Austin Stack

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Austin Stack
Austin Stack.jpg
Minister for Home Affairs
In office
22 August 1921 – 9 January 1922
PresidentÉamon de Valera
Preceded byArthur Griffith
Succeeded byEamonn Duggan
Teachta Dála
In office
August 1923 – June 1927
In office
May 1921 – August 1923
ConstituencyKerry–Limerick West
In office
December 1918 – May 1921
ConstituencyWest Kerry
Personal details
Augustine Mary Moore Stack

(1879-12-07)7 December 1879
Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland
Died27 April 1929(1929-04-27) (aged 49)
Dublin, Ireland
Political partySinn Féin
Spouse(s)Winifred Cassidy
(m. 1925; d. 1929)
Military service
AllegianceIrish Republic
Irish Republican Brotherhood
Irish Volunteers
Irish Republican Army
Years of service1916-1922
Battles/warsEaster Rising
Irish War of Independence
Irish Civil War
Austin Stack
Personal information
Sport Gaelic football
Years Club
Years County
Inter-county titles
All-Irelands 1
British Army military intelligence file for Austin Stack
British Army military intelligence file for Austin Stack

Augustine Mary Moore Stack (7 December 1879 – 27 April 1929) was an Irish republican and politician who served as Minister for Home Affairs from 1921 to 1922. He was a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1918 to 1927.[1]

Early life[edit]

Stack was born in Ballymullen, Tralee, County Kerry, to William Stack, an attorney's clerk, and Anne (or Honora) O'Neill.[2][3] He was educated at the Christian Brothers School in Tralee. At the age of fourteen, he left school and became a clerk in a solicitor's office. A gifted Gaelic footballer, he captained the Kerry team to All-Ireland victory in 1904. He also served as President of the Kerry Gaelic Athletic Association County Board.


He became politically active in 1908 when he joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood. In 1916, as commandant of the Kerry Brigade of the Irish Volunteers, he made preparations for the landing of arms by Roger Casement. He was made aware that Casement was arrested on Easter Saturday and was being held in Tralee. He made no attempt to rescue him from Ballymullen Barracks.

Stack was arrested and sentenced to death for his involvement in the Rising, however, this was later commuted to penal servitude for life. He was released under general amnesty in June 1917 and was elected as an abstentionist Sinn Féin MP for Kerry West in the 1918 Westminster election, becoming a member of the 1st Dáil. He was automatically elected as an abstentionist member of the House of Commons of Southern Ireland and a member of the 2nd Dáil as a Sinn Féin TD for Kerry–Limerick West at the 1921 elections.[4]

Stack, as part of his role as Minister for Home Affairs, is widely credited with the creation and administration of the Dáil Courts. These were courts run by IRA in parallel and opposition to the judicial system being run by the British government. The IRA and Sinn Féin was highly successful in both getting the civilian population of Ireland to use the courts and accept their rulings. The success of this initiative gave Sinn Féin a large boost in legitimacy and supported their goals in creating a "counter-state" within Ireland as part of their overarching goals in the War of Independence.[5][6]

He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, and took part in the subsequent Civil War. He was captured in 1923 and went on hunger strike for forty-one days before being released in July 1924.


He was elected to the 3rd Dáil at the 1922 general election and subsequent elections as an Anti-Treaty Sinn Féin TD for the Kerry constituency. When Éamon de Valera founded Fianna Fáil in 1926, Stack remained with Sinn Féin being re-elected to the Dáil at the June 1927 general election. He did not contest the September 1927 general election.

Stack's health never recovered after his hunger strike and he died in a Dublin hospital on 27 April 1929, aged 49.

Austin Stack Park in his home town of Tralee, one of the Gaelic Athletic Association's stadiums, is named in his honour, as is the Austin Stacks Hurling and Gaelic football club.

In 1925, he married Winifred (Una) Gordon, née Cassidy (died 1950),[7] the widow of a Royal Irish Constabulary district inspector, Patrick Gordon (1870-1912).[8]


  1. ^ "Austin Stack". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  2. ^ "Baptismal record". Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  3. ^ "General Registrar's Office". Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Austin Stack". Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "General Registrar's Office". Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Helen's Family Trees - GORDON - gor07.htm". Retrieved 27 April 2017.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas O'Donnell
Sinn Féin Member of Parliament for Kerry West
Constituency abolished
New constituency Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Kerry West
Constituency abolished
New constituency Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Kerry–Limerick West
Constituency abolished
New constituency Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Kerry
Succeeded by
Frederick Crowley
(Fianna Fáil)
Political offices
Preceded by
Arthur Griffith
Minister for Home Affairs
Succeeded by
Eamonn Duggan