(1892–1927), strong man of the first Cumann na nGaedheal governments. O'Higgins was elected to the first Dáil for Co. Laois in 1918 and became assistant to the minister for local government, W. T. Cosgrave. After the establishment of the Free State he became one of the leading forces in the new administration, combining the position of vice-president of the executive council first with the Ministry for Home Affairs and later with the Ministry for Justice and External Affairs. He was a ruthless and dedicated politician, a committed democrat who attempted to foster a civic culture in Ireland. As a free trade proponent he rejected the interventionist ethos of the democratic programme, which he described as poetry and communist doctrine. His boast that the government consisted of the most conservative revolutionaries who had ever been successful has often been used to characterize the Cumann na nGaedheal administrations.
From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: European History.