Augustine Birrell (1850-1933)

Augustine Birrell (1850-1933)

Augustine Birrell (1850-1933)
A distinguished essayist and British cabinet minister, he had been transferred to Ireland in 1907 and was Chief Secretary at the time of the Rising. Birrell, from Liverpool, contributed indirectly to the Rising by failing (together with Asquith) to confront the Ulster unionists and by failing to take action against the republicans planning the Rising. Responsible for formulating and administering government policy in Ireland, Birrell was regarded by many as one of the most committed and productive ministers to hold the office of Chief Secretary, his ultimate objective being Home Rule. However, his failure to recognise the nationalist potency of the Rising, along with mis-management of the executions that followed saw the official commission placed the blame for the Rising primarily on him, as the minister with direct responsibility. Birrell resigned as Chief Secretary for Ireland after the Rising and did not contest his seat in the 1918 general election.