When Darrell Figgis was released from prison in December 1916 his freedom was short lived. Two months into 1917 he along with other Sinn Fein activists were ordered under Defence of the Realm Act to leave Ireland and reside at Fairford, Gloucestershire.
It was more of an exile rather than imprisonment. Figgis and his fellow Sinn Fein ‘detainees’ were allowed a certain amount of freedom and were at liberty to travel within the UK, even free to attend concerts in London. The only condition was they were not under any circumstance to return to Ireland.
That is exactly what they did. In the event of the north Longford Election of 1917 it was decided that some of them should return to Ireland for it. Darrell Figgis was one of three that did, managing to slip in and out of the country undetected.
In July of that year the order was rescinded and Figgis was free to return to Ireland. His political career was resumed and a month later in August 1917 he was addressing a Sinn Fein meeting in Castlebar, which Emily and Anita McMahon attended. By October Figgis was elected as joint secretary of Sinn Fein along with Austin Stack.