Eamon de Valera’s right-hand man in American, Joe McGarrity, who reportedly “$100,000 of his personal fortune on the Irish cause” passed away on Aug 5, 1940
Excerpted from Christmas Night in Ireland by Joe McGarrity:
5 August 1940: Joe McGarrity, the great Clan leader in the United States and staunch supporter of the IRA, died in Philadelphia. McGarrity, who was born at Cregadaveskey, Carrickmore, Co. Tyrone, emigrated to the United States at age seventeen, and eventually entered the hotel business, becoming a member of the New York Stock Exchange.
McGarrity served as a link between Irish interests and American money to fund them. Even before the Rising, he organized speeches for visiting Irishmen who had come to explain their cause. In 1919, he helped put together the great Irish Race Convention, in Philadelphia, which drew 5,000 representatives. Following the convention, the American Congress passed a resolution calling on President Woodrow Wilson to bargain for Ireland’s independence at the European Peace Conference (Wilson ignored the petition).
During the 1930s McGarrity visited Ireland almost annually. He was an outstanding character with a deep reverence for Eamon de Valera. He even named one of his sons after him. “Friends of Joseph McGarrity reckon that he spent up to $100,000 of his personal fortune on the Irish cause.”
Physically, McGarrity was more than six feet tall, with an athletic physique. His booming voice defied his opponents’ ability to silence it. “Vigor radiated from him. In his talk he, like so many other Irish men, could not keep still the hands, the toss of the head, the sudden pacing of the floor, all drove home the point he was making.” Joe McGarrity’s persona loomed large over Irish American affairs. His presence would be missed.
* Echoes of Their Footsteps Volume III by Kathleen Hegarty Thorne and Patrick Flanagan.
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