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Robert Brennan

Biography

A journalist and employee of Wexford County Council, Robert Brennan was involved in the Gaelic League, Sinn Féin and the IRB prior to the Easter Rising. After receiving a message from James Connolly on the Wednesday of Easter Week, 1916, Brennan mobilised the local Volunteers, along with members of Fianna Éireann and Cumann na mBan, and seized Enniscorthy. The railway line and surrounding roads were blocked, the intention being to obstruct possible British Army reinforcements arriving from Rosslare. Brennan narrowly avoided the death penalty, and was instead imprisoned in England. Despite being released in June 1917, he spent a large portion of the subsequent years in prison. When not in detainment, he was involved in the re-organisation of the Irish Volunteers and Sinn Féin during these years, taking charge of the latter’s publicity bureau. He served as under-secretary for foreign affairs for Dáil Eireann from 1921 until January 1922, when he left the post after the acceptance of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. A supporter of Fianna Fáil, he was the first general manager of the Irish Press and later re-entered diplomatic service when Éamon de Valera dispatched him to Washington D.C. in 1934. He was appointed as the Irish Minister to the United States of America four years later, playing an important role during the strained relations between the two countries over the course of the Second World War. Outside of his military and diplomatic careers, Brennan is probably best known for his writings, which include novels, memoirs, and columns in the Irish Press.

 

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