Born ?29 June, 1882, Tracton, South County Cork. Son of Edward Roche, primary school teacher. Worked in a Cork drapery store at age 17 and then took a post in Skerry's College, where he later held a teaching position.
An Irish language speaker and enthusiast, he was founder member in 1899, and in turn Secretary and Chairman, of the Cork branch of Conradh na Gaeilge (Gaelic League). Founder member of Coláiste na Mumhan in Ballingeary. Founder member of the Cork Celtic Literary Society alongside figures such as Terence MacSwiney and Tomás MacCurtain, Seán O'Hegarty and Daniel Corkery. Secretary of the Cork Industrial Development Association, which he helped to found alongside George Crosbie.
Chairman/Vice Chairman of the Cork branch of Sinn Féin, chairing its first meeting, attended by Eoin MacNeill and Douglas Hyde, in 1906. Prominent early member of the Irish Volunteers movement, taking part in the march to Macroom on Easter Sunday 1916 and later helping to smuggle arms for the I.R.A.
In partnership with J.J. Walsh, he was elected an M.P. and Sinn Féin TD for Cork to the First Dáil in 1918, and to the Second Dáil in 1921. In 1921, a force of 'Black and Tans' raided his home in Sunday's Well and murdered a visitor, Rev. Seamus O'Callaghan, probably intending to assassinate De Roiste. Elected as Leas Ceann Comhairle (Deputy Chairman) of Dáil Éireann, and presided over many of the debates on the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December-January 1921-22. Took the pro-Treaty side, and was elected to Third Dáil as pro-Treaty candidate in June 1922. In the lead up to Civil War, he was part of a group that tried unsuccessfully to reconcile the pro- and anti- Treaty sides, but in doing so, he alienated many of his supporters, and his future career in national politics was effectively ended. Stood unsuccessfully as a Cumann na nGael candidate at the June 1927 general election.
Served as an alderman on Cork Corporation (now Cork City Council) 1920-1922. Elected one of three Cumann na Gael councillors/members of the reformed Cork Corporation from March 1929. Lost his Cork Corporation seat in the first of the local elections held annually in 1930-1936. In 1936-1937, he was involved with the Irish Christian Front, support organisation for the nationalist faction in the Spanish Civil War, alongside Alfred O'Rahilly (b1884-d1969).
Later, he served again as one of 5 councillors for the newly formed Cork Civic Party for 2 periods from 1945-1950. He retired from politics in 1950
Secretary and Director of the Irish International Trading Corporation, Cork , an import/export business. To a limited extent a playwright and author, writing 2 plays and a pamphlet in his youth, and writing about Cork's gaelic and national freedom movements for the Cork Examiner in his later years. Lifelong member of the St. Vincent De Paul Society. Died 15 May 1959 and buried at St.Joseph's Cemetery, Cork. (A biography of De Roiste, by Diarmuid O'Murchadha, was published in 1976)
Archival History ↴
The collection was donated in 1980 by the de Róiste family and John and Richard O'Brien
Immediate Source Acquisition ↴
Content & Structure
Scope & Content: De Roiste, Liam (T.D) ↴
Personal diaries/journals of De Roiste (excluding periods around the years 1908-1914, 1917, and 1931-1939). Each diary is up to 100-200 pages in extent. Entries to the diaries were often made daily by De Roiste and the entries are often extensive. The diaries comment mainly on local and national events and activites rather than on personal matters. Particularly extensive are his observations and comments on the national and local political situation, Sinn Fein, elections, militarism, the Irish Volunteers, the First World War, the War of Independence, the Civil War, the Irish language, cultural activities, and industrial development. The diaries are of considerable interest to the study of Irish nationalism from 1902 onwards, and particularly for the 1918-23 period, and also the early years of the Irish Free State as well as the Emergency/Second World War period. A good source for Cork’s local history including the history of Cork Corporation.
Appraisal Destruction ↴
Conditions of Access & Use
Open by appointment to those holding a current readers ticket
1901-1907, 1914-1930, 1940-1947
Material Language Script
English, some Irish
Liam De Roiste Correspondence and other material.
Descriptive Control Area
ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.