WT Cosgrave: the first Dáil question

 

Sir, – In An Irishman’s Diary (August 10th), Brian Maye casts a welcome biographical light on William T Cosgrave. Readers might be interested to learn that Cosgrave, the then TD for Kilkenny City, holds the distinction of tabling the first parliamentary question in the history of Dáil Éireann.

Cosgrave’s question was brief, namely that “There are two Irishmen in Reading Gaol – MacNestry and O’Rourke. Is there any machinery for securing their release?” The reply was equally brief, “Give written notice of that question and it will be answered tomorrow.” The question was asked on Tuesday, April 1st, 1919.

Cosgrave’s question was one of just two put to the ministry that day. The second question was tabled by Desmond FitzGerald, the then member for Pembroke Dublin. In comparison, slightly fewer than 53,000 parliamentary questions were tabled in 2015.

Interestingly, the sons of these inaugural questioners became taoisigh later in the 20th century: Liam Cosgrave and Garret FitzGerald. – Yours, etc,

ANTHONY M

O’ HALLORAN,

Clonmel,

Co Tipperary.