The late Deputy Paddy Smith and his wife Mary.

Taoiseach to give oration at Smith grave

Taoiseach will deliver the oration at St Brigid’s Church in Tunnyduff

The Taoiseach is to visit Cavan this afternoon (November 5) to give a graveside oration at the grave of former TD Paddy Smith.

An event is being held to mark 100 years since Paddy Smith was sentenced to death for treason during the War of Independence. He was later released under the terms of the truce agreed between the UK Government and the Irish delegation at the end of the conflict.

Mr Smith had joined the Volunteers in 1917 and became a commandant in the IRA at the age of 19 years. He carried out a 41-day hunger strike after being interned during the Civil War.

Elected to the Dáil in 1923, he went on to become the country’s longest serving TD after being elected at each vote up to 1977, a record he still holds.

After serving as parliamentary secretary for Eamon de Valera, he rose through the ranks to serve as Minister for Agriculture, Social Welfare, Local Government and as Chief Whip after entering cabinet in 1947.

The Irish Press described him as the first minister to resign over a matter of principle after he broke from the Government ranks in a disagreement over bargaining with trade unions.

He remained a TD until 1977 when he retired. He died in March 1982 after a short illness. President Patrick Hilllery and Taoiseach Charles Haughey were among the thousands to attend his funeral.

Knockbride Fianna Fáil Cumainn and TD Niamh Smyth, a grand-niece of Paddy Smith, have organised Friday’s event.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin will deliver the oration at St Brigid’s Church in Tunnyduff, with TD Eamon Ó’Cúiv, a grandson of Eamon de Valera, acting as master of ceremonies.