The family of a pioneering civil servant who advised Michael Collins on the Treaty negotiations and who helped devise the compensation and reconstruction scheme following the burning of Cork, has donated his vast personal archive to his native city.
The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan, welcomed the generous donation by the family of Diarmaid (Jeremiah) L Fawsitt of his treasure trove of papers to the Cork City and County Archives Service just ahead of the city’s series of centenary commemorative events next year.
The large collection of documents includes correspondence, diaries, photographs, news clippings, articles, speeches and lectures.
“Thanks to the kind generosity of the Fawsitt family, the archive is now a permanent public resource in Cork, to be made available once it has been conserved, catalogued and processed by the Archives,” he said.
The archive will be a major research asset for historians of 20th century Ireland, and its donation is a significant contribution to our Cork Decade of Centenaries commemorations of the revolutionary period.
Mr Fawsitt, who was born near Blarney Street on Cork’s northside in 1884, was a leading nationalist and republican, who worked as a journalist, a senior civil servant and later as a judge of the Circuit Court. He died in 1967.
He was active in cultural, industrial and nationalist circles, including the Celtic Literary Society, Sinn Féin, the Gaelic League, Cork National Theatre Society, and especially the Cork Industrial Development Association.
He was secretary of the Irish Industrial Development Association in 1911, and in November 1913, he attended the inaugural meeting of the Irish Volunteers in Dublin, and was inducted into the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
A month later, he was among the co-founders of the Cork Corps of the Irish Volunteers following a meeting at Cork City Hall. He later became chairperson of its executive.
He continued as secretary of the Irish Industrial Development Association and in 1919, he was sent by Arthur Griffith to America as consul and trade commissioner of the Irish Republic. He was based in New York.
He was the economic advisor for the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations in 1921-22, and was assistant secretary of the Department of Industry and Commerce from 1922 to 1923.
In this role, he was involved in the development of the scheme for compensation and reconstruction following the burning of Cork in December 1920. He later studied for the bar and became a judge of the Circuit Court.
City and county archivist, Brian McGee said the archive comprises a large collection of documents such as correspondence, diaries, photographs, news clippings, articles, speeches, lectures, and ephemera related to Mr Fawsitt’s involvement in many causes and organisations, as well as more personal material.
It is expected to take several months to catalogued and preserve the material before it is made available for access by researchers or the wider public.