Sinn Fein MP 1917-8,
elected as Sinn Fein MP for Kilkenny city
in by-election, 10 Aug 1917,
a poster says
"VOTE FOR COSGRAVE - A FELON OF OUR LAND",
Sinn Fein TD 1918-22, elected for Sinn Fein in Dec 1918 general election in Kilkenny North, unopposed, James O'Mara won in Kilkenny South,
treasurer of Sinn Fein, imprisoned again, released 1919,
Member of the First Dail, Jan 1919,
Minister for Local Government 1919-21 in the new underground government, with the job of organising non-cooperation with the British authorities and establishing an alternative system,
mar June 1919 to Louisa Flanagan [born 28th Aug 1882],
although on the run, he did much to undermine the existing institutions of local government, particularly after Sinn Fein swept the 1920 council elections,
supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Dec 1921,
[Ward, 1983] tells story of a plan by Cumann na mBan members to protest the Treaty by raising the Union Jack over the building housing the Treaty debates (to denote the betrayal that was taking place), they went to large shops looking for a Union Jack, "But Mrs. Cosgrave .. happened to be in the exclusive shop of Switzers" [on Grafton St] "and was told of what was happening. She of course immediately reported the plot.",
Treaty was passed Jan 1922,
(pro-Treaty) Sinn Fein TD 1922-23, re-elected TD for (pro-Treaty) Sinn Fein, Carlow-Kilkenny, general election, mid-June 1922,
Civil War started end-June 1922,
Prime Minister 1922-32,
after death of Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins Aug 1922, W.T. became head of the pro-Treaty side,
when the constitution of the Irish Free State was enacted Oct 1922, he became "President of the Executive Council" or head of government,
first prime minister of Ireland ("President of the Executive Council"), 1922-32, covering the governments of 1922-23 and 1923-27 and 1927 and 1927-32.
As head of Free State government in
he was ruthless in what he saw as defense of the state
against his former republican comrades.
By some he was
never forgiven for the execution without trial of
In all 77 republicans were executed by the Free State,
Nov 1922 - May 1923,
far more than the British executed in the War of Independence,
hero of the Howth gun-running,
and (without trial)
and Rory O'Connor
(ignoring even the pleas of the
Archbishop of Dublin,
who spent several hours with him, trying to persuade him
to stop the executions).
The hard line on law and order and against republicans continued
after the Civil War ended May 1923.
On the other hand, he did establish the southern state
on a firm footing,
avoiding fascism, communism and corruption,
to establish a true parliamentary democracy,
which, at one point in mid-20th cent,
would be one of only a handful of democracies left in the world.
only 10 countries out of 200 in the world
have been continuous (unbroken) democracies as long as Ireland.
W.T. lived Beechpark, Templeogue, Co.Dublin,
his house Beechpark was attacked and burnt down by the anti-Treaty side in the Civil War 1922-23, it was later re-built,
W.T. was Minister for Finance 1922-23,
the pro-treaty government party was re-named Cumann na nGaedheal Apr 1923,
Civil War ended May 1923,
Cumann na nGaedheal / Fine Gael TD 1923-44,
re-elected TD Carlow-Kilkenny, general election, Aug 1923, for Cumann na nGaedheal,
Minister for Defence 1924, dealing with threatened mutiny 1924 by some old IRA officers in Free State Army, who planned to force the government to establish a Republic, the officers backed down,
Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of Pius IX, 1925,
friend of Frank Duff and supporter of Legion of Mary (founded by Frank Duff 1921),
TD for Carlow-Kilkenny until 1927,
TD for Cork city 1927-44,
made the first Irish state visit to America in 1928,
he was asked in 1930 by the co-founder of the Irish Labour Party, William O'Brien, to grant asylum to the Soviet communist leader Leon Trotsky, widely regarded as a mass murderer, Cosgrave refused,
Leader of Opposition 1932-44,
his party lost power to the formerly anti-Treaty side Fianna Fail in general election Feb 1932,
led Cumann na nGaedheal in opposition after 1932.
Both sides flirted with non-democracy in this period.
On the anti-Treaty side, now that Fianna Fail were in power, the IRA began to disrupt meetings of any opposition, with apparent government approval.
On the pro-Treaty side, Cumann na nGaedheal had links with the Army Comrades Association (the Blueshirts), which was formed Feb 1932 as an anti-IRA, anti-communist group to protect the opposition. The Blueshirts adopted symbols of then-fashionable European fascism. They were not a serious fascist movement (with racial beliefs etc.), though membership was restricted to Christians, and they did express support for aspects of European fascism.
Blueshirts re-named the National Guard, July 1933.
Cumann na nGaedheal was re-named Fine Gael after merger with Blueshirts Sept 1933.
But Fine Gael was dominated by the normal democratic party Cumann na nGaedheal, and the Blueshirts were finished by the end of 1934.
W.T. did support
Spanish Civil War
as did the remnant Blueshirts.
For W.T. (and other Catholic democrats in Ireland who supported Franco)
this was about supporting the Catholic church
communists who were
burning churches and killing thousands of clergy,
rather than about supporting non-democracy per se.
opposition leader until he resigned from the Dail, Jan 1944,
member of Irish Racing Board 1945, chairman for many years,
Louisa died 16th June 1959, Beechpark, age 76 yrs [GROI],
bur Cosgrave family grave, Goldenbridge cemetery, Inchicore, Co.Dublin (see street view of gate),
he died Tue 16th Nov 1965, Dublin, age 85 yrs,
(todo) see obituary in The Times, 17 Nov,
State funeral, Thur 18th Nov, bur Goldenbridge, see photo at funeral,
the President Eamon de Valera and the Taoiseach Sean Lemass both attended, funeral reports in Irish Press and Irish Independent, both Fri 19th Nov,
see [Dict. Ir. Biog.],