John A. Costello

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John Aloysius Costello (Irish: Seán Alabhaois Mac Coisdealbha; 20 June 1891 – 5 January 1976), a successful barrister, was one of the main legal advisors to the government of the Irish Free State after independence, Attorney General of Ireland from 1926–1932 and Taoiseach from 1948–1951 and 1954–1957.[1]


Early life

John A. Costello was born on 20 June 1891, in Dublin. Educated at St Josephs Christian Brothers School in Fairview, North Dublin, where future taoiseach Charles Haughey later attended, and at University College Dublin, he graduated with a degree in modern languages and law. He studied at King's Inns to become a barrister, winning the Victoria Prize there in 1913 and 1914.

Costello was called to the bar in 1914 and practised as a barrister until 1922

Irish Free State

In 1922 Costello joined the staff of the Attorney General in the newly established Irish Free State. Three years later he was called to the inner bar and the following year, 1926, he became Attorney-General to the Cumann na nGaedhael government, led by W. T. Cosgrave. While serving in this position he represented Ireland at Imperial Conferences and League of Nations meetings.

He was also elected a Bencher of the Honourable Society of King's Inns. Costello lost his position as Attorney-General when Fianna Fáil came to power in 1932. The following year, however, he was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Cumann na nGaedhael (later Fine Gael) TD.[2]

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