He was first elected in the 1921 general election for Dublin North-West, and after that constituency's abolition for the 1923 general election he was re-elected for the new Dublin South constituency. Cosgrave's death only eight weeks after winning his seat in the 4th Dáil triggered a by-election for his seat. It was held on 12 March 1924 and won by the Cumann na nGaedheal candidate, James O'Mara.
His brother, W. T. Cosgrave, was President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State, his nephew, Liam Cosgrave was Taoiseach from 1973 to 1977 and his great-nephew, Liam T. Cosgrave was TD for Dún Laoghaire from 1981 to 1987.
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