The Info List - John J. O'Kelly

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John Joseph O'Kelly (known as Sceilg;[1] 4/7 July 1872 – 26 March 1957) was an Irish politician, author and publisher.[2] He was a president of the Gaelic League
Gaelic League
and of Sinn Féin.


1 Early years 2 Political career 3 Literary interests 4 Death 5 Bibliography 6 References 7 Further reading

Early years[edit] Born John Kelly in Coramore, on Valentia Island
Valentia Island
off the County Kerry coast, he was the son of Patrick Kelly, a farmer, and Ellen Sullivan.[3] While his birth date is recorded as 7 July 1872, his family gave it as 4 July.[4] Political career[edit] He joined Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
at its inaugural meeting on 5 November 1905. Following the 1916 Easter Rising, O'Kelly joined the Irish Nation League and became treasurer of the Irish National Aid and Volunteers' Dependants' Fund for the relief of prisoners and their families. In February 1917 he was arrested and deported to England where he was interned without trial for several months. On his release O'Kelly was elected to the Provisional Committee of the newly merged Irish Nation League and Sinn Féin, thereafter called Sinn Féin. He was appointed editor of the influential " Catholic
Bulletin".[5] In the 1918 general election he was elected as a Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
MP for Louth by 255 votes in what was the closest contest in Ireland in that election. The closeness of the contest was due to the strong AOH organisation in the county that campaigned for outgoing North Galway MP Richard Hazleton of the Irish Parliamentary Party. O'Kelly took his seat in Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
as a Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Teachta Dála and was Leas-Cheann Comhairle (Deputy chairman) from 1919–21.[6] He was Secretary for Education in the Government of the 2nd Dáil. From 1919 to 1923, he was President of the Gaelic League. He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
that was ratified by the Dáil in January 1922, and refused to accept the legitimacy of the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
established in December 1922. He and others maintained that the Irish Republic continued to exist and that the rump of the Second Dáil, composed of those anti-Treaty TDs who had refused to take their seats in what became the Free State parliament, was the only legitimate government for the whole of Ireland. In June 1922, he was elected to the Third Dáil for the constituency of Louth/Meath but abstained from taking his seat. In August 1923, standing as a Republican for the Meath constituency, he was defeated for an abstentionist seat in the 4th Dáil. He was again defeated in the Roscommon by-election of 1925, his last election attempt.[7] After the resignation of Éamon de Valera
Éamon de Valera
as president of Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
in 1926, O'Kelly, who maintained an abstentionist policy towards Dáil Éireann, was elected in his place and remained in this position until 1931 when Brian O'Higgins
Brian O'Higgins
took over the leadership. O'Kelly was hostile towards the 1937 Constitution of Ireland, claiming it was insufficiently supportive of Irish Republicanism
Irish Republicanism
and that the Constitution also did not require the President of Ireland
President of Ireland
to be of Irish birth.[8] Sceilg was unusual among Irish Republicans in that he regarded Daniel O'Connell and T.M. Healy
T.M. Healy
as political heroes. This apparently reflected local patriotism (both men came from south-western Ireland near to Sceilg's own birthplace) and Sceilg's own devout Catholicism, which led him to exalt O'Connell's achievement of Catholic Emancipation and Healy's claims that the adultery of Charles Stewart Parnell with Katharine O'Shea
Katharine O'Shea
made Parnell unfit for political leadership. Sceilg was also explicitly hostile to the Spanish Republic declared in 1931, believing it to be anti- Catholic
and supported by pro-British Freemasons. Literary interests[edit] He was a prolific author on Irish language and history topics, editing Banba, The Catholic
Bulletin and An Camán. He was intensely religious and an active Catholic. Many of his speeches and writings contained content critical of Freemasons
and Jews.[9] In 1916, members of Ireland's Jewish community protested after the Bulletin published a series of articles by Fr. T.H. Burbage accusing the Jewish community of carrying out ritual murders ; O'Kelly refused to apologise for the articles.[10] O'Kelly opposed members of the IRA fighting against Franco in the Spanish Civil War. In 1938, he was one of seven remaining abstentionist Second Dáil TDs who transferred the "authority" of what they believed was the "authority" of the Government of the Irish Republic
Irish Republic
to the IRA Army Council (see Irish republican legitimatism). In 1938, he visited Germany, later publishing his impressions in the Irish Independent.[11] Death[edit] O'Kelly died in Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross, on 26 March 1957, and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery
Glasnevin Cemetery
on 28 March.[12] Bibliography[edit]

Cathal Brugha Taistealuidacht ("A World Tour, described in limpid Irish") Spelling made easy A Trinity of Martyrs (biographies of Terence McSwiney, Cathal Brugha and Austin Stack)


^ A pen name he took which refers to the island of Sceilig Mhichíl, which he could see from his childhood home on Valentia Island. ^ "Mr. Seán (Sceilg) Ó Ceallaigh". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 12 February 2012.  ^ "General Registrar's Office". IrishGenealogy.ie. Retrieved 26 March 2017.  ^ "Ó CEALLAIGH, Seán (1872–1957)". ainm.ie. Retrieved 2017-03-26.  ^ Recent book on the Bulletin ^ "John J. O'Kelly". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 12 February 2012.  ^ Took, Christopher & Seán Donnelly. ""Sceilg" O'Kelly John Joseph ("Sceilg") O'Kelly". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 9 June 2012.  ^ Dermot Keogh and Dr. Andrew McCarthy, The making of the Irish Constitution 1937: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Mercier Press, 2007 (p.193). ^ See,for instance The Irish Revolution, 1913–1923 edited by Joost Augusteijn,Palgrave Macmillan (2002) pg. 46, and The Two Irelands 1912–1939 by David Fitzpatrick, Oxford (1998) Pg. 188. ^ Jews
in Twentieth-century Ireland: Refugees, Anti-semitism and the Holocaust by Dermot Keogh,Cork University Press, 1998 (pg. 70-1). ^ Irish Independent, 27 March 1957. ^ Irish Independent, 27 March 1957.

Further reading[edit]

Dr. Brian P. Murphy, The Catholic
Bulletin and Republican Ireland 1898–1926: with special reference to J. J. O'Kelly (Athol Books: Belfast, 2005) "County Louth: the Irish political revolution and the 1918 general election" by Oisín S. Kelly (MA thesis, 2006, UCD)

Political offices

New office Secretary for Education 1921–1922 Succeeded by Michael Hayes

Party political offices

Preceded by Éamon de Valera Leader of Sinn Féin 1926–1931 Succeeded by Brian O'Higgins

Titles in pretence

Preceded by Éamon de Valera — TITULAR — President of the Irish Republic 1926-1931 Succeeded by Brian O'Higgins

v t e

De Valera Cabinet (1921–22)

President of the Republic: Éamon de Valera


Robert Barton Cathal Brugha Michael Collins W. T. Cosgrave Arthur Griffith Austin Stack

Ministers not in cabinet

Ernest Blythe Seán Etchingham Desmond FitzGerald Constance Markievicz Count Plunkett Art O'Connor Kevin O'Higgins John J. O'Kelly James J. Walsh

v t e

Ministers for Education of Ireland

John J. O'Kelly Michael Hayes Fionán Lynch Eoin MacNeill John M. O'Sullivan Thomas Derrig Seán T. O'Kelly Éamon de Valera Richard Mulcahy Seán Moylan Jack Lynch Patrick Hillery George Colley Donogh O'Malley Brian Lenihan, Snr Pádraig Faulkner Richard Burke Peter Barry John Wilson John Boland Martin O'Donoghue Charles Haughey Gerard Brady Gemma Hussey Patrick Cooney Mary O'Rourke Noel Davern Séamus Brennan Niamh Bhreathnach Michael Smith Micheál Martin Michael Woods Noel Dempsey Mary Hanafin Batt O'Keeffe Mary Coughlan Ruairi Quinn Jan O'Sullivan Richard Bruton

v t e

Sinn Féin


History of Sinn Féin


Armalite and ballot box strategy Clann na hÉireann Cumann na nGaedheal (1900) Comhairle na dTeachtaí Éire Nua Election results Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Gaelic American German Plot Provisional IRA Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Manifesto 1918 Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
MPs Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
(newspaper) Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Printing & Publishing Company Republican News Republican Sinn Féin United Irishman Willie O'Dea affidavit incident Workers' Party of Ireland 32 County Sovereignty Movement



Edward Martyn (1905–08) John Sweetman (1908–11) Arthur Griffith
Arthur Griffith
(1911–17) Éamon de Valera
Éamon de Valera
(1917–26) John J. O'Kelly (Sceilg) (1926–31) Brian O'Higgins
Brian O'Higgins
(1931–33) Michael O'Flanagan (1933–35) Cathal Ó Murchadha (1935–37) Margaret Buckley (1937–50) Paddy McLogan (1950–52) Tomás Ó Dubhghaill (1952–54) Paddy McLogan (1954–62) Tomás Mac Giolla
Tomás Mac Giolla
(1962–70) Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
(1970–83) Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams
(1983–2018) Mary Lou McDonald (2018–present)

Vice presidents

John Sweetman (1905–07) Arthur Griffith
Arthur Griffith
(1905–08; 1917–22) Bulmer Hobson
Bulmer Hobson
(1907–10) Jennie Wyse Power (1911–) Thomas Kelly (1911–) Fr. Michael O'Flanagan (1917–23) P. J. Ruttledge (1923–26) Mary MacSwiney John Madden John J. O'Kelly (1931-33) Margaret Buckley (1933–35; 1952–60) Liam Raul (1933-37) Tom Maguire
Tom Maguire
(1935-37) Seamus Mitchell Padraig de Paor Criostóir O'Neill Michael Traynor (1950–54; 1962) Tomás Ó Dubhghaill (1950–52; 1954–62) Tony Magan (1960–62) Rory O'Driscoll (1962–63) Larry Grogan (1962–69; 1970–71) Seán Caughey (1963–65) Joe Clarke (1966–72) Cathal Goulding (1969–70) Dáithí Ó Conaill
Dáithí Ó Conaill
(1971–78; 1978–83) Máire Drumm
Máire Drumm
(1972–76) Joe Cahill (1976–78) Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams
(1978–83) Phil Flynn (1983–85) John Joe McGirl (1985–88) Pat Doherty (1988–2009) Mary Lou McDonald (2009–2018) Michelle O'Neill
Michelle O'Neill

Seanad leaders

Pearse Doherty (2007–10) David Cullinane
David Cullinane
(2011–16) Rose Conway-Walsh
Rose Conway-Walsh

Northern Ireland leaders

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams
(1998–2007) Martin McGuinness
Martin McGuinness
(2007–17) Michelle O'Neill
Michelle O'Neill


Seán MacManus (1984–90) Tom Hartley (1990–96) Mitchel McLaughlin
Mitchel McLaughlin
(1996–2005) Mary Lou McDonald (2005–09) Declan Kearney
Declan Kearney

General secretaries

Joe Cahill Cathleen Knowles Tom Hartley (1984–86) Joe Reilly (1986–88) Lucilita Bhreatnach (1988–2003) Mitchel McLaughlin
Mitchel McLaughlin
(2003–07) Rita O'Hare
Rita O'Hare
(2007–09) Dawn Doyle
Dawn Doyle

Directors of publicity

Seán Ó Brádaigh (1960–79) Danny Morrison (1979–90) Rita O'Hare
Rita O'Hare
(1990–98) Dawn Doyle
Dawn Doyle
(1998–2008) Rosaleen Doherty (2008–)

Party structures

Leader of Sinn Féin Ardfheis Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Front Bench Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Republican Youth An Phoblacht Friends of Sinn Féin

Presidential candidates

Martin McGuinness
Martin McGuinness

Elected representatives

Dáil Éireann

Gerry Adams John Brady Pat Buckley Seán Crowe David Cullinane Pearse Doherty Dessie Ellis Martin Ferris Kathleen Funchion Martin Kenny Mary Lou McDonald Denise Mitchell Imelda Munster Carol Nolan Jonathan O'Brien Eoin Ó Broin Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Louise O'Reilly Aengus Ó Snodaigh Maurice Quinlivan Brian Stanley Peadar Tóibín

Seanad Éireann

Rose Conway-Walsh Máire Devine Paul Gavan Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Niall Ó Donnghaile Fintan Warfield

European Parliament

Martina Anderson Lynn Boylan Matt Carthy Liadh Ní Riada

Northern Ireland Assembly

Caoimhe Archibald Cathal Boylan Michaela Boyle Linda Dillon Jemma Dolan Sinéad Ennis Megan Fearon Órlaithí Flynn Colm Gildernew Declan Kearney Catherine Kelly Gerry Kelly Seán Lynch Alex Maskey Declan McAleer Raymond McCartney Fra McCann Philip McGuigan Ian Milne Karen Mullan Conor Murphy Carál Ní Chuilín John O'Dowd Máirtín Ó Muilleoir Michelle O'Neill Emma Rogan Pat Sheehan

House of Commons (Abstentionist)

Mickey Brady Michelle Gildernew Chris Hazzard Paul Maskey Elisha McCallion Barry McElduff Francie Molloy


List of current Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
elected representatives


European United Left–Nordic Green Left

v t e

Conradh na Gaeilge

Teanga Ten (founders)

Dubhghlas de hÍde Eoin Mac Néill Liam Ó hAodáin Pádraig Ó Briain Tomás Ó Néill Ruiséal Séarlus Persi Buais Tomás Ellerkerr Séamus Mac Cogadháin Mártan Ó Ceallaigh Pádraig Ó hÓgáin


Dubhghlas de hÍde Eoin Mac Néill Seán Ó Cellaigh Peadar Toner Mac Fhionnlaoich Seán P. Mac Énrí Cormac Breathnach Mac Giolla Bhríde Peadar Toner Mac Fhionnlaoich Liam Ó Buachalla Seán Ó Tuama Diarmuid Mac Fhionnlaoich Seán Mac Gearailt Liam Ó Luanaigh Diarmuid Mac Fhionnlaoich Annraoi Ó Liatháin Seán Mac Gearailt Tomás Ó Muircheartaigh Micheál Mac Cárthaigh Cathal Ó Feinneadha Maolsheachlainn Ó Caollaí Pádraig Ó Snodaigh Albert Fry Micheál Ó Murchú Íte Ní Chionnaith Proinsias Mac Aonghusa Áine de Baróid Gearóid Ó Cairealláin Tomás Mac Ruairí Séagh Mac Siúrdáin Nollaig Ó Gadhra Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa Donnchadh Ó hAodha Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill Niall Comer


Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge (1893-1909) An Claidheamh Soluis
An Claidheamh Soluis
(1899-1931) Feasta

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 70985000 LCCN: no96037694 ISNI: 0000 0000 4207 2556 GND: 1055110852 SUDOC: 126075