CAL McCrystal referred to the role played by absentee landlords. During the potato famine, my late wife's maternal grandfather, "honest" Trestram Kennedy, was the land agent for the absentee landlord, the young Marquis of Bath. Kennedy refused to evict the tenants who could not pay their rent and was dismissed. Kennedy went on to take a great interest in the reform of tenancy law and in 1852, with the support of the Catholic clergy, fought the general election in Co Louth on the issue of tenant rights - and won.
At the age of 63, Kennedy did not contest the 1868 general election but his friend Chichester Fortescue then entered Gladstone's first cabinet and later became Lord Privy Seal.
Kennedy had organised relief works and his older brother, John Pitt Kennedy, was appointed in 1845 as Secretary of the Relief Commission by Sir Robert Peel.