The Info List - John Sweetman

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John Sweetman (9 August 1844 – 8 September 1936) was an Irish nationalist politician who served as an anti-Parnellite Member of Parliament (MP) in the 1890s, but later radicalised. He was one of the founders of Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
and was the party's president from 1908 to 1911.[1]


1 Early life 2 Political career 3 Radicalisation 4 References 5 Sources 6 External links

Early life[edit]

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He was the eldest son of John Sweetman (a Dublin brewer) and Honoria, daughter of Malachy O'Connor (a Dublin merchant). He was born in County Dublin
County Dublin
and educated at Downside School
Downside School
in Somerset. He lived at Drumbaragh, Kells, County Meath. He married Agnes Hanly in Navan, County Meath
County Meath
on 11 September 1895. They had six children. Political career[edit] In 1879 he was prominent enough in Irish nationalist circles to be a committee member and propose the election of Charles Stewart Parnell as president of the Irish Land League. In 1880 he visited Minnesota
and became involved with Bishop Ireland's scheme to settle poor Irish people in the State, recently vacated by the Eastern Dakota. On 27 December 1881 The Times published an article from 'a correspondent' (who may have been Sweetman himself) about 'An Irish Colony. Currie, Murray County, Minnesota'. The article explained that John Sweetman was the Managing Director of the Irish-American Colonization Company, "the principal organizer and practical director of the emigration...in order to make the most profitable selection of lands Mr Sweetman travelled through and carefully examined the States of Dakota and Minnesota, and also Manitoba, and finally purchased some 20,000 acres (80 km²) of prairie land situated in Murray County ...". Unfortunately the colonisation project was not a complete success, but it did help a number of people to obtain a better life in America. The Sweetman brewery in Dublin was purchased by the Guinness family in 1891. He was a major investor in the National Press newspaper. The Times of 3 June 1892 mentioned that "Mr John Sweetman of County Meath, who had contributed £1,000 as a donation to the fund for starting the National Press, had been unanimously selected for the Eastern Division". This was at a convention to select Nationalist candidates for the two Parliamentary constituencies in County Wicklow. He was elected at the 1892 general election as MP for East Wicklow as a member of the Anti-Parnellite faction of the Irish Parliamentary Party.[2] He became a Parnellite in 1895 and resigned the seat on 8 April 1895.[3] At the resulting by-election 26 April 1895, he stood as a Parnellite candidate but was defeated in a closely fought three-way contest.[4] At the general election in July 1895 he stood in North Meath, where he narrowly failed to unseat the sitting anti-Parnellite MP James Gibney.[5] Radicalisation[edit] By the early twentieth century he had become more radical. In 1905, speaking at the annual conference of the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland in response to a paper suggesting the replanting of the waste lands of Ireland as a remedy to emigration, he displayed considerable hostility to the "English" government. The Times reported that he said "it was not for that society to call upon its greatest enemy, the English government, to plant forests. The English government hated the Irish nation as that of Egypt hated the Jewish nation, and they must fight the Government with all the weapons that God had given them, just as Moses had fought the Egyptians. Unfortunately they had not the power to call down the ten plagues of Egypt upon the English Government, but they could boycott England's manufactures and her Navy and Army". He was one of the founders of Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
in 1905. He became the party's second president in 1908, succeeding Edward Martyn, and retained the presidency until 1911 when he stepped down, to be succeeded by Arthur Griffith. He was briefly arrested and detained after the 1916 Easter Rising. He turned down a Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
nomination for the 1918 general election on the grounds that he was too old; his cousin Roger Sweetman was Teachta Dála (TD) for North Wexford from 1918 to 1921. Sweetman supported the Pro-Treaty faction in the Civil War period but later denounced the government of W. T. Cosgrave
W. T. Cosgrave
for its abandonment of Griffith's protectionist economic policies, and supported Fianna Fáil after 1927. Throughout his life he wrote many letters to Irish newspapers, and in the late 1920s and early 1930s he was a contributor to The Leader edited by D. P. Moran. Sweetman was fiercely opposed to the Blueshirts
(of which his other cousin Gerard Sweetman was an enthusiastic member), comparing Eoin O'Duffy to Hitler. He also opposed plans to build a Catholic Cathedral in Merrion Square, where he himself lived, on the grounds that this would cause great trouble and inconvenience to the residents. He died in Dublin in 1936 aged 92. References[edit]

^ Sweetman archive, National Library of Ireland, Accession No. 6751 (2010) ^ Brian M. Walker, ed. (1978). Parliamentary election results in Ireland 1801–1922. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. p. 150. ISBN 0-901714-12-7.  ^ Department of Information Services (9 June 2009). "Appointments to the Chiltern Hundreds and Manor of Northstead Stewardships since 1850" (PDF). House of Commons Library. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 February 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2009.  ^ Walker, op. cit, page 151 ^ Walker, op. cit, page 155


Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Vol. II 1886-1918, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (The Harvester Press 1978) The Times (of London), editions of 27 December 1881, 5 April 1889, 3 June 1892, 5 July 1892, 10 April 1895, 17 September 1895 and 13 October 1905 and 10 September 1936.

External links[edit]

Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by John Sweetman

Parliament of the United Kingdom

Preceded by William Joseph Corbet Member of Parliament for East Wicklow 1892 – 1895 Succeeded by Edward Peter O'Kelly

Party political offices

Preceded by New position Vice-President of Sinn Féin 1905–1907 with Arthur Griffith Succeeded by Bulmer Hobson

Preceded by Edward Martyn President of Sinn Féin 1908–1911 Succeeded by Arthur Griffith

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
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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

Authority control

WorldCat Identiti