Austin Stack
The Freedom Fighter From Tralee

Search County Kerry

Austin Stack (7 december 1879 – 27 April 1929) was an Irish revolutionary.

Austin Stack was born in Ballymullen, Tralee. He was educated at the Christian Brothers School in Tralee. At the age of fourteen he left school and became a clerk in a solicitor's office. A gifted Gaelic Footballer, he captained the Kerry team to All-Ireland glory in 1904. He also served as President of the Kerry Gaelic Athletic Association County Board. 

He became politically active in 1908 when he joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood. In 1916, as commandant of the Kerry Brigade of the Irish Volunteers, he made preparations for the landing of arms by Roger Casement, on lonley Banna Strand.

Although he was made aware that Casement was arrested and was being held in Tralee, he made no attempt to rescue Casement from Ballymullen Barracks at this time. District Inspector Kearney (RIC) treated Casement very well and made sure Stack was aware that Casement could so easily have been rescued, yet Stack refused to move.

Austin Stack was arrested and sentenced to death for his involvement, however, this was later commuted to penal servitude for life. Stack was released under general amnesty in June 1917 after the death of fellow prisoner and Tralee man Thomas Patrick Ashe and was elected as an abstenionist Sinn Fein Member of Parliament for Kerry West in the 1918 Westminster election, becoming a member of the 1st Dail.

He was automatically elected as an abstenionist member of the House of Commons of Southern Ireland and a member of the 2nd Dail as a Sinn Féin Teachta Dala for Kerry-Limerick West in the Irish elections of 1921.

He opposed the Anglo-IrishTreaty of 1921, and took part in the subsequent irish Civil War. He was captured in 1923 and went on hunger strike for forty-one days before being released in July 1924.

He was elected to the 3rd Dail at the 1922 general election and subsequent elections as a Anti-Treaty Sinn Fein TD for the Kerry constituency. When Eamon de Valera founded Fianna Fail in 1926, Stack remained with Sinn Fein being re-elected to the Dail in the June 1927 General Election. He did not contest the September 1927 election. Stack's health never recovered after his hunger strike and he died in a Dublin hospital on April 27 1929, aged 49. Austin Stack Park in his home town of Tralee, one of the Gaelic Athletic Association Stadiums, is named in his honour.

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