Fogarty, Michael (1859–1955), catholic bishop of Killaloe, was born 11 October 1859 in Kilcolman near Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. He had one brother, Daniel, who also became a priest. Fogarty was educated at St Flannan's College in Ennis and later Maynooth College, where he was ordained a priest (1885). He then served on the staff of St Patrick's College, Carlow (1886–90), as professor of philosophy and canon law before returning to Maynooth, where he served as professor of moral theology (1890–1904), becoming vice-president in 1903. Appointed bishop of Killaloe in July 1904, he was consecrated (September 1904) in Ennis, and involved himself closely in the social and political challenges facing Ireland. He frequently spoke out against landlordism, supported tenant ownership and agricultural self-sufficiency, and intervened in labour disputes such as the Clare railway strike (1910). A noted orator, he was chosen to give the panegyric at the burial of Bishop Edward Thomas O'Dwyer (qv) of Limerick in May 1917. Although he was said to have disapproved of the 1916 rising, he signed the 1917 manifesto against the partition of Ireland, and in The Irish bishop speaks: the death of Thomas Ashe (1917) spoke of the ‘hideous atrocities’ that the triumph of British culture perpetrated on Irish nationalists. The following year he shared a platform with Éamon de Valera (qv) during the Clare by-election campaign, and in April 1918 decried the threat of conscription in Ireland, insisting the Irish were ‘not slaves’. As well as acting as a trustee for the first dáil loan (December 1920) during the war of independence, he was in Dublin for talks on peace proposals with Archbishop Patrick Clune (qv) during what was regarded as an assassination attempt by Black and Tans when they attacked his Ennis residence. His Lenten pastoral of 1921 stuck rigidly to the republican position, insisting that Irish nationalists had only to remain steadfast to win a united Ireland, and that ‘anyone who knows the psychology of the Irish people is well aware that brute force will never appease them nor intimidate them into surrender of their national rights’. In view of his republican sentiments and activities, he surprised many by supporting the Anglo–Irish treaty. His Lenten pastoral of 1922 insisted that, with regard to partition, ‘time will cure that difficulty too’. Writing to the rector of the Irish College in Rome, Patrick Hagan, he criticised anti-treaty propaganda, suggesting that voters should ‘pay no attention to all the talk about surrendering their birthright. They know their own minds’. Although his interest in politics receded after independence, he seems to have found it difficult to forgive de Valera for his actions during the civil war, and after Fianna Fáil's election in 1932 he criticised the economic war with Britain as ‘tariff madness’. In 1951 he unveiled a memorial in Dublin to Arthur Griffith (qv), Michael Collins (qv), and Kevin O'Higgins (qv) and paid generous tribute to their role in the foundation of the state. A passionate horseman, cattle breeder, and agriculturist, he won prizes at agricultural shows throughout the country for his horticultural produce. He had the longest episcopate in the history of the hierarchy in modern times and it was only towards the end of his life that he availed of the assistance of a coadjutor bishop. In May 1954 he was conferred with the honour of assistant to the pontifical throne by Pope Pius XII, and given the personal title archbishop. He died 25 October 1955 at his residence at Westbourne, Ennis, Co. Clare.
Ir. Times, Ir. Press, 26 Oct. 1955; Bernard Canning, Bishops of Ireland 1870–1987 (1987); Dermot Keogh, The Vatican, the bishops and Irish politics 1919–39 (1991)