Barrister, Land League veteran, and propagandist - Laurence Ginnell's road to the Dáil 

Born into a small farming family in County Westmeath in 1842, Laurence Ginnell experienced first-hand the legacy of the Great Famine. This influenced his central involvement with the Land League and the United Irish League in the 1880s and the Ranch War of 1906-1909. Called to the Bar in 1893, Ginnell abandoned the law in favour of politics. He was elected Irish Parliamentary Party MP for North Westmeath before being expelled from the party in 1910, thereafter successfully contesting successive elections as an Independent Nationalist. In parliament, Ginnell was a harsh critic of the British War effort and of the government's response to the 1916 Rising. After assisting in Plunkett’s by-election campaign in February 1917, Ginnell joined the party and was appointed honorary treasurer at the Sinn Féin convention in October. Arrested during the German Plot, he comfortably defeated the Home Rule candidate for the Westmeath constituency in 1918. Soon after his appointment as Director of Publicity, Ginnell left for a year-long campaign for International recognition of the republic in America, before being appointed as Representative of the Irish Republic in Argentina and South America.