Liam de Róiste

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Liam de Róiste
Liam de Róiste.jpg
Teachta Dála
In office
June 1922 – August 1923
ConstituencyCork Borough
In office
December 1918 – May 1921
ConstituencyCork City
Personal details
Born(1882-06-29)29 June 1882
Fountainstown, County Cork, Ireland
Died15 March 1959(1959-03-15) (aged 76)

Liam de Róiste (born William Roche; 29 June 1882 – 15 May 1959) was an Irish Sinn Féin politician, diarist and Gaelic scholar.[1]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Fountainstown, County Cork,[2] the son of Edward Roche (originally from Tipperary) and Eliza Ahern, who were both primary school teachers.[3]

At the age of 17, he began working in a Cork drapery store. Later, he assumed a teaching post at Skerry's College.[3]

A supporter of the Irish language, which he spoke, he was founder member in 1899 of the Cork branch of the Gaelic League.[3]

Political activities[edit]

As vice-chairman of Sinn Féin in Cork, he chaired its first meeting in 1906. A prominent early member of the Irish Volunteers movement, he took part in the march to Macroom on Easter Sunday 1916 and later in helping to smuggle arms for the IRA.[4]

He was elected as a Sinn Féin MP for the Cork City constituency at the 1918 general election.[5] In January 1919, Sinn Féin MPs refused to recognise the Parliament of the United Kingdom and instead assembled at the Mansion House in Dublin as a revolutionary parliament called Dáil Éireann, though de Róiste was unable to attend.[6]

De Róiste opposed the Belfast Boycott stating in a 1920 Dáil debate; "it would mean having to purchase English-made goods instead of Belfast-made articles. Economic penetration was the solution of the Ulster question.[7]

In April, 1921 while staying at a neighbours for fear of assassination, the family home was stormed by a party of Black and Tans. A personal friend and Catholic priest, James O'Callaghan, evidently mistaken for his host, was shot and killed while investigating the disturbance downstairs.[8][9] The intruders left unopposed.

De Róiste was re-elected without contest at the 1921 elections for the Cork Borough constituency. He supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty and voted in favour of it. He was again re-elected in the 1922 general election as a member of pro-Treaty Sinn Féin. In the lead up to the Irish Civil War, he tried, as part of a group, to reconcile the pro- and anti-Treaty sides, a move which alienated many of his supporters, which effectively ended his political career.[3] He did not stand at the 1923 general election but stood unsuccessfully as a Cumann na nGaedheal candidate at the June 1927 general election.[10]

De Róiste was active in local politics in Cork, serving on Cork Corporation from 1920 to 1922. In 1929, he was one of three Cumann na Gael members of the reformed Cork Corporation, losing his seat in the early 1930s.

In 1936-1937, he was involved with the Irish Christian Front, which supported Franco in the Spanish Civil War.[3]

In the following decade, he was one of five councillors for the Cork Civic Party. He retired from politics in 1950.[3]

De Róiste was sympathetic to the fascist and anti-Semitic Ailtirí na hAiséirghe party.[11]

In his private life he was Secretary and Director of the Irish International Trading Corporation, Cork, and an author.[5] He died on 15 May 1959[12] and is buried at St. Joseph's Cemetery, Glasheen, Cork.


  1. ^ "The First World War And Ireland". Waterford County Museum. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  2. ^ "General Registrar's Office". Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "About Liam de Róiste TD > Cork City & County Archives". Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Cork City Battalion Roster". Wickham & McKiernan genealogy website. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Mr. Liam de Róiste". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 10 April 2009.
  6. ^ "Roll call of the first sitting of the First Dáil". Dáil Éireann Historical Debates (in Irish). 21 January 1919. Archived from the original on 19 November 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  7. ^ "Dáil Éireann - Volume 1 - 06 August, 1920". Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2009.
  8. ^ O'Donoghue, Florence; Josephine O'Donoghue (2006). John Borgonovo (ed.). Florence and Josephine O'Donoghue's War of Independence: a destiny that shapes our ends. Irish Academic Press. p. 224. ISBN 978-0-7165-3370-2.
  9. ^ Borgonovo, John (2007). Spies, informers and the "Anti-Sinn Féin Society": the intelligence war in Cork city, 1920-1921. Irish Academic Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-7165-2833-3. Retrieved 17 August 2009.
  10. ^ "Liam de Róiste". Retrieved 10 April 2009.
  11. ^ Douglas 2009 page 182
  12. ^ "General Registrar's Office". Retrieved 10 December 2016.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Maurice Healy
William O'Brien
Member of Parliament for Cork City
With: James J. Walsh
Constituency abolished
New constituency Teachta Dála for Cork City
Constituency abolished