Kenney, James Christopher Fitzgerald- (1878–1956), politician and lawyer, was born 30 April 1878, in Ballyglass, Co. Mayo, second surviving son of James Christopher Fitzgerald-Kenney of Kilcloger, Co. Galway, and his wife Helena, daughter of Maj. Patrick Crean-Lynch of Clogher House, Co. Mayo. Educated at Clongowes Wood College (1894–6) and University College Dublin (UCD), graduating (1898) with a Bachelor of Arts in history, political economy, and jurisprudence, he was called to the bar in 1899, following the Connaught circuit, and later taking silk (1926). While a student at UCD, he was an active member of the literary and historical society, and was defeated for auditorship of the society by Francis Sheehy Skeffington (qv) in 1897.
A supporter of the home rule movement, he joined the Irish Volunteers in Mayo in 1914, and became inspecting officer for south Mayo. After the Volunteer split he joined the Redmondite National Volunteers. Elected a Cumann na nGaedheal TD for Mayo South in the June 1927 general election, he was appointed parliamentary secretary to the acting minister for justice, W. T. Cosgrave (qv), taking over on 11 October as minister, a post he held till 1932. The least experienced member of the cabinet, he became the principal government target of the opposition, and was not a very effective parliamentary performer. When Cumann na nGaedheal merged with the Centre Party and the National Guard to form Fine Gael in September 1933, he lost his seat on the front bench. He was an active member of the Blueshirts and was leader of its youth section. Defeated in the 1944 general election, he was nominated by the bar council for election to Seanad Éireann, but declined the offer and retired from politics to pursue his successful legal practice.
A lifelong supporter of the Irish language, he was a pioneer of the Gaelic League in Mayo, establishing and serving as chairman of his local branch. His other interests included shooting and golf. In addition to his political and legal careers, he farmed the extensive estate at Clogher House, Mayo, which he inherited in 1903 on the death of his mother. His principal residence was at Clogher House, but in Dublin he lived at 4 Waterloo Road and was a member of the St Stephen's Green Club. He died 21 October 1956 in a Dublin nursing home, leaving an estate valued at £3,713; he never married. His papers are in the James Hardiman library, National University of Ireland, Galway.