Gearóid Ó Cuinneagáin

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Gearóid Ó Cuinneagáin

Ceannaire, Ailtirí na hAiséirghe

Born 2 January 1910
Belfast, Antrim, Ireland
Died 13 June 1991 (aged 81)
Nationality Irish
Occupation politician
Party Ailtirí na hAiséirghe (1942–1958)
Religion Catholic
Spouse Síle Ní Chochláin

Gearóid Ó Cuinneagáin (2 January 1910–13 June 1991) was an Irish patriotic activist. He was born on January 2, 1910 into a Catholic family living in the Protestant-dominated Stranmillis district of Belfast. Ó Cuinneagáin was an intelligent and studious youth who distinguished himself in the classroom, gaining the third place nationwide in the Irish civil service examinations in 1927 and earning matriculation to Queen's University, Belfast. He was inspired by one of his former teachers at St. Malachy's College, Patrick Lenihan, to begin taking evening classes in Irish and adopted the Irish form of his name, changing it from Gerald Cunningham to Gearóid Ó Cuinneagáin. His command of the Irish language gained him a position in 1933 as an editorial writer with the Republican weekly An tÉireannach.

In 1942, he founded a new nationalist political party in Ireland called Ailtirí na hAiséirghe, meaning "Architects of the Resurrection." The party sought to form a authoritarian Irish Christian corporatist state. Its objectives included the total revival of the Irish language across Ireland, the banning of English spoken in public, the removal of Jews from Irish society, the rejection of Partition and the installation of a Catholic-based popular autocratic system.[1] In the longer term, Ailtirí na hAiséirghe aimed to make a Fascist Ireland into a missionary-ideological state spreading its combination of totalitarian politics and Christian social principles worldwide. The party received support from politicians like Oliver J. Flanagan, Dan Breen, Ernest Blythe and James Joseph Walsh.[2] Seán Treacy,[3] the future Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann, was a party member in the 1940s, as were the novelist Brian Cleeve,[4] the philosopher Terence Gray[5] and the broadcaster and author Breandán Ó hEithir.[3] Although never a member, Seán South was familiar with the group's publications.[6]

The party obtained no seats in the 1943 and 1944 general elections. In the 1945 local government elections, however, Aiséirghe candidates won nine seats (out of 31 contested), gaining a total of more than 11,000 first-preference votes. In the party's weekly newspaper, Aiséirí, Ó Cuinneagáin expressed the political views of Ailtirí na hAiséirghe, and spoke against the many hypocritical politicians of Ireland. He sought an "Éire—shaor, Ghaelach, agus fhíor-Chríostúil" ('Ireland—Free, Gaelic, and Truly Christian'). Ailtirí na hAiséirghe held its last formal meeting in 1958, though the party newspaper continued to appear until the early 1970s. Ó Cuinneagáin had some involvement with the business affairs, and his publishing business called Cló Grianréime. He married Síle Ní Chochláin in 1945 and had six children. He died on June 13, 1991.


  1. Political parties in the Republic of Ireland by Michael Gallagher. Manchester University Press ND, 1985, ISBN 0-7190-1742-4, (p.107-9).
  2. Eoin O'Duffy, Fearghal McGarry
  3. 3.0 3.1 Douglas (2009), p. 250
  4. Douglas (2009), p. 163
  5. Douglas (2009), pp. 154-5
  6. Douglas 2009, pp. 285-7

Further reading

  • Douglas, R. M. Architects of the Resurrection: Ailtirí na hAiséirghe and the Fascist 'New Order' in Ireland. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007 ISBN 978-0-7190-7998-6
  • Mac Aonghusa, P. Ar Son na Gaeilge: Conradh na Gaeilge, 1893-1993. Baile Átha Cliath: Conradh na Gaeilge, 1993.
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