Journalist and Gaeilgóir: J. J. O'Kelly's road to the Dáil

Kerry-born J.J. O'Kelly was a writer, journalist and Irish language activist who wrote under the pen name "Sceilg". He was one of the founders of the Keating branch of the Gaelic League and joined Sinn Féin at its inaugural meeting in November 1905. While he did not participate in the Easter Rising, O’Kelly played an important part after 1916 in advancing republican ideals as editor of the influential Catholic Bulletin. O’Kelly was arrested and deported in February 1917 but was released in June after which he contributed to the organisation of the Sinn Féin convention in October. In the general election of 1918 O'Kelly was elected as the Sinn Féin candidate for Louth, and read, in Irish, the Address to the Free Nations of the World at the first meeting of Dáil Éireann. O’Kelly was elected deputy speaker following the departure of Seán T. O'Kelly to the Paris Peace Conference in early 1919.