Young, Edith Mary (née O'Connor ) (1882–1974), suffragist, was born 10 September 1882 at 4 Pilot's Cottages, Harbour Rd (Bullock Harbour), Dalkey, Co. Dublin, daughter of John O'Connor, a clerk in the Four Courts, Dublin (1882), and subsequently clerk in the record and writ office (1902), and Lizzey O'Connor (née Morrisy). By 1902 she was resident at 20 Belvidere Avenue, Dublin. A catholic, she married (25 November 1902) Joseph Samuel Young, a protestant mineral water manufacturer, in the parish church of St George (Church of Ireland), Dublin, and moved to his home at 15 Mary St., Galway. It is not recorded that they had children. The couple subsequently resided in Galway at Correen House, 16 Newtownsmith (by 1911), and for many years from 1917 at Corrib House, Wood Quay.
In October–November 1911 Young was conspicuous in well-publicised activities in Galway city of the Irish Women's Franchise League (IWFL). Exploiting the contacts incumbent on her husband's position as an urban district councillor, she accompanied an out-of-town IWFL organiser on appearances before local government bodies in a successful effort to secure passage of resolutions supporting the 1911 parliamentary conciliation bill. Both the tenor of debate and the terms of the resolutions mirrored the class bias and conservative ethos of the Galway suffragists, notwithstanding their mobilisation by the militant IWFL and the liberal provisions of the proposed legislation. At a special meeting of the UDC (14 October), Joseph Young criticised the system whereby independent women who paid rates and rents and provided employment were denied the parliamentary vote, while a male window cleaner ‘off the street’ in such a woman's employ might possess the franchise. The resolution passed by Galway county council endorsed women's suffrage under a restricted franchise that included a £10 property qualification and the exclusion of married women. Edith Young shared the platform before a large audience at a public meeting under IWFL auspices at Galway town hall addressed by the leading English suffragist Christabel Pankhurst (18 October). Though an IWFL branch was established in Galway, its development seems to have been enervated by press and public hostility generated by the resumption of militant, illegal methods by some suffragists after the collapse of the conciliation bill.
In 1913 Young was prominent in a more sustained effort to establish a suffragist society in Galway, representative of the moderate, constitutional wing of the movement. She was elected president of the Connaught Women's Franchise League (Non-militant) (CWFL), affiliated to the Irish Women's Suffrage Federation (IWSF), a non-militant, non-party, non-sectarian umbrella organisation linking many local and sectional bodies. Operating, despite its name, solely within Galway city, the CWFL comprised a small, middle-class, educated, and largely protestant membership. Conceiving its purpose as primarily educational, it concentrated its activities on newspaper propaganda, and education of its own members at monthly meetings. Young regularly hosted committee and members’ meetings in her home. The society persuaded the two leading Galway newspapers, which held opposite views on the national question, to devote ample coverage to suffragist issues, including publication of papers read by CWFL members at the society's meetings. Young chaired a major public meeting in the Railway Hotel addressed by a visiting English suffragist (October 1913), and led a CWFL deputation to the local MP, Stephen Gwynn (qv), protesting provisions of the education bill of Augustine Birrell (qv) that incorporated unequal pay for women teachers, and failed to provide women inspectors for girls’ schools (June 1914).
Young was typical of suffragist activists in having broader interests in the sphere of social and moral reform. She was a committee member of the Women's National Health Association (WNHA) of Lady Aberdeen (Ishbel Maria Gordon (qv)), a Galway branch of which was established in June 1908. She received glowing reviews for her performance in ‘Peter's mother’, staged as a benefit for the WNHA (January 1913). During the first world war, when activities of the mainstream suffragist movement in Ireland, as in Britain, were subordinated to the war effort, she was active with the Galway War Fund Association.
Edith Young remained prominent for many years in social and charitable activities in Galway. Some years after her husband's death, in the late 1960s she returned to Dublin, residing at 10 Northumberland Rd. She died 10 February 1974 of heart failure at Our Lady's Manor, Dalkey, Co. Dublin
Her husband, Joseph Samuel Young (c.1864–1958), a native of Ballinamana, Clarinbridge, Co. Galway, extended his thriving business, manufacturing mineral waters, on Mary St., Galway, into premises on Eglinton St. He also operated an allied bar trade, and owned licensed premises on Eyre Sq. He remained a local councillor for some thirty years (early 1910s–early 1940s), representing north ward on the UDC (vice chairman (1927–36)), and on the newly restored Galway corporation (from 1937). A long serving Co. Galway magistrate, he served on Galway Harbour Board and other public bodies, and was made OBE during the first world war. One of the first non-ascendancy members of Galway Race Committee, he served for over fifty years (1907–58), and succeeded Martin McDonogh (qv) as chairman (1934–58). Attending the races annually from 1880 to the year of his death (1958), he made significant contributions to the development of the meeting into one of the leading racing fixtures in Ireland and Great Britain. A passionate devotee of hunting, for a period in the 1930s he was chairman of Co. Galway Hunt. He sat on the council of Galway Chamber of Commerce and Industry for many years from the body's inception in 1923.
His brother, Alexander Young (1873–1916), was awarded the Victoria Cross (1901) for his daring capture of a Boer commando leader while serving as sergeant-major in the Cape Mounted Police during the South African War. A horseman of legendary skill, he was regarded as one of the finest rough riders in the army while serving with the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) in the 1890s before emigrating to South Africa. Commissioned during the first world war as a lieutenant in the 4th (Scottish) Regt., South African Infantry, he was killed in action on the Somme (19 October 1916).