Patrick Joseph Ruttledge (1892 – 8 May 1952) was an Irish politician.[1]

P. J. Ruttledge
P.J. Ruttledge in 1933
PJ Ruttledge in 1933, as he appeared on a Fianna Fáil political poster.
Minister for Lands and Fisheries
In office
9 March 1932 – 8 February 1933
Minister for Justice
In office
8 February 1933 – 8 September 1939
Minister for Local Government and Public Health
In office
8 September 1939 – 14 August 1941
Vice President of Sinn Féin
In office
1923–1926
LeaderÉamon de Valera
Teachta Dála
In office
May 1921 – August 1923
ConstituencyMayo North and West
In office
August 1923 – May 1951
ConstituencyMayo North
Personal details
Born1892
Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland
Died8 May 1952(1952-05-08) (aged 60)
Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland
Political partySinn Féin (until 1926)
Fianna Fáil
Military service
Branch/serviceAnti-Treaty IRA
Battles/warsIrish War of Independence
Irish Civil War

Born in Ballina, County Mayo, he was educated at St Muredach's College there and later St. Enda's Rathfarnham, run by Patrick Pearse. After studying at Trinity College, Dublin, he qualified as a solicitor in 1918 and built up a practice in his home town.[2]

During the Irish War of Independence he was active in the I.R.A. He was a close friend of Sean MacDermott, with whom he lived for some time.[2] He also took part in local politics, becoming chair of Ballina Urban Council from 1919 to 1932 and chair of Mayo County Council from 1922 to 1926.

He was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1921 as a Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Mayo North and West.[3] He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and joined the Republican forces and was seriously injured during the Civil War.[2] He was re-elected to the Dáil again in 1923 for Mayo North and in a further ten elections until 1951. In 1926 Ruttledge was a founder-member of Fianna Fáil.

He joined the cabinet of Éamon de Valera in 1932, serving as Minister for Lands and Fisheries, Minister for Justice and Minister for Local Government and Public Health, resigning in 1941 for the officially stated reason of "ill health". However, it is speculated by some historians that his actual motivation for the resignation was that he morally objected to the execution of IRA members by the Fianna Fáil government.[4] During Ruttledge's tenure as Minister for Justice, he had executed 3 men for IRA activity but commuted the death sentences of 8 other men. His successor, Gerald Boland, was much more severe, executing 14 men (although commuted 12). Boland's tally of 14 executions was the most by any Minister of Justice in the history of the Irish state.[5] Ruttledge continued to work as TD for over a decade after his resignation despite his "ill health".

Ruttledge died in 1952 while still a member of the Dáil. He was described by the Irish Times as 'a gentle, kind and upright man'. He married Helena and they had one son Ronan died young and three daughters. A horsebreeder, he was a member of the Turf Club and won the Irish Derby with Mondragon in 1939.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Patrick Ruttledge". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Obituary: Mr P. J. Ruttledge, T. D.", Irish Times, 9 May 1952.
  3. ^ "Patrick J. Ruttledge". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  4. ^ Ó Beacháin, Donnacha (12 November 2010). Destiny of the Soldiers – Fianna Fáil, Irish Republicanism and the IRA, 1926–1973: The History of Ireland’s Largest and Most Successful Political Party. Gill Books.
  5. ^ O'Donnell, Ian (9 November 2017). Justice, Mercy, and Caprice: Clemency and the Death Penalty in Ireland. OUP Oxford. p. 146. ISBN 9780198798477.
Oireachtas
New constituency Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Mayo North and West
1921–1923
Succeeded by
Ruttledge joins Anti-Treaty faction of Sinn Féin
Preceded by
Ruttledge was Sinn Féin prior to Treaty split
Sinn Féin (Anti-Treaty) Teachta Dála for
Mayo North and West

1921–1923
Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
New constituency Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Mayo North
1923–1926
Succeeded by
Ruttledge joins Fianna Fáil as founder-member
Preceded by
Ruttledge was previously a member of Sinn Féin
Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Mayo North
1926–1952
Succeeded by
Phelim Calleary
Political offices
Preceded by
Fionán Lynch
Minister for Lands and Fisheries
1932–1933
Succeeded by
Joseph Connolly
Preceded by
James Geoghegan
Minister for Justice
1933–1939
Succeeded by
Gerald Boland
Preceded by
Seán T. O'Kelly
Minister for Local Government and Public Health
1939–1941
Succeeded by
Seán MacEntee
Party political offices
Preceded by
Michael O'Flanagan
Vice President of Sinn Féin
1923–1926
With: Kathleen Lynn
Succeeded by
Mary MacSwiney and John Madden