Hunger Striker, Joe MacDonagh TD, died on Christmas Day 1922

Photograph of Joe MacDonagh

Joe MacDonagh died on Christmas Day 1922 from the effects of a burst appendix that he suffered while on hunger strike in Mountjoy Jail. He was born in Cloughjordan in 1883 and was the younger brother of the executed 1916 Rising leader and signatory of the The 1916 Proclamation, Thomas MacDonagh.

Joe was the Sinn Fein TD for North Tipperary since the 1918 election. He endured hunger strikes in Mountjoy Jail in 1917 (Thomas Ashe died on this hunger strike after being force fed): in Dundalk, Belfast and Reading Jails in 1918 and in Wormwood Scrubs Jail in 1920. Joe voted against The Treaty and he was jailed during the Civil War by the Free State government in October 1922. He again went on hunger strike as a protest against the Free State governments treatment of political prisoners.

The frequency of his hunger strikes took their toll on his body and he sadly died on Christmas Day 1922 at the Mater Hospital. Joe who was 39 years old was survived by his wife Margaret and his children Mary, Tom and Joe. There is more information and exhibits on the political career of Joe MacDonagh at the MacDonagh Museum in Cloughjordan.

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