Kilmainham Gaol text Collection title

Joseph McGrath

Biography

Joseph McGrath participated in the Easter Rising as a member of both the Irish Volunteers and the IRB. As a Lieutenant in D Company of the 4th Dublin Battalion, he fought in Marrowbone Lane during Easter week. He was interned for and in 1918 was elected as a Sinn Féin MP for the St James’s division of Dublin. Imprisoned for large portions of the War of Independence, McGrath was nevertheless able to assist Éamon de Valera during his negotiations with David Lloyd George in 1921, and supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty later that year. In 1922 he held two ministerial roles in the provisional government, taking charge of the Labour department as well as handling the Industry and Commerce portfolio. He also served a director of intelligence for the national army during the Civil War, overseeing the Criminal Investigation Department during these years. He resigned from Cumann na nGaedheal, and later from Dáil Éireann, in 1924 in response to the army mutiny. After a brief spell working on the Shannon hydro-electric scheme, he spent the rest of his life involved in Irish horse racing. He was involved in the establishment of the Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstake, and took on prominent roles in bodies such as the Bloodstock Breeders’ Association of Ireland, the Racing Board, and the Turf Club, as well as breeding his own horses at Brownstown Stud.


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