Born in Manchester, Gerald Boland moved to Dublin with his family as a child in the 1880s. Along with his younger brothers Harry and Edmund, and surviving sister Kathleen, Gerald inherited a strong interest in Irish nationalism from his parents, and was sworn in to the IRB in 1904. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913, becoming first lieutenant of B Company in the 2nd Battalion of the Dublin Brigade. Despite missing the initial mobilisation order on Easter Monday, Boland joined his battalion at Jacob’s Factory, where he helped to tunnel through the walls into Kelly’s pub to gain a broader view of their surroundings. He was interned in Knutsford and Frongoch prison camps, before being released in December 1916. He held a variety of commanding positions in the War of Independence and also participated in the Civil War, opposing the Treaty in the latter conflict. Following the death of Harry in 1923, Gerald took his Roscommon South seat in the Dáil. Whilst interned in Kilmainham Gaol, he took part in the forty day hunger strike staged by republican prisoners between October and November 1923, insisting that he was helped through the experience by his yoga regime. A critic of abstentionism, Gerald was a founding member of Fianna Fáil and held a number of different portfolios during the party’s various periods in office. He was twice appointed to the position of Minister for Justice and was noted for taking a harsh line against the IRA. He lost his seat to Brian Lenihan in 1961 and retired from politics in 1969 after a brief period in the Seanad.
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