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Joseph McGarrity (1874–1940) was born in Carrickmore, County Tyrone, Ireland. He immigrated to the US in 1892 at the age of 18 and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 4900 Wynfield Ave West Philadelphia From 1893 until his death he was a leading member of the Clan na Gael organisation. He also was successful in the liquor businessman; however, his business failed on three occasions, twice due to embezzlement by his business partner. McGarrity helped sponsor several Irish Race Conventions and founded and ran a newspaper called The Irish Press from 1918-22 that supported the War of Independence in Ireland. He was founder of Philadelphia Clan Na Gael.

Early yearsEdit

During the First World War, while the USA was still neutral, McGarrity was involved in the Hindu–German Conspiracy; he arranged the Annie Larsen arms purchase and shipment from New York to San Diego for India.[1]

When Éamon de Valera arrived in the USA in 1919 they struck up an immediate rapport and McGarrity managed de Valera's tour of the USA. He persuaded de Valera of the benefits of supporting him and the Philadelphia branch against the New York branch of the Friends of Irish Freedom organisation led by John Devoy and Judge Daniel F. Cohalan. He became president of the American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic. He christened his newborn son Eamon De Valera McGarrity. Although in his later years he broke from de Valera. Also once friends with Michael Collins he disagreed with the Irish peace treaty.

Treaty and afterEdit

He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty and travelled to Dublin in 1922 and assisted the development of the short-lived Collins/De Valera Pact by bringing de Valera and Michael Collins together before the 1922 Irish general election. He did not support the founding of Fianna Fáil in 1926 and opposed the party’s entry into the Dáil in 1927. He finally fell out with de Valera in the 1930s and in 1939 supported the demand from Seán Russell for the "S-Plan" bombing campaign in Britain which proved disastrous. He met Hermann Göring in Berlin in 1939 to ask for aid for the IRA, which led indirectly to "Plan Kathleen".

In 1933 McGarrity became one of the main ticket agents in the USA for the Irish Hospitals' Sweepstake. He was a personal friend of Joe McGrath, one of the founders of the Sweepstake. McGarrity’s business empire was facing financial ruin when the Sweepstake agency came his way and set him straight.[2]

He was a lifelong friend of fellow Carrickmore native and avid Republican, Patrick McCartan. When he died in 1940 a mass was held in the St Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin. McGarrity remained an unrepentant physical force republican all his life.

A number of his papers are in the National Library of Ireland. He Donated his Library to Villanova University.

The IRA signed all its statements 'J.J. McGarrity' up until 1969 when the organisation split into the 'Official' and 'Provisional' movements.[3] Thereafter the term continued to be used by the Officials while the Provisionals adopted the moniker 'P.O'Neill' [4]


  • De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow, Tim Pat Coogan (1995)
  • Memoirs of Senator Joseph Connolly: A Founder of Modern Ireland, J. Anthony Gaughan (ed), 1996.


  1. ^ Irish Republicans and the Indo-German Conspiracy of World War I. Matthew Erin Plowman. New Hibernia Review 7.3 (2003) 81-105
  2. ^ Coleman, Marie (2009). The Irish Sweep: a History of the Irish Hospitals Sweepstake, 1930-87. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. ISBN 978-1-906359-40-9.
  3. ^ The Irish News - March 8, 2005 (Darren McCann)
  4. ^ Roy Johnston, Century of Endeavour: RJ and Politics in 1970, 2002. Accessed 2010-10-09.

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