairman (and successor as chairman) on the Meath council, John Sweetman (qv), who disliked Kennedy's conservative nationalism; Kennedy supported Queen Victoria's 1900 visit to Ireland while Sweetman opposed it. Kennedy chose not to stand in the June 1902 local elections in order to concentrate on his parliamentary duties, but was again co-opted to the council later in 1902 and in 1905, 1908, 1911, and 1914; he was high sheriff of Meath in 1910. Although he took the Irish party whip, Kennedy's status as a Meath rancher and hostility to the agrarian United Irish League made him vulnerable to Ginnell's anti-ranching populism, while much of the internal opposition he faced within Meath county council reflected hostility to his actions in parliament. He left parliament at the 1906 general election, when his seat was taken by Ginnell.
At a council meeting after the Easter rising Kennedy denounced ‘Black Easter . . . cold-blooded murder’ (Boyle, 65) and successfully proposed a resolution condemning it. He subsequently denounced an appeal for funds by the Irish National Aid Association (a prisoners' relief body dominated by rebel sympathisers), suggesting that such appeals should be directed to the Kaiser, who, he alleged, had financed the rebellion. In March 1920, facing certain electoral defeat, Kennedy finally resigned from the council and retired from public life in protest against a proposal to pay council staff for time spent on strike in January–February 1920. He took no further part in politics, concentrating on farming. Kennedy died on 10 March 1947. His obituary in the Meath Chronicle claimed that while he kept local officials ‘on their toes’ he was a just man always ready to reward good service.