Thomas Derrig

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Thomas Derrig (Irish: Tomás Ó Deirg; 26 November 1897 – 19 November 1956) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician.[1]

Thomas Derrig

Early life and career[edit]

Derrig was born on 26 November 1897, in County Mayo. He was educated locally and at University College Galway. During his time in college he organised a corps of the Irish Volunteers. After the 1916 Easter Rising he was arrested and imprisoned. After his release he graduated from college and became headmaster in a technical college in Mayo. During the Irish War of Independence Derrig was interned at the Curragh Camp. While there he was elected a Sinn Féin Teachta Dála (TD) for Mayo North and West.[2]

Derrig took the republican side during the Irish Civil War. He was later captured by the Irish Free State army. While in custody of the Criminal Investigation Department he was severely injured, having an eye shot out by CID detectives.

Political career[edit]

At the June 1927 general election he was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow–Kilkenny. In Éamon de Valera's first government in 1932 Derrig was appointed Minister for Education. Derrig initiated a review of industrial and reformatory schools and the rules under the Children Act 1908, resulting in the critical 1936 Cussen Report, which he shelved. His lack of action was noted in 2009 when the Ryan Report examined the subsequent management of these "residential institutions"; Derrig was the first minister to seek a report that could have resulted in much-needed reforms. It has been suggested that he did not want to follow British law reforms in the 1920s and 1930s because of his strong anti-British views, and that Irish children had suffered needlessly as a result.[3]

From 1939 to 1943 he served as Minister for Lands. He was re-appointed to Education in 1943 until 1948. Between 1951 and 1954 he became Minister for Lands again.

Thomas Derrig died in Dublin on 19 November 1956, seven days before his 59th birthday.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mr. Thomas Derrig". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  2. ^ "Thomas Derrig". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  3. ^ Arnold, Bruce, The Irish Gulag, (Gill & Macmillan, Dublin 2009), page 41. ISBN 978-0-7171-4614-7
Political offices
Preceded by
John M. O'Sullivan
Minister for Education
1932–1939
Succeeded by
Seán T. O'Kelly
Preceded by
Oscar Traynor
Minister for Posts and Telegraphs
1939
Succeeded by
Patrick Little
Preceded by
Gerald Boland
Minister for Lands
1939–1943
Succeeded by
Seán Moylan
Preceded by
Éamon de Valera
Minister for Education
1940–1948
Succeeded by
Richard Mulcahy
Preceded by
Joseph Blowick
Minister for Lands
1951–1954
Succeeded by
Joseph Blowick