Cathal Ó Murchadha

For other people named Charles Murphy, see Charles Murphy (disambiguation).

Cathal Ó Murchadha ([ˈkahəlˠ oː ˈmˠʊɾˠxuː], born Charles Murphy; 16 February 1880 – 28 April 1958) was an Irish politician and republican.[1] He was born in 7 Albert Place East, Dublin and was the third of 7 boys, he was the only one that married. Cathal attended Westland Row CBS as very many future Irish republicans did including Padraig and William Pearse and it is more than likely that it was here that he developed his love of all things Irish and his believe in the need for Ireland to be free from British occupation. As an adult he was very involved in St Andrews Church in Westland Row and St Andrews Catholic Club based at 4 Sandwith Street which later moved to 144 Pearse Street which was to become a location steeped in Republican History - being the place where on Easter Monday Cathal and his comrades in the 3rd BN met before taking part in the Easter Rising. After leaving school in 1897 Cathal took up a career as a solicitors clerk - an occupation that would train him well for the many administrator and financial positions he was to be placed in within the Republican movement.

During the Easter Rising Cathal spent the week in Bolands Bakery as 2nd Lieutenant to Commadant Eamonn Devalera, in a 1927 issue of an t-Oglach Cathal is credited with persuading Devalera to reverse his decision to burn Westland Row Station, the concern that Cathal would have had would have been that the fire might spread next door to his beloved St Andrews Church and also to Westland Row School. In the BMH witness statements there are a number of mentions of of Éamon de Valera during the 1916 Rising and was interned in Frongoch after the Rising. He was manager of Arthur Griffith's newspaper Nationality and looked after it during Griffith's periods of imprisonment.

He was elected to the 2nd Dáil at the 1921 Irish elections as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin South constituency representing Sinn Féin.[2] He was not re-elected at the 1922 election, but was elected to the 4th Dáil at the 1923 general election, defeating independent candidate Sir Andrew Beattie by just 490 votes,[3] but did not take his seat. He was defeated at the June 1927 general election.

Following the Treaty, he sided with the anti-Treaty side. He was imprisoned a number of times and took part in a hunger strike in Mountjoy Prison. He was officer commanding of the republican prisoners in Harepark Internment Camp, The Curragh, County Kildare.[4] from where he was transferred to Mountjoy during the hunger strike. He was the subject of questions in Leinster House regarding his torture and ill treatment by the Free State Army. [5]

He served as a Sinn Féin member on Dublin City Council.[4] He was president of Sinn Féin from 1935 to 1937. He was one of the seven signatories of the document which transferred the supposed authority of the Second Dáil on 17 December 1938 to the Army Council of the IRA.

He was married to Nan Funge of Courtown Harbour, County Wexford, and they had five children.[4] His brother-in-law had founded the printing firm Elo Press.[4] At the time of his death, on 28 April 1958, he was living at 217 South Circular Road, Dolphin's Barn, Dublin.[4]

On 26 May 2016, one of his grandsons Brian Murphy, a member of the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association[6] was wrestled by Canadian ambassador Kevin Vickers as he disrupted a commemoration remembering British soldiers killed in the Easter Rising at Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin.[7] The event attracted significant worldwide media coverage particularly in Canada, Britain and Ireland. In September 2016 in the Dublin District Court he was sentenced to 2 months in prison suspended for 2 years for a Section 6 Public Order Offence which he later appealed to the Circuit Court with a hearing due on March 24th 2017.

See also


  1. "Mr. Charles Murphy". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  2. "Charles Murphy". Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  3. Irish Times, 30 August 1923.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "50 Years Ago", Saoirse Irish Freedom, May 2008, p. 14.
  5. Team, Fujitsu/Oireachtas Lotus Notes/Domino Development. "Parliamentary Debates". Retrieved 2016-11-17.
  6. "Home - IRPWA | IRPWA". IRPWA. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  7. "Justice for the Craigavon Two protester tells how Canadian parliament hero tackled him at 1916 ceremony". The Irish News. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Fr. Michael O'Flanagan
Leader of Sinn Féin
Succeeded by
Margaret Buckley

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