Tomás Mac Curtáin (1884 - 1920)
Tomás Mac Curtáin began using the Gaelic form of his name in around 1901 when he joined the Cork branch of the Gaelic League, to which he became secretary in 1902. He had diverse interests in music, poetry, history, archaeology and Irish history. He worked in his early career as a clerk and in his free time taught Gaelic to those who wished to learn.
In 1911 he joined the Fianna Éireann. His devotion to the Irish language and independence attracted the attentions of the British authorities and he served prison terms in 1916 and 1917.
He was elected in the January 1920 council elections as the Sinn Féin councillor for NW Ward No. 3 of Cork, and was chosen by his fellow councillors to be the Lord Mayor. He began a process of political reform within the city, making changes to the way in which the council operated and was run.
In March, Mac Curtáin was shot dead by a group of men with blackened faces, who were found to be members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) by the official inquest into the event. In the wake of the killing, Mac Curtáin's house in Thomas Davis Street in the city's Blackpool area was ransacked. The murder caused widespread public outrage. The coroner's inquest passed a verdict of wilful murder against the then British Prime Minister Lloyd George and against certain members of the RIC. The IRA later killed the man who ordered the attack, District Inspector Swanzy, in Lisburn, Co Antrim.
Tomás Mac Curtáin is buried in the Republican Plot in St Finbarr's cemetery, Cork City.