Buggy, Kevin Thomas (Kieran) (1817–43), journalist and repealer, was born 5 March 1817 in Kilkenny, youngest of two sons of Michael Buggy. On leaving secondary school, he joined the Kilkenny Journal newspaper where he worked for six years, first as a journalist and later as editor. Although called to the bar at Gray's Inn in November 1841, he did not practise but continued to work in newspapers and moved to Belfast, where he was appointed editor of the Vindicator in 1842.
An uncompromising supporter of Daniel O'Connell (qv), he wrote with an acute and penetrating intelligence in support of the repeal movement. As well as his passionate political commentary, he wrote fiction for such periodicals as Tait's Magazine and the Citizen, which published his story ‘The cousins’ over several numbers. He was a poet of some promise; his ‘The Saxon shilling’ appeared in the Nation (January 1843) and quickly became popular with the more advanced section of repealers. In the 1841 general election he served as electoral agent for Daniel O'Connell (qv) jr, and was also secretary to the counties league fund established by the Repeal Association in July 1841 to protect voters from reprisals by landlords.
An orator of great power and eloquence, he spoke in London and Edinburgh as well as throughout Ireland, where his scorching wit and keen intellect were utilised with courage. Though his slovenliness was legendary, his rich humour and generous spirit inspired deep popularity, and his premature death from a sudden illness in Belfast (18 August 1843) was genuinely mourned, drawing thousands to his funeral. A monument, carrying a eulogy from Daniel O'Connell, was erected on his grave at Friar's Bush cemetery, Belfast, through public subscription. He was unmarried, a status that undoubtedly helped inspire the tale that his death had been provoked by a failed romance.