Title ‘Rebel Stateman: The Life & Times of W.T. Cosgrave’
First President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State
Speaker: Liz Gillis & Catherine Scuffil
Time: @ 7:45 PM
Location: Iona Pastoral Centre
William Thomas Cosgrave (5 June 1880 – 16 November 1965) was an Irish Fine Gael politician who served as the president of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State from 1922 to 1932, leader of the Opposition in both the Free State and Ireland from 1932 to 1944, leader of Fine Gael from 1934 to 1944, founder and leader of Fine Gael’s predecessor, Cumann na nGaedheal, from 1923 to 1933, chairman of the Provisional Government from August 1922 to December 1922, the president of Dáil Éireann from September 1922 to December 1922, the minister for Finance from 1922 to 1923 and minister for Local Government from 1919 to 1922. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1921 to 1944. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) for the North Kilkenny constituency from 1918 to 1922.
While Cosgrave never officially held the office of Taoiseach (the current title of Ireland’s prime minister, created in 1937), he is recognised to have been the first Taoiseach due to having been the Free State’s first head of government. His son, Liam, served as Taoiseach from 1973 to 1977.
Left image: Cosgrave (holding furled umbrella) visiting the sugar beet processing factory at Strawhall, County Carlow October 1926
Right image: Cosgrave (standing, far-right, wearing the star and sash of the Order of Pope Pius IX) representing the Irish Free State at the 1926 Imperial Conference in London, along with King George V and the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, Canada, Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
About the Authors:
Liz Gillis is an author and historian from the Liberties. She has a Diploma in Classical Animation Studies and a Degree in Irish History. Liz currently works as a Researcher for the History Show on RTE Radio and has lectured at Champlain College since 2018. She was a Curatorial Assistant in RTE, specialising in researching the Easter Rising and a tour guide for many years in Kilmainham Gaol. Liz is the author of six books about the Irish Revolution. In 2018 Liz was a recipient of the Lord Mayor’s Award for her contribution to history.
Source: Champlain College.
Catherine Scuffil has an MA in Local History from Maynooth University. She is currently the Historian in Residence for Dublin’s South Central area which includes the historic Liberties and some of the city’s oldest suburbs. Catherine has written a number of local history books and an abridged version of her MA thesis was awarded the Old Dublin Society’s silver medal in 2018.
Source: History on Your Doorstep.