Desmond, Daniel (1913–64), public representative, was born 3 October 1913 in Crosshaven, Co. Cork, the second child of two sons and four daughters of Michael Desmond, carpenter, and his wife, Hanora White, both from Co. Cork. He was educated at the local national school and the Municipal College of Commerce, Cork. While still at school he joined the local branch of the Labour party and became its secretary at the age of 16. A builder's clerk, he became secretary of the Federation of Rural Workers in 1947 and was organiser at county level. Two years later was elected to Cork county council as a Labour candidate. He fought the 1948, 1954, 1957 and 1961 general elections for the Labour party and topped the poll in three of these. He originally represented the Cork south constituency but in 1961 the constituency was enlarged to the new four-seat constituency of mid-Cork. He headed the 1961 poll with over 10,000 first preference votes, 2,680 votes above the quota.
A tremendously hard worker, Desmond was one of the most prominent figures in the Labour party and presented its views on many occasions in parliamentary debates. His speeches were noted for their fearless sincerity in expressing Labour philosophy and policies. He was the Labour party's chief spokesman on local government, and also had strong views on social issues in parliament, in particular housing, health and education. He was principally responsible for the passing of the local government superannuation act (1956), providing a pension scheme for road workers. His abiding interest was the welfare of rural workers and the rural community generally. He was parliamentary leader of his party during the second inter-party government (1954–7) and he later became deputy leader.
A member of Cork County Council from 1945 until his death, he served on many committees such as the vocational educational committee, Cork housing and sanitary services, Cork health authority (health board) and the assistance board. Always interested in local government, he made some outstanding speeches on housing and health problems. Despite ill health, he participated strongly and at great length in important dáil debates, and continued his constituency duties. He married Eileen Harrington, a civil servant, in 1956, and they had two daughters, Honor and Paula.
Desmond died from a cardiac infarction caused by TB, 9 December 1964, at St Stephen's Hospital, Cork. Eileen Desmond (qv) (d. 2005) succeeded him as Labour deputy for mid-Cork and was minister for health and social welfare 1981–2. His daughter Paula, then chairperson of Cork County Council, and Labour party minister for the environment Brendan Howlin, opened a newly constructed bridge at Belgooley, Co. Cork, named after him in 1996. Two housing estates in Carrigaline and Passage West were also named in his honour.