Seán Mac Eoin

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Seán Mac Eoin (1917)

Seán Mac Eoin (born September 30, 1893 in Ballinalee , County Longford , † July 7, 1973 in Dublin ) was an Irish lieutenant general in the Irish Armed Forces , politician of the Sinn Féin , Cumann na nGaedheal and the Fine Gael , minister and presidential candidate of the Fine Gael .


Member of parliament and promotion to lieutenant general

Mac Eoin, a blacksmith by trade , served in the Irish Republican Army (IRA) fighting the British Army from January 1919 to July 1921 during the Irish War of Independence . After capturing Mullingar Station , he was sentenced to death in March 1921 for the murder of an inspector from the Royal Irish Constabulary . Shortly before the execution of the death penalty, however, he was freed from Mountjoy Prison by an escape organized by Michael Collins and led by Paddy Daly .

Subsequently, he was elected in the general election of May 1921 as a candidate of the Sinn Féin for a member of the Dáil Éireann and represented the interests of the constituency of Longford-Westmeath until 1923 . Most recently he was one of the supporters of this treaty ( Pro-Treaty ) alongside Arthur Griffith within Sinn Féin, which was split due to the Anglo-Irish Treaty . In addition, he joined the armed forces of the Irish Free State and was initially commander of the Midland Division during the Irish Civil War from June 1922 to April 1923. In 1923 he refused to run again for the House of Commons and remained an officer in the armed forces. Most recently he rose to lieutenant general and became chief of the general staff in February 1929.

After he was re-elected to the House of Commons in a by -election on June 7, 1929 as a candidate for the Cumann na nGaedheal, he retired from active military service. First he represented the interests of Cumann na nGaedheal until 1932 in the Leitrim-Sligo constituency and then until 1937 in the Longford-Westmeath constituency .

After the merger of Cumann na nGaedheal with Fine Gael, he was then from 1937 to 1948 member of the Dáil Éireann for the constituency of Athlone-Longford and then until 1965 of the constituency of Longford-Westmeath as a representative of Fine Gael.

Presidential candidate and Minister of Fine Gael

Mac Eoin gravestone in Ballinalee Cemetery

In the presidential elections in 1945, Séan Mac Eoin ran for the Fine Gael for the first time for the office of President of Ireland against the incumbent Deputy Prime Minister ( Tánaiste ) Seán Ó Ceallaigh and the independent candidate Patrick MacCartan . As expected, Ó Ceallaigh was clearly ahead in the election with 49.52% in the first ballot, while Mac Eoin got 30.89% and MacCartan 19.59%. In the second ballot, Mac Eoin was clearly defeated with 44.5% to 55.5% of the vote.

After Fine Gael won the general election in 1948, he was appointed Minister of Justice on February 2, 1948 by Prime Minister ( Taoiseach ) John A. Costello . As part of a cabinet reshuffle, he was then Minister of Defense on March 7, 1951 and held this post until the end of Costello's tenure on June 13, 1951 after the electoral defeat in the elections to the Dáil.

On June 2, 1954, Prime Minister Costello reappointed him as Minister of Defense after the Fine Gael won the general election again. He again retained the post of Defense Minister until the end of Costello's tenure on March 20, 1957.

In the 1959 presidential election, Mac Eoin ran for the Fine Gael again for president. This time, however, he was defeated by the longtime Prime Minister and founder of Fianna Fáil , Éamon de Valera , already in the first ballot with 56.30% to 43.70% of the vote.

After he suffered a defeat in the general election in 1965, he left the Dáil Éireann and then retired from politics.

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