Kilmainham Gaol text Collection title

Desmond Fitzgerald

Biography

Thomas Joseph (better known as Desmond) Fitzgerald was born and raised in London, where he became involved in the Imagist poetry movement as a young man, associating with Ezra Pound, amongst others. In 1913, along with his wife Mabel, a staunch republican from a unionist family, he moved to Kerry where he helped to organise the local branch of the Irish Volunteers. He was arrested numerous times under the Defence of the Realm Act during these years, but was released in time to enter the GPO on Easter Monday, 1916, where he took charge of the food supply. Interned in after the Rising in Dartmoor and Maidstone prisons, and later imprisoned again in relation to the “German plot”, Fitzgerald was elected as a Sinn Féin MP for the Pembroke constituency in Dublin in 1918. He was appointed as director of publicity for Dáil Éireann, overseeing much of the republican propaganda produced during the War of Independence, including the publication of the Irish Bulletin.  He assisted the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations and supported the resulting Treaty, despite Mabel’s opposition. He continued his publicity duties for the Cumann na nGaedhal government, and later served as Minister for External affairs and Minister for Defence. He held his seat until 1937, and died ten years later at his home in Airfield, Co. Dublin. His son Garret also entered politics, becoming leader of Fine Gael and enjoying two terms of office as Taoiseach in the 1980s.

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