George Nicholls (1884-1942)

He was a close associate of Arthur Griffith

Patria McWalter, Galway County Council Archives

George Nicholls, Galway County Council Chairman, 1920-1921
Galway County Council

George Nicholls or Seoirse MacNiocaill as he was also known (1884-1942), was a Solicitor, originally from Dublin.  He was a close associate of Arthur Griffith and a member of Sinn Féin from its inception. He moved to Galway in about 1910.   Nicholls was Head Centre of the Galway Branch of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and an Irish Volunteer. He was one of the first men arrested in Galway following the outbreak of the disturbances during Easter Week, and was interned in Frongoch until 1917.

Easter 1916

Nicholls was also County Coroner and should, had he not been arrested, have pre-sided over the Inquest into the death of RIC Constable Patrick Whelan. Whelan was shot and killed following an exchange of gunfire between a party of RIC Crown Forces and Irish Volunteers at Carnmore Cross on 26th April 1916. Whelan was the only casualty of the Easter Rising in Galway.

Chairman of Galway County Council

Nicholls was subsequently elected to Galway County Council, and was Chairman between 1920 and 1925. When Galway County Council met to discuss the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921 he voted in favour of its ratification[1]. He was also elected to the 2nd Dáil (1921-22) unopposed for Sinn Féin, elected to the 3rd Dáil (1922-1923) also for Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty), and to the 4th Dáil (1923-1927) for Cumann na nGaedhael.   He served as Assistant Minister for Home Affairs [17 January 1922 to 9 September 1922] though his appointment was never ratified by the Dáil, and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence [15 January 1925 to 23 May 1927][2]. He was later County Registrar (1928-1931)[3].

Nicholls is buried, with his wife, Mairéad, who died in 1932, in the New Cemetery Bohermore, Galway, not far from Whelan’s grave.

For information on the Archives holdings see www.galway.ie/archives.

[1] Galway County Council Minutes, 30 December 1921 (GCCA GC/1/3).

[2] Dáil Éireann Members’ Directory. .http://www.oireachtas.ie/members-hist/default.asp?housetype=0&HouseNum=2&MemberID=815&ConstID=102 Accessed 2015.

[3] Connacht Tribune, 3 Mar 1928, p7.

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