June 6, 1880

William “W.T.” Cosgrave, the first President of the Executive Council or prime minister of the Irish Free State, was born on this day in 1880. After attending the first Sinn Fein convention in 1905, Cosgrave became politically active. He joined the Irish volunteers in 1913 and took part in the Easter Rising of 1916. He was arrested for his role and chose to serve a penal sentence in Wales. After being released under a general amnesty, Cosgrave was elected to serve in the Dail Eireann. He differed with Eamon de Valera in many respects. When the Irish Free State came into being on December 6, 1922, Cosgrave was elected the first prime minister and served for ten years.

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