World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Éamon de Valera

Article Id: WHEBN0000042178
Reproduction Date:

Title: Éamon de Valera  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Seán Lemass, Frank Aiken, Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, W. T. Cosgrave
Collection: 1882 Births, 1975 Deaths, Alumni of the Royal University of Ireland, American Emigrants to Ireland, Burials at Glasnevin Cemetery, Conservatism in the Republic of Ireland, De Valera Family, Éamon De Valera, Fellows of the Royal Society (Statute 12), Fianna Fáil Tds, Heads of Irish Provisional Governments, Irish Mathematicians, Irish Prisoners of War, Knights of Christ (Papacy), Leaders of Fianna Fáil, Leaders of Sinn Féin, Members of the 10Th Dáil, Members of the 11Th Dáil, Members of the 12Th Dáil, Members of the 13Th Dáil, Members of the 14Th Dáil, Members of the 15Th Dáil, Members of the 16Th Dáil, Members of the 1St Dáil, Members of the 2Nd Dáil, Members of the 3Rd Dáil, Members of the 4Th Dáil, Members of the 5Th Dáil, Members of the 6Th Dáil, Members of the 7Th Dáil, Members of the 8Th Dáil, Members of the 9Th Dáil, Members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, Members of the Parliament of Northern Ireland 1921–25, Members of the Parliament of Northern Ireland 1925–29, Members of the Parliament of Northern Ireland 1933–38, Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for Irish Constituencies (1801–1922), Ministers for Education (Ireland), Ministers for Foreign Affairs (Ireland), People of the Easter Rising, People of the Irish Civil War, People of the Irish Civil War (Anti-Treaty Side), People of the Irish War of Independence, Presidents of Ireland, Presidents of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State, Prisoners Sentenced to Death by the United Kingdom, Sinn Féin Mps (Pre-1921), Taoisigh, Teachtaí Dála, The Irish Press People, Uk Mps 1910–18, Uk Mps 1918–22, World War II Political Leaders
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Éamon de Valera

Éamon de Valera
3rd President of Ireland
In office
25 June 1959 – 24 June 1973
Preceded by Seán T. O'Kelly
Succeeded by Erskine H. Childers
In office
29 December 1937 – 18 February 1948
Preceded by Himself as President of the Executive Council
Succeeded by John A. Costello
In office
13 June 1951 – 2 June 1954
Preceded by John A. Costello
Succeeded by John A. Costello
In office
20 March 1957 – 23 June 1959
Preceded by John A. Costello
Succeeded by Seán Lemass
President of the Executive Council
In office
9 March 1932 – 29 December 1937
Preceded by W. T. Cosgrave
Succeeded by Himself as Taoiseach
President of the Irish Republic
In office
26 August 1921 – 9 January 1922
Preceded by Himself as President of Dáil Éireann
Succeeded by Arthur Griffith
President of Dáil Éireann
In office
1 April 1919 – 26 August 1921
Preceded by Cathal Brugha
Succeeded by Himself as President of the Republic
Teachta Dála
In office
August 1922 – June 1959
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Seán Ó Ceallaigh
Constituency Clare
In office
December 1918 – July 1922
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Constituency Clare East
Member of Parliament for East Clare
In office
10 July 1917 – 15 November 1922
Preceded by Willie Redmond
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1882-10-14)14 October 1882
New York City, United States
Died 29 August 1975(1975-08-29) (aged 92)
Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Fianna Fáil (1926–59)
Other political
Cumann na Poblachta (1922–23)
Sinn Féin (1916–22, 1923–26)
Spouse(s) Sinéad de Valera (m. 1910–75)
Children Vivion
Alma mater Royal University of Ireland
Profession Teacher
Religion Roman Catholicism

Éamon de Valera[1][2] (; 14 October 1882 – 29 August 1975) was one of the dominant political figures in twentieth-century Ireland. His political career spanned over half a century, from 1917 to 1973; he served multiple terms as head of government and head of state. He also led the introduction of the Constitution of Ireland.[3][4]

De Valera was a leader of Ireland's struggle for independence from the United Kingdom in the War of Independence and of the anti-Treaty opposition in the ensuing Irish Civil War (1922–1923). After leaving Sinn Féin in 1926 due to their policy of abstentionism, he founded Fianna Fáil, and was head of government (President of the Executive Council, later Taoiseach) from 1932 to 1948, 1951 to 1954, and 1957 to 1959, when he resigned after being elected as President of Ireland. His political creed evolved from militant republicanism to social and cultural conservatism.[5]

Assessments of de Valera's career have varied; he has often been characterised as a stern, unbending, devious, and divisive Irish politician. Biographer Tim Pat Coogan sees his time in power as being characterised by economic and cultural stagnation, while Diarmaid Ferriter argues that the stereotype of de Valera as an austere, cold and even backward figure was largely manufactured in the 1960s and is misguided.[6]


  • Early life 1
  • Early political activity 2
  • Easter Rising 3
  • President of Dáil Éireann 4
  • President of the Republic 5
  • Anglo-Irish Treaty 6
  • Civil War 7
  • Founding of Fianna Fáil and entry into Free State Dáil 8
  • President of the Executive Council 9
  • De Valera's new constitution 10
  • Catholic social policy 11
  • Taoiseach 1937–48 12
    • Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement 12.1
    • The Emergency (World War II) 12.2
  • Post–War Period: Taoiseach/Opposition Leader 13
    • Opposition Leader, 1948–51 13.1
    • Taoiseach, 1951–54 and 1957–59 13.2
  • President of Ireland 14
  • Death 15
  • Overview 16
  • In popular culture 17
  • Governments 18
  • See also 19
  • References 20
  • Further reading 21
  • External links 22

Early life

De Valera was born in New York City in 1882 to an

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Willie Redmond
(Irish Parliamentary Party)
Sinn Féin MP for Clare East
Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
Parliament of Northern Ireland
New constituency Sinn Féin/Independent Republican MP for Down
Succeeded by
Constituency divided
Preceded by
John Henry Collins
(Nationalist Party)
Fianna Fáil MP for South Down
Succeeded by
James Brown
(Ulster Unionist Party)
New constituency Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Clare East
Constituency abolished
New constituency Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Clare
Succeeded by
De Valera left Sinn Féin and founded Fianna Fáil
Preceded by
De Valera was previously a member of Sinn Féin
Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Clare
Succeeded by
Seán Ó Ceallaigh
(Fianna Fáil)
Political offices
Preceded by
Cathal Brugha
President of Dáil Éireann
Succeeded by
as President of the Republic
Preceded by
as President of Dáil Éireann
President of the Irish Republic
Succeeded by
Arthur Griffith
Preceded by
Thomas Johnson
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
W. T. Cosgrave
Preceded by
President of the League of Nations Council
Succeeded by
Preceded by
W. T. Cosgrave
President of the Executive Council
Succeeded by
as Taoiseach
New office Taoiseach
Succeeded by
John A. Costello
Preceded by
Patrick McGilligan
Minister for External Affairs
Succeeded by
Seán MacBride
Preceded by
Aga Khan III
President of the League of Nations Assembly
Succeeded by
Carl Joachim Hambro
Preceded by
Richard Mulcahy
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
John A. Costello
Preceded by
John A. Costello
Succeeded by
John A. Costello
Preceded by
John A. Costello
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
John A. Costello
Preceded by
John A. Costello
Succeeded by
Seán Lemass
Preceded by
Seán T. O'Kelly
President of Ireland
Succeeded by
Erskine H. Childers
Party political offices
Preceded by
Arthur Griffith
Leader of Sinn Féin
Succeeded by
John J. O'Kelly
New political party Leader of Fianna Fáil
Succeeded by
Seán Lemass
Academic offices
Preceded by
William J. Walsh
Chancellor of the National University of Ireland
Succeeded by
T. K. Whitaker
  • 1911 Census return of Edward (sic) de Valera and household from the National Archives of Ireland
  • Murray, Patrick (2001). "Obsessive historian: Éamon de Valera and the policing of his reputation". Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy ( 
  • Eamon de Valera's "India and Ireland" in the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)
  • Biography at Áras an Uachtaráin website

External links

  • Bew, Paul. Ireland: the politics of enmity, 1789–2006 (Oxford, 2007)
  • Bowman, John. 'De Valera and the Ulster Question 1917–73 (Oxford, 1982)
  • Carroll, J. T. Ireland in the War Years 1939–1945 (1975).
  • Chapple, Phil. "'Dev': The Career of Eamon De Valera Phil Chapple Examines a Titanic and Controversial Figure in Modern Irish History", History Review Issue: 53. 2005. pp 28+ in Questia
  • Coogan, Tim Pat. De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow (London, 1993), published as Eamon de Valera: The Man Who Was Ireland (New York, 1993)
  • Dunphy, Richard. The Making of Fianna Fáil Power in Ireland, 1923–1948 (1995) 346 pp. online edition
  • Dwyer, T. Ryle. Big Fellow, Long Fellow: A Joint Biography of Collins and De Valera (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Dwyer, T. Ryle. De Valera's Finest Hour 1932–59 (1982)
  • The Earl of Longford and Thomas P. O'Neill, Eamon de Valera. Gill and MacMillan, Dublin 1970. ISBN 717104850
  • Ferriter, Diarmaid. Judging Dev: A Reassessment of the Life and Legacy of Eamon De Valera. (Dublin 2007) ISBN 1-904890-28-8
  • Jordan, Anthony J. Eamon de Valera 1882–1975. Irish: Catholic; Visionary. (2010) ISBN 978-0-9524447-9-4.
  • Kissane, Bill. "Eamon De Valera and the Survival of Democracy in Inter-War Ireland", Journal of Contemporary History 2007 42(2): 213–226
  • Lee, Joseph, and Gearoid O'Tuathaigh. The Age of de Valera (1982)
  • Lee J. J. Ireland, 1912–1985: Politics and Society (Cambridge 1989).
  • McCartan, Patrick, With de Valera in America (New York 1932)
  • McGarry, Fearghal (ed.), Republicanism in Modern Ireland (Dublin 2003)
  • Murphy, J. A., ed. De Valera and His Times (1983).
  • O'Carroll, J. P. and John A. Murphy, eds. De Valera and His Times (1993) excerpt and text search

Further reading

  1. ^ His name is frequently misspelled Eamonn De Valera but he never used the second "n" in his first name (the standard Irish spelling) and always a small "d" in "de Valera", which is proper in Spanish names (de meaning "of").
  2. ^ "Éamon(n)" translates into English as Edmond or Edmund. The correct Irish translation of "Edward" (his name as given in his amended birth certificate) is Éadhbhard.
  3. ^ "Mr. Éamon de Valera". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 1 June 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Synge, J. L. (1976). "Eamon de Valera 14 October 1882 -- 29 August 1975".  
  5. ^ a b Ferriter, Judging Dev: A Reassessment of the Life and Legacy of Eamon De Valera. (2007)
  6. ^ Ferriter, Judging Dev: a reassessment of the life and legacy of Eamon de Valera (2007)
  7. ^ Eamon de Valera's father" 2006""". Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  8. ^ Notable New Yorkers – Eamon de Valéra "Eamon de Valera was born in New York City on 14 October 1882. About one month later, Dr. Charles Murray reported the birth to the City's Health Department. The Doctor recorded de Valera's first name as George. In 1910, de Valera's mother Catherine applied to the Health Department to amend her son's birth certificate. She filled-out a new birth certificate indicating her son's name first name was "Edward". Her application was approved and a new certificate was pasted over the original certificate. Both are on file in the New York City Municipal Archives."
  9. ^ Jordan, Anthony J. Eamon de Valera 1882–1975. Irish; Catholic; Visionary. Westport Books, 2010, p. 23.
  10. ^ James H. Driscoll (1907). "The Defect of Birth". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2 November 2008. 
  11. ^ Proinsias Mac Aonghusa Quotations from Éamon de Valera page 89 (1983) ISBN 0-85342-684-8.
  12. ^ Jordan, Anthony J. Eamon de Valera 1882–1975, pp. 19–20.
  13. ^ Jordan, Anthony J. Eamon de Valera 1882–1975, p. 279.
  14. ^ "Éamon de Valera (1882–1975)". BBC News. Retrieved 6 December 2008. 
  15. ^ Farragher CSSp, Sean P. (1984). Dev and his Alma Mater. Dublin & London: Paraclete Press. p. 73.  
  16. ^ Farragher (1984), pp 87-90
  17. ^ "Éamon de Valera". UCC – Multitext Project in Irish History. Retrieved 6 December 2008. 
  18. ^ Dwane, David T. (1922). Early Life of Eamonn De Valera. Dublin: The Talbott Press Limited. p. 43. 
  19. ^ Jordan, Anthony J. Eamon de Valera 1882–1975, p.32.
  20. ^ a b c d Gunther, John (1936). Inside Europe. Harper & Brothers. pp. 267–272. 
  21. ^ McElrath, Karen (2000). Unsafe haven: the United States, the IRA, and political prisoners. Pluto Press. p. 11.  
  22. ^ Ward, Alan J. (1969). Ireland and Anglo-American relations, 1899-1921. 1969, Part 1. London School of Economics and Political Science, Weidenfeld & Nicolson,. p. 24. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  23. ^ Barton, ibid., p. 93
  24. ^ Barton, ibid., p. 92
  25. ^ Barton, ibid., pp. 91–94
  26. ^ Tim Pat Coogan, De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow (Hutchinson, London, 1993). pp. 69–72. ISBN 0-09-175030-X
  27. ^ Jordan, Anthony J. Eamon de Valera 1882–1975, p. 37.
  28. ^ "Éamon de Valera". Retrieved 1 June 2009. 
  29. ^ Jordan, Anthony J. Eamon de Valera 1882–1975, pp. 63–70.
  30. ^ "Pedro Albizu Campos: El Ultimo Libertador de America". Alianza Bolivariana Para Los Pueblos de Nuestra America. 19 January 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  31. ^ "Dáil Éireann – Volume 2 – Vote of thanks to the people of America". Houses of the Oireachtas. 17 August 1921. Retrieved 6 December 2008. 
  32. ^ "Dáil Éireann – Volume 1 – Ministerial Motions. – Presidential election campaign in USA". Houses of the Oireachtas. 29 June 1920. Retrieved 6 December 2008. 
  33. ^ "Dáil Éireann – Volume 1 – Debates on Reports. – Finance". Houses of the Oireachtas. 10 May 1921. Retrieved 6 December 2008. 
  34. ^ Coogan, Tim Pat de Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow pp. 120–122 ISBN 0-09-995860-0 ISBN 978-0-09-995860-4
  35. ^ D. G. Boyce, Englishmen and Irish Troubles: British Public Opinion and the Making of Irish Policy, 1918–1922 (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1972), pp. 92–93
  36. ^ Coogan, Tim Pat De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow p. 234
  37. ^ Jordan, Anthony J. Eamon de Valera 1882–1975, p. 91.
  38. ^ P. S. O'Hegarty, A History of Ireland Under the Union: 1801 to 1922 (New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1969), 751.
  39. ^ "De Valera's Treaty proposals". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 6 December 2008. 
  40. ^ J.J. O'Kelly (Sceilg) A Trinity of Martyrs, Irish Book Bureau, Dublin; pp. 66–68. "Sceilg" was a supporter of de Valera in 1922.
  41. ^ Coogan, Tim Pat de Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow p. 299 ISBN 0-09-995860-0 ISBN 978-0-09-995860-4
  42. ^ Coogan, Tim Pat de Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow p. 338 ISBN 0-09-995860-0 ISBN 978-0-09-995860-4
  43. ^ Jordan, Anthony J. Eamon de Valera 1882–1975, p. 131.
  44. ^ Jordan, Anthony J. W. T. Cosgrave: Founder Of Modern Ireland. Westport Books, 2006, p. 89.
  45. ^  
  46. ^ Dáil Éireann - Volume 3–19 December 1921 debate on treaty
  47. ^ "BBC's Short History of Ireland". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  48. ^ "FF officially recognised in Northern Ireland".  
  49. ^ O'Halpin, Eunan (2000). Defending Ireland: the Irish state and its enemies since 1922. Oxford University Press. p. 80.  
  50. ^ iPad iPhone Android TIME TV Populist The Page (1932-07-25). 'Time'' (Magazine) – IRISH FREE STATE: Economic Civil War. Monday, 25 Jul. 1932"'". Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  51. ^ Eamon de Valera, the eternal revolutionary, Fabien Aufrechter, Le Journal International, 22 October 2013
  52. ^ The Earl of Longford and Thomas P. O'Neill (1970), pp. 335–339
  53. ^ The Earl of Longford and Thomas P. O'Neill (1970), p.301
  54. ^ "Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Michael McDunphy (Dublin) enclosing a memorandum on the draft Irish constitution (Secret)". 
  55. ^ "History of Ireland > The Irish Free State (1922–1937)". Collins 22 Society. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  56. ^ Cottrell, Peter (2008). The Irish Civil War 1922–23. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. p. 85.  
  57. ^ Lloyd, Lorna (2007). Diplomacy With a Difference: The Commonwealth Office of High Commissioner, 1880–2006. Lieden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 72.  
  58. ^ Constitution of Ireland 1937, 12.1
  59. ^ Paul Bew, Ireland: the politics of enmity, 1789–2006 (2007), p. 455.
  60. ^ a b Bill Kissane, "Eamon De Valera and the Survival of Democracy in Inter-war Ireland", Journal of Contemporary History 2007 42(2): 213–226
  61. ^ Louise Ryan, "Constructing 'Irishwoman': Modern Girls and Comely Maidens", Irish Studies Review 1998 6(3): 263–272
  62. ^ BAILII: McGee v. A.G. & Anor [1973] IESC 2; [1974] IR 284 McGee v the Attorney General
  63. ^ "IRELAND: Too Much Trouble". TIME (Time Inc.). 9 June 1941. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  64. ^ "Emergency Powers (Continuance and Amendment) Act, 1945".  
  65. ^ "National Emergency: Motion (Resumed)".  
  66. ^ Chakravart, S. R.; Madan Chandra Paul (2000). Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: relevance to contemporary world. Har-Anand Publications. p. 179.  
  67. ^ Griven, Brian (2006). The Emergency. London:  
  68. ^ An Irish Statesman and Revolutionary by Elizabeth Keane (ISBN 978-1845111250), page 106
  69. ^ "Irish Public Service Broadcasting – 1940s: De Valera and Broadcasting". History of RTÉ. RTÉ. Retrieved 30 October 2008. 
  70. ^ a b Wilsford, David (1995). Political Leaders of Contemporary Western Europe: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood. p. 96.  
  71. ^ Tim Pat Coogan, De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow, London: Arrow, 1993, p.639.
  72. ^ D. F. Bourke, A History of the Catholic Church in Victoria, Melbourne: Catholic Bishops of Victoria, 1988, p. 299; D. J. O'Hearn, Erin go bragh – Advance Australia Fair: a hundred years of growing, Melbourne: Celtic Club, 1990, p. 54
  73. ^ Diarmuid Ferriter, Judging Dev, pp.190-191.
  74. ^ Stanford, Jane (17 August 2013). "That Irishman: p.279, footnote 530". Look Back ( 
  75. ^ Savage, Robert J. (1996). Irish television: the political and social origins. Cork University Press. p. 224.  
  76. ^ """Winston Churchill & Eamon De Valera: A Thirty Year "Relationship. Retrieved 2013-08-21. 
  77. ^ Coogan, Tim Pat de Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow p. 669 ISBN 0-09-995860-0 ISBN 978-0-09-995860-4
  78. ^ a b c Diarmaid Ferriter (2007). Uachtaráin – Eamon de Valera (Television production) (in Irish). Dublin, Ireland: TG4. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  79. ^ The new record was set by Giorgio Napolitano, re-elected President of Italy in 2013 aged 87.
  80. ^ The six Irish leaders who have addressed joint sessions of the U.S. Congress are Seán T. O'Kelly (18 March 1959), Éamon de Valera (28 May 1964), Liam Cosgrave (17 March 1976), Garret Fitzgerald (15 March 1984), John Bruton (11 September 1996), and Bertie Ahern (30 April 2008).
  81. ^ Tracy, Robert (1999). "The Jews of Ireland". p. 7. Retrieved 19 October 2009. 
  82. ^ "Apollo 11 Goodwill Messages". Press release.  
  83. ^ RTE 1975 – Eamon De Valera is dead on YouTube RTÉ News (video). Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  84. ^ Sunday Times, 31 October 2004 p3; RTÉ broadcast on 2 November 2004.
  85. ^ Tom Garvin Preventing the future; why Ireland was so poor for so long. (Dublin 2004) passim; ISBN 0-7171-3771-6
  86. ^ The Earl of Longford and Thomas P. O'Neill, 1970, p. 338
  87. ^ "Obsessive Historian: Éamon de Valera and the policing of his reputation" Murray, Patrick. December 2001
  88. ^ Coogan, Tim Pat de Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow ISBN 0-09-995860-0 ISBN 978-0-09-995860-4
  89. ^ "New book tries to reclaim Dev's legacy".  
  90. ^ Ferriter, Diarmaid Judging Dev: A Reassessment of the Life and Legacy of Éamon De Valera ISBN 1-904890-28-8
  91. ^ by Diarmaid Ferriter"Judging Dev, A Reassessment of the Life and Legacy of Éamon De Valera"Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern, TD, at the Launch of . Department of the Taoiseach. 14 October 2007. 
  92. ^ "TIME Magazine Cover: Eamon de Valera – Mar. 25, 1940". TIME. 25 March 1940. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  93. ^ "EIRE: Prime Minister of Freedom". TIME. 25 March 1940. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  94. ^ "Flann and me and his greatest story never told", The Irish Times, 12 July 2010


See also

The following governments were led by de Valera:


De Valera has been portrayed by:

  • De Valera's portrait illustrated the front cover of the 25 March 1940 issue of TIME magazine[92] accompanying the article EIRE: Prime Minister of Freedom.[93]

In popular culture

Yet for all that, he remained a deeply committed republican, consistent in his dream of creating a truly Irish Ireland that the Gaelic revivalists of the early 20th century would have approved. That he failed in this task remained perhaps his greatest disappointment. In his devout Catholicism, his rejection of material ostentation, his determination to revive the Irish language, and his inability to comprehend Protestant Ulster's fears of Catholic domination, a historian portrays de Valera as representative of his generation in southern Ireland.[60]

In recent years, historians have emphasised his failures, comparing him unfavourably to his great rival Michael Collins. Critics complain that de Valera's duplicity and betrayal of the Treaty process and his rejection of agreed upon democratic procedures led to civil war and nearly destroyed Ireland at birth. Liberals decry his conservative social policies and his close relationship with the Catholic bishops. He was morally certain to the point of arrogance with a keen eye for his own political self-preservation.

A notable failure was his attempt to reverse the provision of the 1937 Constitution in relation to the electoral system. On retiring as Taoiseach in 1959, he proposed that the Proportional Representation system enshrined in that constitution should be replaced. De Valera argued that Proportional Representation had been responsible for the instability that had characterised much of the post war period. A constitutional referendum to ratify this was defeated by the people. One aspect of de Valera's legacy is that since the foundation of the state, a de Valera has nearly always served in Dáil Éireann. Éamon de Valera served until 1959, his son, Vivion de Valera, was also a Teachta Dála (TD). Éamon Ó Cuív, his grandson, is currently a member of the Dáil while his granddaughter, Síle de Valera is a former TD. Both have served in ministries in the Irish Government.

One of de Valera's finest hours was his regrouping of the Republican side after defeat in the civil war, and setting his followers on an exclusively peaceful and democratic path, along which he later had to confront both domestic Fascism and the IRA. He became a democratic statesman, not a dictator. He did not purge the civil service of those who had served his predecessors, but made best use of the talent available.

In recent decades, his role in Irish history has no longer been unequivocally seen by historians as a positive one, and a biography by Tim Pat Coogan alleges[88] that his failures outweigh his achievements, with de Valera's reputation declining while that of his great rival in the 1920s, Michael Collins, is rising. The most recent work on de Valera by historian Diarmaid Ferriter presents a more positive picture of de Valera's legacy.[89] Bertie Ahern, at a book launch for Diarmaid Ferriter's biography of de Valera,[90][91] described de Valera's achievements in political leadership during the formative years of the state:

De Valera’s preoccupation with his part in history, and his need to explain and justify it, are reflected in innumerable ways. His faith in historians as trustworthy guardians of his reputation was not absolute. He made many attempts to influence their views and to adjust and refine the historical record whenever he felt this portrayed him, his allies or his cause inaccurately or unfavourably to his mind, these could often mean the same thing. He extended these endeavours to encompass the larger Irish public. An important function of his newspaper group, the Irish Press group, was to rectify what he saw as the errors and omissions of a decade in which he had been the subject of largely hostile commentary.[87]

De Valera was criticised for ending up as co-owner of one of Ireland's most influential group of newspapers, Maria Duce that Roman Catholicism be made the state religion of Ireland, just as he rejected demands by the Irish Christian Front for the Irish Free State to support Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War.[86]

Ireland's dominant political personality for many decades, de Valera received numerous honours. He was elected Chancellor of the National University of Ireland in 1921, holding the post until his death. Pope John XXIII bestowed on him the Order of Christ. He received honorary degrees from universities in Ireland and abroad. In 1968 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS),[4] a recognition of his lifelong interest in mathematics. He also served as a member of the Parliament of Northern Ireland (for Down from 1921 to 1929 and for South Down from 1933 to 1937), although he held to the Republican policy of abstentionism and did not take his seat in Stormont. He retired from the Presidency in June 1973, having served for fourteen years.

De Valera's political creed evolved from militant republicanism to social and cultural conservatism.[5]


Éamon de Valera died in Linden Convalescent Home, Blackrock, County Dublin on 29 August 1975 aged 92.[83] His wife, Sinéad de Valera, four years his senior, had died the previous January, on the eve of their 65th wedding anniversary. His body lay in state at Dublin Castle and was given a full state funeral on 3 September at St Mary's Pro-Cathedral, which was broadcast on national television. He is buried in Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery with his wife and children.

Éamon de Valera's grave. His wife, Sinéad, and son, Brian (who was killed in a horse-riding accident in 1936) are buried there also. (Close up view of the gravestone)


In 1969, seventy-three countries sent goodwill messages to NASA for the historic first lunar landing. These messages still rest on the lunar surface and de Valera's message on behalf of Ireland stated, "May God grant that the skill and courage which have enabled man to alight upon the Moon will enable him, also, to secure peace and happiness upon the Earth and avoid the danger of self-destruction."[82]

In January 1969, de Valera became the first President to address both houses of the Oireachtas, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of Dáil Éireann.

In 1966 the Dublin Jewish community arranged the planting and dedication of the Éamon de Valera Forest in Israel, near Nazareth, in recognition of his consistent support for Ireland's Jews.[81]

As President, de Valera received many state visits, including the 1963 visit of American President John F. Kennedy. Five months later de Valera attended the state funeral for Kennedy in Washington, D.C. and accompanied a group of 24 Defence Forces cadets who performed a silent drill at his grave site.[78] In June 1964 he returned to Washington as the second President of Ireland to address the United States Congress.[80]

De Valera was inaugurated President on 25 June 1959. He was re-elected president in 1966 aged 84, until 2013 a world record for the oldest elected head of state.[79] At his retirement in 1973 at the age of 90, he was the oldest head of state in the world.[78]

While Fianna Fáil remained popular among the electorate, 75-year-old de Valera had begun to be seen by the electorate as too old and out of touch to remain at the head of government.[78] At the urging of party officials, de Valera decided to retire from government and the Dáil and instead seek the nonpolitical Presidency of Ireland. He won the presidential election on 17 June 1959 and resigned as Taoiseach, leader of Fianna Fáil and TD for Clare six days later, handing over power to Seán Lemass.

President of Ireland

Like the first coalition government, the second lasted only three years. At the general election of 1957, de Valera, then in his seventy-fifth year, won an absolute majority of nine seats, the greatest number he had ever secured. This was the beginning of another sixteen-year period in office for Fianna Fáil. A new economic policy emerged with the First Programme for Economic Expansion. In July 1957, in response to the Border Campaign (IRA), Part II of the Offences Against the State Act was re-activated and he ordered the internment without trial of Republican suspects, an action which did much to end the IRA's campaign.[77]

It was during this period that de Valera's eyesight began to deteriorate and he was forced to spend several months in the Netherlands, where he had six operations.

On 16 September 1953 de Valera met with Churchill for the first and only time, at 10 Downing Street. (The two men had seen each other at a party in 1949, but without speaking.) He surprised the UK Prime Minister by claiming that if he had been in office in 1948 Ireland would not have left the Commonwealth.[76]

Returning to Ireland, during the Mother and Child Scheme crisis that racked the First Inter-Party Government, de Valera kept a dignified silence as Leader of the Opposition, preferring to stay aloof from the controversy. That stance helped return de Valera to power in the 1951 general election, but without an overall majority. His and Fianna Fáil's popularity was short-lived, however; his government introduced severe, deflationary budgetary and economic policies in 1952, causing a political backlash that cost Fianna Fáil several seats in the Dáil in by-elections of 1953 and early 1954. Faced with a likely loss of confidence in the Dáil, de Valera instead called an election in May 1954, in which Fianna Fáil was defeated and a Second Inter-Party Government was formed with Costello again as Taoiseach.[75]

Taoiseach, 1951–54 and 1957–59

De Valera, now leader of the opposition, left the actual parliamentary practice of opposing the government to his deputy, Northern Ireland was in British hands; although the coalition government favored alliance with NATO, de Valera's approach won more widespread support and prevented the state from signing onto the treaty.[70]

The other parties realised that if they banded together, they would have only one seat fewer than Fianna Fáil, and would be able to form a government with the support of seven independents. The result was the First Inter-Party Government, with compromise candidate John A. Costello of Fine Gael as Taoiseach. The following year, Costello declared Ireland as a republic, leaving partition as the most pressing political issue of the day.[70]

After de Valera had spent sixteen years in power—without answering the crucial questions of partition and republican status—the public demanded a change from Fianna Fáil government. In the 1948 election, de Valera lost the outright majority he'd enjoyed since 1933. It initially looked like the National Labour Party would give Fianna Fáil enough support to stay in office as a minority government, but National Labour insisted on a formal coalition agreement—something de Valera was unwilling to concede. However, while Fianna Fáil was six seats short of a majority, it was still by far the largest party in the Dáil, with 37 more TDs than the next largest party, Fine Gael (the successor to Cumann na nGaedheal). Conventional wisdom held that de Valera would remain Taosieach with the support of independents.

Opposition Leader, 1948–51

Post–War Period: Taoiseach/Opposition Leader

Controversially,[67] de Valera formally offered his condolences to the German Minister in Dublin on the death of Adolf Hitler in 1945, in accordance with diplomatic protocol.[68] This did some damage to Ireland, particularly in the United States – and soon afterwards de Valera had a bitter exchange of words with Winston Churchill in two famous radio addresses after the end of the war in Europe.[69]

De Valera sent a personal note of congratulations to Subhas Chandra Bose upon his declaration of the Azad Hind (Free India) government in 1943.[66]

By September 1939, a general European war was imminent. On 2 September, de Valera advised Dáil Éireann that neutrality was the best policy for the country. This policy had overwhelming political and popular support, though some advocated Irish participation in the War on the Allied side, while others, seeing "England's difficulty as Ireland's Opportunity", were pro-German. Strong objections to conscription in the North were voiced by de Valera.[63] The government secured wide powers for the duration of the Emergency, such as internment, censorship of the press and correspondence, and the government control of the economy. The Emergency Powers Act lapsed on 2 September 1946, though the State of Emergency declared under the constitution was not lifted until the 1970s.[64][65] This status remained throughout the war, despite pressure from Chamberlain and Churchill. However, de Valera did respond to a request from Northern Ireland for fire tenders to assist in fighting fires following the Belfast Blitz.

The Emergency (World War II)

With the new constitution in place, de Valera determined that the changed circumstances made swift resolution to Ireland's ongoing trade war with the UK more desirable for both sides—as did the growing probability of the outbreak of war across Europe. In April 1938, de Valera and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement, lifting all duties imposed during the previous five years and ending British use of the Treaty Ports it had retained in accordance with the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The return of the ports was of particular significance, since it ensured Irish neutrality during the coming Second World War.

Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement

Fianna Fáil having won the election held the same day as the plebiscite that ratified the constitution, de Valera continued as President of the Executive Council until 29 December 1937, when the new constitution was enacted and his office automatically became that of Taoiseach—a position with considerably more power, including the authority to dismiss ministers individually and to request a dissolution of the Dáil.

Taoiseach 1937–48

The specific recognition of Roman Catholicism was deleted by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland (1973) and the prohibition of divorce was removed by the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland (1996). Nevertheless, the Irish Supreme Court declared in 1973 that the 1935 contraception legislation was not repugnant to the Constitution and therefore remained valid.[62]

Éamon de Valera led his party Fianna Fáil to adopt conservative social policies, since he believed devoutly that the Catholic church and the family were central to Irish identity. He added clauses to the new Constitution of Ireland (1937) to "guard with special care the institution of marriage" and prohibit divorce. His constitution also recognised "the special position" of the Catholic Church and recognised other denominations including the Church of Ireland and Jewish congregations, whilst guaranteeing the religious freedom of all citizens. He resisted an attempt to make Roman Catholicism the state religion and his constitution forbids the establishment of a state religion. His policies were welcomed by a largely devout, conservative and rural electorate.[60] The unenforcable articles in the constitution which reinforced the traditional view that a woman's place was in the home further illustrate the direction in which Ireland was moving. An act of 1935 prohibited the importation or sale of contraceptives. The most rigorous censorship laws in western Europe complete the picture.[61]

Catholic social policy

As Bew concludes, in the constitution of 1937, de Valera was "trying to placate left-wing Republicans with national phrases and pious people with expressly Catholic bits" and "patriarchal Catholicism."[59]

  • the anti-partition articles needlessly antagonised Unionists in Northern Ireland, while simultaneously attracting criticism from hardline republicans by recognising the de facto situation.
  • similarly, the recognition of the "special position" of the Catholic Church was inconsistent with the identity and aspirations of northern Protestants (leading to its repeal in the 1970s), while simultaneously falling short of the demands of hardline Catholics and the Church for Catholicism to be explicitly made the state religion.
  • the affirmation of Irish as the national and primary official language neither reflected contemporary realities nor led to the language's revival
  • though the King was removed from the text of the constitution, he retained a leading role in the state's foreign affairs, and the legal position of the President of Ireland was accordingly uncertain; there was also concern that the presidency would evolve into a dictatorial position
  • elements of Catholic social teaching incorporated into the text, such as the articles on the role of women, the family and divorce, were inconsistent both with the practice of the Protestant minority and with contemporary liberal opinion

Criticisms of some of the above constitutional reforms include that:

  • a new name for the state, "Éire" (in Irish) and "Ireland" (in English);
  • a claim that the national territory was the entire island of Ireland, thereby challenging Britain's partition settlement of 1921;
  • the removal of references to the king of Ireland[55][56] and the replacement of the monarch's representative, the governor-general, with a popularly elected President of Ireland, who takes "precedence over all other persons in the State and who shall exercise and perform the powers and functions conferred on the President by this Constitution and by law";[57][58]
  • recognition of the "special position" of Roman Catholicism;
  • a recognition of the Roman Catholic concept of marriage which excluded civil divorce;
  • the declaration that the Irish language was the "national language" and the first official language of the nation although English was also included as "a" second official language;
  • the use of Irish language terms to stress Irish cultural and historical identity (e.g., Uachtarán, Taoiseach, Tánaiste, etc.); and

The constitution contained reforms and symbols intended to assert Irish sovereignty. These included:

De Valera, as his prime minister, wrote in July 1936 to King Edward VIII in London indicating that he planned to introduce a new constitution, the central part of which was to be the creation of an office de Valera provisionally intended to call President of Saorstát Éireann (Uachtarán Shaorstát Éireann), which would replace the governorship-general.[54] De Valera used the sudden abdication of Edward VIII as king to pass two bills: one amended the constitution to remove all mention of the monarch and governor-general, while the second brought the monarch back, this time through statute law, for use in representing the Irish Free State at diplomatic level. With the implementation of the new constitution, names in the new Irish language as Bunreacht na hÉireann (meaning the Constitution of Ireland), the title ultimately given to the president was President of Ireland (Uachtarán na hÉireann).

The Oath of Allegiance was abolished, as were appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The opposition-controlled Senate, when it protested and slowed down these measures, was also abolished. In 1931, the British parliament had passed the Statute of Westminster, which established the legislative equal status of the self-governing Dominions of the then British Commonwealth, including the Irish Free State, to one another and the United Kingdom. Though a few constitutional links between the Dominions and the United Kingdom remained, this is often seen as the moment at which the Dominions became fully sovereign states.

During the 1930s, de Valera had systematically stripped down the Irish Free State constitution that had been drafted by a committee under the nominal chairmanship of his rival, Michael Collins. In reality, de Valera had been able to do that only due to three reasons. First, though the 1922 constitution originally required a public plebiscite for any amendment beyond eight years after its passage, the Free State government under W. T. Cosgrave had amended that period to sixteen years. This meant that, until 1938, the Free State constitution could be amended by the simple passage of a Constitutional Amendment Act through the Oireachtas. Secondly, while the Governor-General of the Irish Free State could reserve or deny Royal Assent to any legislation, from 1927, the power to advise the governor-general to do so no longer rested with the British government in London but with His Majesty's Government in the Irish Free State, which meant that, in practice, the Royal Assent was automatically granted to legislation; the government was hardly likely to advise the governor-general to block the enactment of one of its own bills. Thirdly, in theory the constitution had to be in keeping with the provisions of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the fundamental law of the state. However, that requirement had been removed only a short time before de Valera gained power.

De Valera's new constitution

[53] under O'Duffy. They adopted the uniform of black berets and blue shirts, used the straight armed salute and were nicknamed National Guard The ACA changed its name to the

De Valera's government followed the policy of unilaterally dismantling the treaty of 1921. In this way he would be pursuing republican policies and lessening the popularity of republican violence and the IRA. De Valera encouraged IRA members to join the Peadar O'Donnell, an IRA member.

De Valera took charge of Ireland's foreign policy as well by also acting as Minister for External Affairs. In that capacity, he attended meetings of the League of Nations. He was president of the Council of the League on his first appearance at Geneva in 1932 and, in a speech that made a worldwide impression, appealed for genuine adherence by its members to the principles of the covenant of the league. In 1934, he supported the admission of the Soviet Union into the league. In September 1938, he was elected nineteenth president of the Assembly of the League,[51] a tribute to the international recognition he had won by his independent stance on world questions.[52]

After advising King Domhnall Ua Buachalla, was appointed governor-general. To strengthen his position against the opposition in the Dáil and Seanad, de Valera directed the Governor-General to call a snap election in January 1933 and de Valera's party won 77 seats, giving it an overall majority. Under de Valera's leadership, Fianna Fáil won further general elections in 1937, 1938, 1943, and 1944.

He at once initiated steps to fulfil his election promises to abolish the oath and withhold land annuities owed to the UK for loans provided under the Irish Land Acts and agreed as part of the 1921 Treaty. This launched the Anglo-Irish Trade War when the UK in retaliation imposed economic sanctions against Irish exports. De Valera responded in kind with levies on British imports. The ensuing "Economic War" lasted until 1938.[50]

In the 1932 general election Fianna Fáil secured 72 seats and became the largest party in the Dáil, although without a majority. Some Fianna Fáil members arrived at the first sitting of the new Dáil carrying arms, amid fears that Cumann na nGaedheal would not voluntarily surrender power. However, the transition was peaceful.[49] De Valera was appointed President of the Executive Council (Prime Minister) by Governor-General James McNeill on 7 March.

President of the Executive Council

De Valera never organised Fianna Fáil in Northern Ireland and it was not until 7 December 2007 that Fianna Fáil was registered there by the UK Electoral Commission.[48]

The oath was largely the work of Michael Collins and based on three sources: British oaths in the dominions, the oath of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and a draft oath prepared by de Valera in his proposed Treaty alternative, "Document No. 2"). De Valera began a legal case to challenge the requirement that members of his party take the Oath, but the assassination of the Vice-President of the Executive Council (deputy prime minister) Kevin O'Higgins led the Executive Council under W. T. Cosgrave to introduce a Bill requiring all Dáil candidates to promise on oath that if they were elected they would take the Oath of Allegiance. Forced into a corner, and faced with the option of staying outside politics forever or taking the oath and entering, de Valera and his TDs took the Oath of Allegiance in 1927, though de Valera himself described the Oath as "an empty political formula."[47]

The new party made swift electoral gains in the 1927 general election, taking much of Sinn Féin's previous support. It won 44 seats to Sinn Féin's five. It refused to take the Oath of Allegiance (portrayed by opponents as an 'Oath of Allegiance to the Crown' but actually an Oath of Allegiance to the Irish Free State with a secondary promise of fidelity to the King in his role in the Treaty settlement.[46]

During this time, de Valera came to believe that abstentionism was not a workable tactic in the long term. He now believed that a better course would be to try to gain power and turn the Free State from a constitutional monarchy into a republic. He tried to convince the Sinn Féin party to accept this new line. However, a vote to accept the Free State Constitution (contingent on the abolition of the Oath of Allegiance) narrowly failed. Soon afterward, de Valera resigned from the presidency of the party and in March 1926, with Seán Lemass, Constance Markievicz and others, formed a new party, Fianna Fáil (The Warriors of Destiny), a party that was to dominate 20th-century Irish politics. While Sinn Féin still held to an abstentionist line, Fianna Fáil was dedicated to republicanising the Free State from within if it gained power.

After the IRA dumped their arms rather than surrender them or continue a now fruitless war, de Valera returned to political methods. In 1924 he was arrested in Newry for "illegally entering Northern Ireland" and held in solitary confinement for a month in Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast.

Founding of Fianna Fáil and entry into Free State Dáil

After this point many of the republicans were arrested in Free State "round ups" when they had come out of hiding and returned home. De Valera remained in hiding for several months after the ceasefire was declared; however, he emerged in August to stand for election in County Clare. Making a campaign appearance in Ennis on 15 August, de Valera was arrested on the platform and interned at Arbour Hill prison until 1924.

On 30 May 1923, the IRA's new Chief of Staff Frank Aiken (Lynch had been killed) called a ceasefire and ordered volunteers to "dump arms". De Valera, who had wanted an end to the internecine fighting for some time, backed the ceasefire order with a message in which he called the anti-Treaty fighters "the Legion of the Rearguard", saying that "The Republic can no longer be successfully defended by your arms. Further sacrifice on your part would now be in vain and the continuance of the struggle in arms unwise in the national interest and prejudicial to the future of our cause. Military victory must be allowed to rest for the moment with those who have destroyed the Republic. Other means must be sought to safeguard the nation's right."[45]

In March 1923, de Valera attended the meeting of the IRA Army Executive to decide on the future of the war. He was known to be in favour of a truce but he had no voting rights and it was narrowly decided to continue hostilities.[43] The leader of the Free State, W. T. Cosgrave, insisted that there could be no acceptance of a surrender without disarming.[44]

Though nominally head of the anti-Treatyites, de Valera had little influence. He does not seem to have been involved in any fighting and had little or no influence with the military republican leadership - headed by IRA Chief of Staff, Liam Lynch. De Valera and the anti-Treaty TDs formed a "republican government" on 25 October 1922 from anti-Treaty TDs to "be temporarily the Supreme Executive of the Republic and the State, until such time as the elected Parliament of the Republic can freely assemble, or the people being rid of external aggression are at liberty to decide freely how they are to be governed". However it had no real authority and was a pale shadow of the republican Dáil government of 1919–21, which had provided an alternative government to the British administration.

Relations between the new Irish government, which was backed by most of the Dáil and the electorate, and the anti-Treatyites under the nominal leadership of de Valera, now descended into the Irish Civil War (June 1922 to May 1923), in which the pro-treaty Free State forces defeated the anti-Treaty IRA. Both sides had wanted to avoid civil war, but fighting broke out over the takeover of the Four Courts building in Dublin by anti-Treaty members of the IRA. These men were not loyal to de Valera and initially were not even supported by the executive of the anti-Treaty IRA. However, Michael Collins was forced to act against them when Winston Churchill threatened to re-occupy the country with British troops unless action was taken. When fighting broke out in Dublin between the Four Courts garrison and the new Free State army, republicans backed the IRA men in the Four Courts and civil war broke out. De Valera, though he held no military position, backed the anti-Treaty IRA or "Irregulars" and said that he was re-enlisting in the IRA as an ordinary volunteer. On 8 September 1922, he met in secret with Richard Mulcahy in Dublin, to try to halt the fighting. However, according to de Valera, they "could not find a basis" for agreement.[42]

Civil War

De Valera objected to the statement of fidelity that the treaty required Irish parliamentarians to take an oath of allegiance to the King. He also was concerned that Ireland could not have an independent foreign policy as part of the British Commonwealth when the British retained several naval ports (see Treaty Ports) around Ireland's coast. As a compromise, de Valera proposed "external association" with the British Empire, which would leave Ireland's foreign policy in her own hands and a republican constitution with no mention of the British monarch (he proposed this as early as April, well before the negotiations began, under the title "Document No. 2"). Michael Collins was prepared to accept this formula and the two wings (pro- and anti-Treaty) of Sinn Féin formed a pact to fight the Irish general election, 1922 together and form a coalition government afterwards. Collins later called off the pact on the eve of the election. De Valera's opponents won the election and civil war broke out shortly afterwards in late June 1922.[41]

After the Treaty was narrowly ratified by 64 to 57, de Valera and a large minority of Sinn Féin TDs left Dáil Éireann. He then resigned and Arthur Griffith was elected President of Dáil Éireann in his place, though respectfully still calling him 'The President'. On a speaking tour of the more republican province of Munster, starting on 17 March 1922, de Valera made controversial speeches at Carrick on Suir, Lismore, Dungarvan and Waterford, saying that: "If the Treaty were accepted, [by the electorate] the fight for freedom would still go on, and the Irish people, instead of fighting foreign soldiers, will have to fight the Irish soldiers of an Irish government set up by Irishmen." At Thurles, several days later, he repeated this imagery and added that the IRA: "..would have to wade through the blood of the soldiers of the Irish Government, and perhaps through that of some members of the Irish Government to get their freedom." In a letter to the Irish Independent on 23 March de Valera accepted the accuracy of their report of his comment about "wading" through blood, but deplored that the newspaper had published it.[40]

De Valera balked at the agreement. His opponents claimed that he had refused to join the negotiations because he knew what the outcome would be and did not wish to receive the blame. De Valera claimed that he had not gone to the treaty negotiations because he would be better able to control the extremists at home, and that his absence would allow leverage for the plenipotentiaries to refer back to him and not be pressured into any agreements. Because of the secret instructions given to the plenipotentiaries, he reacted to news of the signing of the Treaty not with anger at its contents (which he refused even to read when offered a newspaper report of its contents), but with anger over the fact that they had not consulted with him, their president, before signing. His ideal drafts, presented to a secret session of the Dáil during the Treaty Debates and publicised in January 1922, were ingenious compromises but they included dominion status, the Treaty Ports, the fact of partition subject to veto by the parliament in Belfast, and some continuing status for the King as head of the Commonwealth. Ireland's share of the imperial debt was to be paid.[39]

The Republic's delegates to the Treaty Negotiations were accredited by President de Valera and his cabinet as plenipotentiaries (that is, negotiators with the legal authority to sign a treaty without reference back to the cabinet), but were given secret cabinet instructions by de Valera that required them to return to Dublin before signing the Treaty.[38] The Treaty proved controversial in Ireland insofar as it replaced the Republic by a dominion of the British Commonwealth with the King represented by a Governor-General of the Irish Free State. The Irish Treaty delegates Arthur Griffith, Robert Barton, and Michael Collins supported by Robert Erskine Childers as Secretary General set up their delegation headquarters at 22 Hans Place in Knightsbridge. It was there, at 11.15am on 5 December 1921, that the decision was made to recommend the Treaty to Dáil Éireann; the Treaty was finally signed by the delegates after further negotiations which closed at 02:20 on 6 December 1921.

Anglo-Irish Treaty

Having done so, a boundary commission came into place to redraw the Irish border. Nationalists expected its report to recommend that largely nationalist areas become part of the Free State, and many hoped this would make Northern Ireland so small it would not be economically viable. A Council of Ireland was also provided in the Treaty as a model for an eventual all-Irish parliament. Hence neither the pro- nor anti-Treaty sides made much complaint about partition in the Treaty Debates.

In January 1921, at his first Dáil meeting after his return to a country gripped by the War of Independence, de Valera introduced a motion calling on the Treaty Negotiations (October–December 1921) at which British and Irish government leaders agreed to the effective independence of twenty-six of Ireland's thirty-two counties as the Irish Free State, with Northern Ireland choosing to remain under British sovereignty. It is generally agreed by historians that whatever his motives, it was a mistake for de Valera not to have travelled to London.[37]

President of the Republic

Meanwhile in Ireland, conflict between the British authorities and the Dáil (which the British declared illegal in September 1919) escalated into the Irish War of Independence. De Valera left day-to-day government, during his eighteen-month absence in America, to Michael Collins, his 29-year-old Minister for Finance. De Valera and Collins would later become opponents during the Irish Civil War.[34]

De Valera managed to raise $5,500,000 from American supporters, an amount that far exceeded the hopes of the Dáil.[31] Of this, $500,000 was devoted to the American presidential campaign in 1920 which helped him gain wider public support there.[32] In 1921 it was said that $1,466,000 had already been spent, and it is unclear when the net balance arrived in Ireland.[33] Recognition was not forthcoming in the international sphere. He also had difficulties with various Irish-American leaders, such as John Devoy and Judge Daniel F. Cohalan, who resented the dominant position he established, preferring to retain their control over Irish affairs in the United States.

[30] In the hope of securing international recognition,

Sinn Féin won a huge majority in the 1918 general election, largely thanks to the British executions of the 1916 leaders, the threat of conscription with the Conscription Crisis of 1918 and the first past the post ballot. They won 73 out of 105 Irish seats, with about 47% of votes cast. 25 seats were uncontested. On 21 January 1919, 27 Sinn Féin MPs (the rest were imprisoned or impaired), calling themselves Teachtaí Dála (TDs), assembled in the Mansion House in Dublin and formed an Irish parliament, known as Dáil Éireann (translatable into English as the Assembly of Ireland). A ministry or Aireacht was formed, under the leadership of the Príomh Aire (also called President of Dáil Éireann) Cathal Brugha. De Valera had been re-arrested in May 1918 and imprisoned and so could not attend the January session of the Dáil. He escaped from Lincoln Gaol, England in February 1919. As a result he replaced Brugha as Príomh Aire in the April session of Dáil Éireann.

President of Dáil Éireann

After imprisonment in Dartmoor, Maidstone and Lewes prisons, de Valera and his comrades were released under an amnesty in June 1917. On 10 July 1917 he was elected member of the House of Commons for East Clare (the constituency which he represented until 1959) in a by-election caused by the death of the previous incumbent Willie Redmond, brother of the Irish Party Leader John Redmond who had died fighting in World War I. In the 1918 general election he was elected both for that seat and Mayo East.[28] Because most other Irish rebellion leaders were dead, in 1917 he was elected president of Sinn Féin,[20] the party which had been blamed incorrectly for provoking the Easter Rising. This party became the political vehicle through which the survivors of the Easter Rising channeled their republican ethos and objectives. The previous president of Sinn Féin, Arthur Griffith, had championed an Anglo-Irish dual-monarchy based on the Austro-Hungarian model, with independent legislatures for both Ireland and Britain. This solution would, mutatis mutandis, emulate the situation following the Constitution of 1782 under Henry Grattan, until Ireland was legislatively subsumed into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801.

De Valera's supporters and detractors argue about de Valera's bravery during the Easter Rising. His supporters claim he showed leadership skills and a meticulous ability for planning. His detractors claim he suffered a internment Camp, one de Valera loyalist approached another internee, a medical doctor, recounted the story, and asked for a medical opinion as to de Valera's condition. He also threatened to sue the doctor, future Fine Gael Teachta Dála (TD) and minister, Dr. Tom O'Higgins, if he ever repeated the story.[26] The British reportedly, however, considered de Valera's forces the best-trained and best-led among the rebels.[20] De Valera's latest biographer, Anthony J. Jordan, writes of this controversy, "Whatever happened in Boland's Mills, or any other garrison, does not negate or undermine in any way the extraordinary heroism of Dev and his comrades".[27]

The Kilmainham Gaol cell of Éamon de Valera.

De Valera was the only commandant of the rebellion who was not executed.[20] It has been argued that his life was saved by four facts. First, he was one of the last to surrender and he was held in a different prison from other leaders, thus his execution was delayed by practicalities. Second, the US Consulate in Dublin made representations before his trial (i.e, was he actually a United States citizen and if so, how would the United States react to the execution of one of its citizens?) while the full legal situation was clarified. The UK was trying to bring the US into the war in Europe at the time, this made the situation even more uncertain, though this did not prevent the execution of Tom Clarke who had been an American citizen since 1905.[21][22] Third, when Lt-Gen Sir John Maxwell reviewed his case he said, "Who is he? I haven't heard of him before. I wonder would he be likely to make trouble in the future?" On being told that de Valera was unimportant he commuted the court-martial's death sentence to life imprisonment.[23] De Valera had no Fenian family or personal background and his MI5 file in 1916 was very slim, only detailing his open membership in the Irish Volunteers.[24] Fourth, by the time de Valera was court-martialled on 8 May, political pressure was being brought to bear on Maxwell to halt the executions; Maxwell had already told the Prime Minister H. H. Asquith that only two more were to be executed, Seán Mac Diarmada and James Connolly, although they were court-martialled the day after de Valera. His late trial, representations made by the American Consulate, his lack of Fenian background and political pressure all combined to save his life, though had he been tried a week earlier he would probably have been shot.[25]

On 24 April 1916 the Easter Rising began. Forces commanded by de Valera occupied Boland's Mill[20] on Grand Canal Street in Dublin. His chief task was to cover the southeastern approaches to the city. After a week of fighting the order came from Patrick Pearse to surrender. De Valera was court-martialled, convicted, and sentenced to death, but the sentence was immediately commuted to penal servitude for life.

Easter Rising

While he was already involved in the Gaelic Revival, de Valera's involvement in the political revolution began on 25 November 1913 when he joined the Irish Volunteers formed to oppose the Ulster Volunteers and ensure the enactment of the Irish Parliamentary Party's Third Home Rule Act won by its leader John Redmond. After the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, de Valera rose through the ranks and it was not long before he was elected captain of the Donnybrook company. Preparations were pushed ahead for an armed revolt, and he was made commandant of the Third Battalion and adjutant of the Dublin Brigade. He took part in the Howth gun-running.[18] He was sworn by Thomas MacDonagh into the oath-bound Irish Republican Brotherhood, which secretly controlled the central executive of the Volunteers. He opposed secret societies but this was the only way he could be guaranteed full information on plans for the Rising.[19]

Early political activity

De Valera's children were five sons, Vivion (1910–82), Éamon (1913–XX), Brian (1915–36), Rúaidhrí (1916–78), and Terence (Terry) (1922–2007); and two daughters: Máirín (1912–84) and Emer (1918–2012). Brian de Valera predeceased his parents.

As a young Gaeilgeoir (Irish speaker), de Valera became an activist for the language. In 1908 he joined the Árdchraobh of Conradh na Gaeilge (the Gaelic League), where he met Sinéad Flanagan, a teacher by profession and four years his senior. They were married on 8 January 1910 at St Paul's Church, Arran Quay, Dublin.

Always a diligent student, at the end of his first year in Blackrock College he was Student of the Year. He also won further scholarships and exhibitions and in 1903 was appointed teacher of mathematics at Rockwell College, County Tipperary.[14] It was here that de Valera was first given the nickname "Dev" by a teaching colleague, Tom O'Donnell.[15] In 1904, he graduated in mathematics from the Royal University of Ireland. He then studied for a year at Trinity College Dublin but, owing to the necessity of earning a living, did not proceed further and returned to teaching, this time at Belvedere College.[16] In 1906, he secured a post as teacher of mathematics at Carysfort Teachers' Training College for women in Blackrock, County Dublin. His applications for professorships in colleges of the National University of Ireland were unsuccessful, but he obtained a part-time appointment at Maynooth and also taught mathematics at various Dublin schools, including Castleknock College (1910–1911; under the name Edward de Valera) and Belvedere College.[17]

Juan Vivion died in 1885 leaving Catherine Coll and her child in poor circumstances.[11] Éamon was taken to Ireland by his Uncle Ned at the age of two. Even when his mother married a new husband in the mid-1880s, he was not brought back to live with her, but was reared instead by his grandmother Elizabeth Coll, her son Patrick and her daughter Hannie, in County Limerick. He was educated locally at Bruree National School, County Limerick and C.B.S. Charleville County Cork. Aged sixteen, he won a scholarship. He was refused entry to two colleges in Limerick but was accepted at Blackrock College, Dublin at the instigation of his local curate.[12] He played rugby there, and later during his tenure at Rockwell College, he joined the school's rugby team where he played fullback on the first team, which reached the final of the Munster Senior Cup. De Valera went on to play for the Munster rugby team around 1905 in the fullback position and remained a lifelong devotee of rugby, attending numerous international matches up to and towards the end of his life despite near blindness. He told the British Ambassador in 1967, "For my part I have always preferred rugby."[13]

There were occasions when de Valera seriously contemplated the religious life like his half-brother, Fr Thomas Wheelwright, but ultimately he did not pursue this vocation. As late as 1906, when he was 24 years old, he approached the President of Clonliffe Seminary in Dublin for advice on his vocation.[9] De Valera was throughout his life portrayed as a deeply religious man, who in death asked to be buried in a religious habit. His biographer, Tim Pat Coogan, speculated that questions surrounding de Valera's legitimacy may have been a deciding factor in his not entering religious life, since being illegitimate would have been a bar to receiving orders only as a secular or diocesan cleric, not as a member of a religious order.[10]


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.