Prelude to the Easter Rising of 1916

Prelude to the Easter Rising of 1916
The Signatories of the Proclamation

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Members of the First Dáil - Richard Mulcahy

Richard "Dick" Mulcahy

We looked at Dick Mulcahy in the Rising. Here we look at him after the Rising.

Born in Waterford, he was educated by the Christian Brothers and worked in the postal service in Thurles. He joined the Volunteers in 1913 and was second-in- command to Thomas Ashe in the engagement at Ashbourne in 1916.

Jailed after the Rising, he became the chief of staff of the IRA after his release the following year and was elected in 1918 for Clontarf. Appointed minister for defence at the first Dáil, he was replaced by Brugha in the reshuffle after de Valera’s release.

Mulcahy supported the Treaty and took command of the government forces after the death of Collins. He was minister for defence from 1923-1924, but resigned during the army mutiny after clashes with Kevin O’Higgins. He returned to the cabinet in 1927 as minister for local government and in 1944 became leader of Fine Gael after WT Cosgrave retired. His decision not to insist that, as Fine Gael leader, he should be the party’s candidate for taoiseach in 1948 facilitated the creation of the first coalition government.

He served as minister for education in that government between 1948 and 1951, and again between 1954 and 1957. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Irish language and connected by marriage to two leading Fianna Fáil politicians, Jim Ryan and Sean T O’Kelly.

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