Oscar Traynor joined the 2nd Dublin Battalion of the Irish Volunteers in 1914, following the shootings at Bachelor’s Walk in July of that year. He was stationed at Ballybough Bridge at the beginning of the Easter Rising, before relocating with the rest of his company to the GPO. He was then sent to the Metropole Hotel, which he was instructed to occupy with twenty men. They came under heavy fire and he later recalled a fire breaking out on the east side of Sackville Street, where he saw “the huge plate-glass windows of Clery’s stores run molten into the channel from the terrific heat”. He was interned in Knutsford Jail and Frongoch prison camp until December 1916. He was made captain of F Company in the 2nd Battalion shortly after his release and in November 1920 became commandant of the Dublin Brigade of the IRA, leading the attack on the Custom House in May, 1921. An opponent of the Treaty, he rose to the position of Chief of Staff of the IRA during the Civil War, but was imprisoned from 1922 to 1924 after his involvement in the initial attack on Dublin. He was elected to the Dáil for Sinn Féin in 1925, but later joined Fianna Fáil, retaining his seat in the process. In 1936 he was appointed Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and served as Minister for Defence during the Second World War. He later held the post of Minister for Justice, before retiring from politics in 1961. A life-long soccer supporter, and former player with Belfast Celtic, Traynor also served as president of the FAI.
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