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Laurence Ginnell Papers,


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In Collection: Laurence Ginnell Papers, 1913-1923
Description: Papers of Laurence Ginnell, 1913-1923; Various documents relating to the Irish Land Bill and the Labourers’ Home Enfranchisement (Ireland Bill), ca. 1914; Documents relating to the 1916 Rising, includes statements by witnesses of the Rising with manuscript corrections by Laurence Ginnell 1916; Correspondence to Laurence Ginnell from Gaspar Nicolls and Frank W. Egan in relation to his role as Envoy Extraordinary of the Republic of Ireland in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1921; Addresses to Dáil Éireann by Laurence Ginnell, 1922; Copy of “Statement of atrocities on women in Ireland, made and signed by Mrs Hanna Sheehy Skeffington”, ca. 1920; Irish Legation Circular for International Justice and Peace, Washington D.C, 1923; Portrait of a young woman, possibly Alice Ginnell, undated.

Laurence Ginnell was born in April 1852 at Crowenstown, Delvin, County Westmeath. He became private secretary to John Dillon during the Plan of Campaign (1886-1891) and became a research assistant to John Morley in the British Museum library. Ginnell studied for the Bar in London and became a co-founder of the Irish Literary Society in 1892. He published numerous works such as ‘The Brehon Laws: A Legal Guide’ in 1894 and ‘Land and Liberty’ in 1908. He was a founder member and secretary of the United Irish League in 1898. He led and organized the Ranch War (1906 and 1909) which was the last social and agrarian campaign of the Home Rule movement. He also became an elected MP in 1906 and was one of the only Irish MPs to support the women’s suffrage movement, tabling parliamentary questions on behalf of suffragists. He was imprisoned in 1907 for contempt of court by inciting to cattle-driving and was released on health grounds in 1908. Ginnell’s radicalism made him unpopular in the Irish Parliamentary Party and was expelled in 1909 for the offense of asking to see the party accounts. Following this he sat as an Independent Nationalist and was highly critical of the British Government’s war policy and it’s holding of executions of participants of the 1916 Easter Rising. He was the only nationalist MP to join Sinn Féin and was eventually suspended from Westminster in 1917 and never returned to Parliament. He was elected joint treasurer of the Sinn Féin Executive alongside W.T. Cosgrave in October 1917. He was elected as the Sinn Féin MP for County Westmeath in the general election of 1918 and in 1919 was appointed director of the Dáil department of publicity. He was tasked with winning public support for Dáil Éireann. Ginnell went on to spend a year as a Republican campaigner in Chicago and was appointed as the Representative of the Irish Republic in Argentina and South America by Éamonn De Valera. Ginnell was opposed to the Anglo-Irish Treaty and upon his return in 1922, he became the only TD opposed to the treaty to enter the Dáil. He later became a member of De Valera’s council of state and in 1922 became the Anti-Treaty representative in Washington. He died on 17 April 1923 in a Washington hotel.
Main Creator: Ginnell, Laurence, 1854-1923
Language: English
Extent: 17 folders.
Call Number: MS 49,810 (Manuscripts Reading Room)
Rights: Reproduction rights owned by the National Library of Ireland.