Roche, David (c.1573–1635), 2nd Viscount Fermoy , politician, was the eldest surviving son and heir of Maurice Roche and his first wife, Eleanor, sister of the famous adventurer James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald (qv), nephew of James (qv), 14th earl of Desmond. David's two elder brothers were killed during the Desmond rebellion in the 1580s; his father had initially joined with the rebellion of Hugh O'Neill (qv), earl of Tyrone, before receiving a royal pardon in 1599. David also flirted with the rebel cause, but eventually served with the president of Munster against O'Neill. He succeeded to the title in September 1600 and was seen by the administration in Dublin as a valuable ally in the southern province, particularly after the arrival of Spanish troops in Kinsale. In April 1603 Fermoy proclaimed James I as king in Cork, after the mayor had refused to do so. Shortly afterwards he travelled to England, where a grateful king supported his efforts at obtaining financial compensation for losses suffered during the course of the war.
In June 1608, after a number of years at court, the king ordered Fermoy back to Ireland, at the head of 150 foot soldiers, to serve against the rebels led by Sir Cahir O'Doherty (qv). Apart from his military duties, he became actively involved in the political and religious affairs of Munster. He provided protection and support for catholic clergy in the province, actions that increasingly brought him into conflict with the Dublin administration. In 1613 he entered parliament (the first held since 1585) and coordinated, along with Jenico Preston (qv), 5th Viscount Gormanston, opposition to the electoral abuses perpetrated by the government. The catholic members staged a dramatic walk-out in May and subsequently sent a delegation, including Fermoy, to plead their case in England. Over the next twelve months he helped negotiate a compromise deal with the king, receiving a royal grant of lands as reward for his services. During the second session of parliament he became embroiled in a bitter dispute over precedence with Richard Butler (qv), 3rd Viscount Mountgarret, which dramatically resurfaced between his son Maurice and Mountgarret during the confederate period over thirty years later. In 1621 Fermoy clashed with the royal favourite, George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, organising opposition among local landholders in Tipperary to the duke's efforts at obtaining an estate in the county. During his final years Fermoy adopted a lower public profile, although he attended the early sessions of the parliament summoned by the lord deputy, Thomas Wentworth (qv), in 1634. He died in March 1635 at the family home in Castletown Roche. Fermoy had married Joan, daughter of James Fitzrichard, Viscount Buttevant, and was succeeded to the title by Maurice Roche (qv), his eldest son and heir.