David Kent first came to public attention as one of four brothers from a farm family in Castlelyons, Co. Cork who were arrested under charges of conspiring to evade payment of rent. He served a sentence of nine months and, after his involvement in the land movement ended with the Parnell split in 1891, he joined the local branch of the Irish Volunteers alongside his brothers when the organisation was formed in 1913. In the aftermath of the Easter Rising, the RIC arrived at the Kents’ home in order to arrest the brothers, who refused to co-operate, resulting in a shoot-out in which David was wounded. His brother Richard and Constable William Rowe of the RIC were killed. Thomas Kent, another brother of David, was later executed for Rowe’s murder. After a trial that had been delayed by his injuries, David was also sentenced to death, but this was commuted to five years imprisonment, and he served time in Dartmoor, Lewes, and Pentonville. In December 1918 he was elected to the Dáil as a representative of the Cork East constituency. He participated in both the War of Independence and the Civil War, fighting on the anti-Treaty side on the latter occasion. He did not join Fianna Fail upon its establishment in 1926 and won a seat for Sinn Féin in the June 1927 general election. He was elected again in September, but did not take his seat.
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