Fitzgerald, Patrick Neville (1851–1907), Fenian, was born 7 March 1851 in Ballinacurra, Co. Cork, son of Edmond Fitzgerald, gardener, and Johanna Fitzgerald (née Neville). He attended Midleton national school until the age of 15 and thereafter worked as a clerk in a local hardware store. His brother Edmond, a Fenian, persuaded him to take part in the rising in Cork (5 March 1867). After the rising failed, Edmond fled to the USA and Patrick took his place in the IRB. From 1871 to 1878 he was employed as a bookkeeper and commercial traveller for Perry's Hardware Co., Patrick St., Cork, and was described by his employer as a first-rate businessman. In March 1878 he was elected to represent Munster on the IRB supreme council, a position he held for many years. On 1 May 1878 he married Ellen O'Callaghan, farmer's daughter, settled at 4 Sandyhill Terrace, Popes Road, and established a public house on 13 Princes St., Cork, which he maintained until his death. During the 1880s he was the chief travelling organiser of the IRB and a commercial traveller for several wine-merchant firms. From 1879 to 1884 he was the principal agent in Ireland of an IRB arms-importation scheme, directed from Paris by John O'Connor (qv). Although he claimed to be sympathetic with the rural poor, Fitzgerald opposed the Land League on the grounds that it appealed only to material self-interest and was too much under the control of the Irish parliamentary party. Although on friendly terms with C. S. Parnell (qv), he stridently opposed the policy of the home rule movement. A footballer and runner in his spare time, in May 1883 he established a sub-committee of the IRB supreme council to examine the possibility of setting up a nationalist amateur athletics organisation. Later he became an active promoter of the GAA. He was not present at its inaugural meeting (October 1884), however, because on 10 April 1884 he was arrested without a warrant near London Bridge as part of a British intelligence operation that led to the seizure of numerous IRB documents, known as the ‘Paris letters’. He was transported to Sligo jail and held in prison for seven months awaiting trial on the dual charge of treason-felony and encouraging agrarian outrage. At his trial (5–10 November 1884) in Green St. courthouse, Dublin, the evidence against him proved inconclusive. After his release large demonstrations were held in his honour in Cork city and testimonials were collected, to which several mayors and members of parliament subscribed.
During 1885 he denied rumours that he was willing to stand for parliament and thereafter worked to aid the republican movement primarily by promoting the GAA and Young Ireland Societies. He was elected to chair the 1887 GAA annual convention in Thurles, Co. Tipperary (9 November). This aroused intense clerical opposition, owing to his well known republican sympathies, and he was forced to take a less active part in the GAA thereafter. During the late 1880s he was frequently subjected to the intrigues of a leading Dublin Castle spy, Patrick Cogan (‘Nero’), which helped to undermine his authority over the Munster IRB and thereby weaken the organisation's discipline and morale. He supported Parnell after the split in the Irish party, playing a prominent role in the crucial Kilkenny by-election (December 1890) and helping to organise a monster Parnellite rally in Irishtown, Co. Mayo (20 April 1891). He was a member (March–August 1891) of the executive of the Parnell Leadership Fund, but ceased to be actively associated with the cause after Parnell's death. During the early to mid 1890s he attended Clan na Gael conventions in the US and was a prime mover in establishing the tradition of annual Bodenstown demonstrations to commemorate Wolfe Tone (qv), speaking at many such events over the next decade. He also played a significant role in establishing the 1798 centenary committee (March 1897) but lost much of his authority in the IRB thereafter because he did not attempt to secure a republican monopoly in the organisation of the centenary celebrations. By 1905 he was suffering from ill health and he died in Saint Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, on 6 October 1907. Apart from many of his old IRB comrades, most leading nationalist politicians from Cork attended his funeral in Templenacarrig cemetery near Midleton, Co. Cork. He was described in obituaries as a man who held very radical views in politics, but was always tolerant of other people's opinions. His name was inscribed on the National Monument in Cork city (erected 17 March 1906) to commemorate his role in the 1867 rising. Following his death, testimonials were collected for his family, which thereafter moved to Dublin. His son Edmond became an engineer and was not interested in politics; his daughter, Mary, a teacher, later joined the Loretto order of nuns. His first child, Patrick, died at an early age.