Soldier, politician, leader, and rebel

Patrick leads a panel discussion on the life and legacy of Frank Aiken

Soldier, politician, leader, and rebel

Minister for External Affairs Frank Aiken signing the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, image courtesy of the National Archives

On the 24th of May 1923 Frank Aiken gave the order for the IRA to cease-fire and dump arms. Though an amazing act, this would not be the culmination of Frank Aiken's career nor the greatest part of his legacy.

Aiken had been a prominent opponent to the Anglo-Irish Treaty, joining the likes of Eamon de Valera and Liam Lynch. He was with the latter when he was ambushed and killed at Knockmealdown by Irish Free State forces.

Lynch had been the IRA Chief of Staff, and Aiken was appointed to this now vacant position. More interested in peace than his predecessor Aiken negotiated an end to the Civil War with the May cease-fire.

Aiken continued his political involvement after the war and helped to found Fianna Fail in 1926. He would serve as a TD with Fianna Fail until his retirement in 1973, due to Charles Haughey's rise into the party's ranks.

During this time Aiken would serve in a number of positions, including Tanaiste and Minister for External Affairs, and remains the longest serving cabinet minister in Irish history as well as the state's second longest serving TD.

Join Patrick Geoghegan as he delves into the life and legacy of Frank Akin with a panel of experts.