The Info List - Seán MacBride

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Seán MacBride
Seán MacBride
(26 January 1904 – 15 January 1988) was an Irish government minister, a prominent international politician and a Chief of Staff of the IRA.[1] Rising from a domestic Irish political career, he founded or participated in many international organisations of the 20th century, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
and Amnesty International. He received the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
in 1974, the Lenin Peace Prize for 1975–1976 and the UNESCO
Silver Medal for Service in 1980.


1 Early years 2 Clann na Poblachta 3 International politics 4 Human rights 5 Career summary 6 Further reading 7 References 8 External links

Early years[edit] MacBride was born in Paris
in 1904, the son of Major John MacBride[2] and Maud Gonne. His first language was French. He first studied at the Lycée Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague. He remained in Paris
until his father's execution after the Easter Rising
Easter Rising
of 1916, when he was sent to school at Mount St Benedict's, Gorey, County Wexford
County Wexford
in Ireland. In 1919, aged 15, he joined the Irish Volunteers, which fought as part of the Irish Republican Army, and took part in the Irish War of Independence. He opposed the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
and was imprisoned by the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
during the Civil War.[3] On his release in 1924, MacBride studied law at University College Dublin
and resumed his IRA activities.[4] He worked briefly for Éamon de Valera as his personal secretary, travelling with him to Rome to meet various dignitaries. In January 1925, on his twenty-first birthday, MacBride married Catalina "Kid" Bulfin, a woman four years his senior who shared his political views.[5] Bulfin was the daughter of the Irish nationalist publisher and travel-writer William Bulfin. Before returning to Dublin
in 1927, where he became the IRA's Director of Intelligence, MacBride worked as a journalist in Paris
and London. Soon after his return, he was arrested and charged with the murder of politician Kevin O'Higgins, who had been assassinated near his home in Booterstown, County Dublin. MacBride was able to prove, however, that he was on his way back to Ireland at the time, as he was able to call unionist-turned- Cumann na nGaedheal politician Bryan Cooper, whom he had met on the boat home, as a witness. He was then charged with being a subversive and interned in Mountjoy Prison.[6] Towards the end of the 1920s, after many supporters had left to join Fianna Fáil, some members of the IRA started pushing for a more left-wing agenda. After the IRA Army Council voted down the idea, MacBride launched a new movement, Saor Éire ("Free Ireland"), in 1931. Although it was a non-military organisation, Saor Éire was declared unlawful along with the IRA, Cumann na mBan
Cumann na mBan
and nine other bodies. MacBride, meanwhile, became the security services' number-one target.[7] In 1936, the IRA's chief of staff Moss Twomey was sent to prison for three years. He was replaced by MacBride. At the time, the movement was in a state of disarray, with conflicts between several factions and personalities. Tom Barry was appointed chief of staff to head up a military operation against the British, an action with which MacBride did not agree.[8] In 1937, MacBride was called to the bar. He then resigned from the IRA when the Constitution of Ireland
Constitution of Ireland
was enacted later that year. As a barrister, MacBride frequently defended IRA political prisoners, but was unsuccessful in stopping the execution in 1944 of Charlie Kerins, convicted of killing Garda Detective Denis O'Brien in 1942. In 1946, during the inquest into the death of Seán McCaughey, MacBride embarrassed the authorities by forcing them to admit that the conditions in Portlaoise Prison were inhumane.[9] Clann na Poblachta[edit] Main article: Clann na Poblachta In 1946, MacBride founded the republican/socialist party Clann na Poblachta. He hoped it would replace Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil
as Ireland's major political party. In October 1947, he won a seat in Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
at a by-election in the Dublin
County constituency.[10] On the same day, Patrick Kinane also won the Tipperary by-election for Clann na Poblachta.[11] However, at the 1948 general election Clann na Poblachta won only ten seats. The party joined with Fine Gael, Labour Party, National Labour Party, Clann na Talmhan and independents to form the First Inter-Party Government with Fine Gael
Fine Gael
TD John A. Costello
John A. Costello
as Taoiseach. Richard Mulcahy was the leader of Fine Gael, but MacBride and many other Irish Republicans had never forgiven Mulcahy for his role in carrying out 77 executions under the government of the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
in the 1920s during the Irish Civil War. To gain the support of Clann na Poblachta, Mulcahy stepped aside in favour of Costello. Two Clann na Poblachta TDs joined the cabinet; MacBride became Minister for External Affairs[2] while Noël Browne became Minister for Health. MacBride was Minister of External Affairs when the Council of Europe was drafting the European Convention on Human Rights. He served as President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
from 1949 to 1950 and is credited with being a key force in securing the acceptance of this convention, which was finally signed in Rome on 4 November 1950. In 1950, he was president of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Council of Europe, and he was vice-president of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC, later OECD) in 1948–51. He was responsible for Ireland not joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).[12] He was instrumental in the implementation of the Repeal of the External Relations Act and the Declaration of the Republic of Ireland in 1949. On Easter Monday, 18 April 1949, the state left the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1951, MacBride controversially ordered Noël Browne to resign as a minister over the Mother and Child Scheme after it was attacked by the Irish Catholic hierarchy and the Irish medical establishment.[13] Whatever the merits of the scheme, or of Browne, MacBride concluded in a Cabinet memorandum:

"Even if, as Catholics, we were prepared to take the responsibility of disregarding [the Hierarchy's] views, which I do not think we can do, it would be politically impossible to do so . . . We are dealing with the considered views of the leaders of the Catholic Church to which the vast majority of our people belong; these views cannot be ignored."[14]

Also in 1951, Clann na Poblachta was reduced to two seats after the general election. MacBride kept his seat and was re-elected again in 1954. Opposing the internment of IRA suspects during the Border Campaign (1956–62), he contested both the 1957 and 1961 general elections but failed to be elected both times. He then retired from politics and continued practising as a barrister. He expressed an interest in running as an independent candidate for the 1983 Irish presidential election, but he did not receive sufficient backing and ultimately did not contest. International politics[edit]

Seán MacBride
Seán MacBride
in 1986

MacBride was a founding member of Amnesty International
Amnesty International
and served as its International chairman. He was Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists
International Commission of Jurists
from 1963 to 1971. Following this, he was also elected Chair (1968–1974) and later President (1974–1985) of the International Peace Bureau in Geneva. He was Vice-President of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation and President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.[15] He drafted the constitution of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU); and also the first constitution of Ghana
(the first UK African colony to achieve independence) which lasted for nine years until the coup of 1966. Some of MacBride's appointments to the United Nations System
United Nations System

Assistant Secretary-General President of the General Assembly High Commissioner for Refugees High Commissioner for Namibia President of UNESCO's International Commission for the Study of Communications Problems, which produced the controversial 1980 MacBride report.

Human rights[edit] Throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, MacBride worked for human rights worldwide. He took an Irish case to the European Court of Human Rights after hundreds of suspected IRA members were interned without trial in the Republic of Ireland in 1958. He was among a group of lawyers who founded JUSTICE—the UK-based human rights and law reform organisation—initially to monitor the show trials after the 1956 Budapest uprising, but which later became the UK section of the International Commission of Jurists. He was active in a number of international organisations concerned with human rights, among them the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund (trustee). In 1973, he was elected by the General Assembly to the post of High Commissioner for Namibia, with the rank of Assistant Secretary-General. The actions of his father John MacBride
John MacBride
in leading the Irish Transvaal Brigade
Irish Transvaal Brigade
(known as MacBride's Brigade) for the Boers against the British Army, in the Boer
War, gave Seán MacBride
Seán MacBride
a unique access to South Africa's apartheid government. In 1977, he was appointed president of the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems, set up by UNESCO. In 1980 he was appointed Chairman of UNESCO. MacBride's work was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
(1974)[16] as a man who "mobilised the conscience of the world in the fight against injustice". He later received the Lenin Peace Prize
Lenin Peace Prize
(1975–76) and the UNESCO
Silver Medal for Service (1980). During the 1980s, he initiated the Appeal by Lawyers against Nuclear War[17] which was jointly sponsored by the International Peace Bureau and the International Progress Organization. In close co-operation with Francis Boyle and Hans Köchler
Hans Köchler
of the International Progress Organization he lobbied the General Assembly for a resolution demanding an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legality of nuclear arms. The Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons was eventually handed down by the ICJ in 1996. In 1982, MacBride was chairman of the International Commission to enquire into reported violations of International Law by Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon. The other members were Richard Falk, Kader Asmal, Brian Bercusson, Géraud de la Pradelle, and Stefan Wild. The commission's report, which concluded that "the government of Israel has committed acts of aggression contrary to international law", was published in 1983 under the title Israel in Lebanon.[18] He proposed a plan in 1984, known as the MacBride Principles, which he argued would eliminate discrimination against Roman Catholics
Roman Catholics
by employers in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
and received widespread support for it in the United States and from Sinn Féin. However the MacBride Principles were criticised by the Irish and British Governments and most Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
parties, including the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), as unworkable and counterproductive. He was also a keen pan-Celticist. In his later years, MacBride lived in his mother's home, Roebuck House, that served as a meeting place for many years for Irish nationalists, as well as in the Parisian arrondissement where he grew up with his mother, and enjoyed strolling along boyhood paths. He maintained a soft-spoken, unassuming demeanor despite his fame. While strolling through the Centre Pompidou
Centre Pompidou
Museum in 1979, and happening upon an exhibit for Amnesty International, he whispered to a colleague "Amnesty, you know, was one of my children."[citation needed] Seán MacBride
Seán MacBride
died in Dublin
on 15 January 1988, eleven days before his 84th birthday. He is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, among Irish patriots, in a simple grave with his mother and wife who died in 1976. Career summary[edit]

1946–1965 Leader of Clann na Poblachta 1947–1958 Member of Dáil Éireann 1948–1951 Minister for External Affairs of Ireland in Inter-Party Government 1948–1951 Vice-President of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) 1950 President, Committee of Ministers of Council of Europe 1954 Offered but declined, Ministerial office in Irish Government 1963–1971 Secretary-General, International Commission of Jurists 1966 Consultant to the Pontifical Commission on Justice and Peace 1961–1975 chairman Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Executive 1968–1974 Chairman of the Executive International Peace Bureau 1975–1985 President of the Executive International Peace Bureau 1968–1974 chairman Special
Committee of International NGOs on Human Rights (Geneva) 1973 vice-chairman, Congress of World Peace Forces (Moscow, October 1973) 1973 Vice-President, World Federation of United Nations
United Nations
Associations 1973–1977 Elected by the General Assembly of the United Nations
United Nations
to the post of United Nations
United Nations
Commissioner for Namibia with rank of Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations 1977–1980 chairman, Commission on International Communication for UNESCO 1982 Chairman of the International Commission to enquire into reported violations of International Law by Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon

Further reading[edit]

Keane, Elizabeth (2006). An Irish Statesman and Revolutionary: The Nationalist and Internationalist Politics of Seán MacBride. Tauris. 


^ "Mr. Seán MacBride". Oireachtas
Members Database. Retrieved 22 September 2009.  ^ a b Saturday Evening Post; 23 April 1949, Vol. 221 Issue 43, pp. 31–174, 5p ^ Jordan, Anthony J. (1993). Seán MacBride: A Biography. Dublin: Blackwater Press. pp. 26–35. ISBN 0-86121-453-6.  ^ Jordan (1993), p. 41. ^ Jordan (1993), p. 42. ^ Jordan (1993), p. 47. ^ Jordan (1993), p. 57. ^ Jordan (1993), p. 70. ^ Hanley, Brian (2010). The IRA: A Documentary History 1916–2005. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. p. 122. ISBN 0717148130.  ^ "Seán MacBride". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 22 December 2009.  ^ Jordan (1993), pp. 86–98 ^ Jordan (1993), p. 115 ^ Jordan (1993), pp. 125–140 ^ Ronan Fanning (6 December 2009) The age of our craven deference is finally over. The Independent. ^ Jordan (1993), pp. 157–165 ^ United Nations
United Nations
Chronicle, Sep95, Vol. 32 Issue 3, p. 14, 2/5p, 1c; (AN 9511075547) ^ Appeal by Lawyers against Nuclear War. I-p-o.org. Retrieved 30 July 2012. ^ MacBride, Seán; A. K. Asmal; B. Bercusson; R. A. Falk; G. de la Pradelle; S. Wild (1983). Israel in Lebanon: The Report of International Commission to enquire into reported violations of International Law by Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon. London: Ithaca Press. p. 191. ISBN 0-903729-96-2. 

External links[edit]

Appearances on C-SPAN

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Seán MacBride.


Preceded by Patrick Fogarty (Fianna Fáil) Clann na Poblachta Teachta Dála for Dublin
County 1947–1948 Succeeded by Constituency reduced to 3 seats

New constituency Clann na Poblachta Teachta Dála for Dublin
South-West 1948–1957 Succeeded by Noel Lemass, Jnr (Fianna Fáil)

Political offices

Preceded by Éamon de Valera Minister for External Affairs 1948–1951 Succeeded by Frank Aiken

Party political offices

New political party Leader of Clann na Poblachta 1946–1965 Succeeded by Party disbanded

v t e

Costello Cabinet (1948–51)

Taoiseach: John A. Costello

Joseph Blowick Noël Browne James Dillon James Everett Michael Keyes Seán MacBride Seán Mac Eoin Patrick McGilligan Daniel Morrissey Richard Mulcahy Timothy J. Murphy William Norton Thomas F. O'Higgins

v t e

Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Ireland

George Noble Plunkett Arthur Griffith George Gavan Duffy Michael Hayes Desmond FitzGerald Kevin O'Higgins W. T. Cosgrave Patrick McGilligan Éamon de Valera Seán MacBride Frank Aiken Liam Cosgrave Patrick Hillery Brian Lenihan, Snr Garret FitzGerald Michael O'Kennedy John Kelly James Dooge Gerry Collins Peter Barry David Andrews Dick Spring Albert Reynolds Ray Burke Brian Cowen Dermot Ahern Micheál Martin Eamon Gilmore Charles Flanagan Simon Coveney

v t e

Laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize


1901 Henry Dunant / Frédéric Passy 1902 Élie Ducommun / Charles Gobat 1903 Randal Cremer 1904 Institut de Droit International 1905 Bertha von Suttner 1906 Theodore Roosevelt 1907 Ernesto Moneta / Louis Renault 1908 Klas Arnoldson / Fredrik Bajer 1909 A. M. F. Beernaert / Paul Estournelles de Constant 1910 International Peace Bureau 1911 Tobias Asser / Alfred Fried 1912 Elihu Root 1913 Henri La Fontaine 1914 1915 1916 1917 International Committee of the Red Cross 1918 1919 Woodrow Wilson 1920 Léon Bourgeois 1921 Hjalmar Branting / Christian Lange 1922 Fridtjof Nansen 1923 1924 1925 Austen Chamberlain / Charles Dawes


1926 Aristide Briand / Gustav Stresemann 1927 Ferdinand Buisson / Ludwig Quidde 1928 1929 Frank B. Kellogg 1930 Nathan Söderblom 1931 Jane Addams / Nicholas Butler 1932 1933 Norman Angell 1934 Arthur Henderson 1935 Carl von Ossietzky 1936 Carlos Saavedra Lamas 1937 Robert Cecil 1938 Nansen International Office for Refugees 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 International Committee of the Red Cross 1945 Cordell Hull 1946 Emily Balch / John Mott 1947 Friends Service Council / American Friends Service Committee 1948 1949 John Boyd Orr 1950 Ralph Bunche


1951 Léon Jouhaux 1952 Albert Schweitzer 1953 George Marshall 1954 United Nations
United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees 1955 1956 1957 Lester B. Pearson 1958 Georges Pire 1959 Philip Noel-Baker 1960 Albert Lutuli 1961 Dag Hammarskjöld 1962 Linus Pauling 1963 International Committee of the Red Cross / League of Red Cross Societies 1964 Martin Luther King Jr. 1965 UNICEF 1966 1967 1968 René Cassin 1969 International Labour Organization 1970 Norman Borlaug 1971 Willy Brandt 1972 1973 Lê Đức Thọ (declined award) / Henry Kissinger 1974 Seán MacBride / Eisaku Satō 1975 Andrei Sakharov


1976 Betty Williams / Mairead Corrigan 1977 Amnesty International 1978 Anwar Sadat / Menachem Begin 1979 Mother Teresa 1980 Adolfo Pérez Esquivel 1981 United Nations
United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees 1982 Alva Myrdal / Alfonso García Robles 1983 Lech Wałęsa 1984 Desmond Tutu 1985 International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War 1986 Elie Wiesel 1987 Óscar Arias 1988 UN Peacekeeping Forces 1989 Tenzin Gyatso (14th Dalai Lama) 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev 1991 Aung San Suu Kyi 1992 Rigoberta Menchú 1993 Nelson Mandela / F. W. de Klerk 1994 Shimon Peres / Yitzhak Rabin / Yasser Arafat 1995 Pugwash Conferences / Joseph Rotblat 1996 Carlos Belo / José Ramos-Horta 1997 International Campaign to Ban Landmines / Jody Williams 1998 John Hume / David Trimble 1999 Médecins Sans Frontières 2000 Kim Dae-jung


2001 United Nations / Kofi Annan 2002 Jimmy Carter 2003 Shirin Ebadi 2004 Wangari Maathai 2005 International Atomic Energy Agency / Mohamed ElBaradei 2006 Grameen Bank / Muhammad Yunus 2007 Al Gore / Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2008 Martti Ahtisaari 2009 Barack Obama 2010 Liu Xiaobo 2011 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf / Leymah Gbowee / Tawakkol Karman 2012 European Union 2013 Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons 2014 Kailash Satyarthi / Malala Yousafzai 2015 Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet 2016 Juan Manuel Santos 2017 International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

v t e

Irish Republican Army (1919–1922)


Genealogy Irish Volunteers Irish Citizen Army Easter Rising Sinn Féin Declaration of Independence Irish Republic Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
( First Dáil
First Dáil
& Second Dáil) Irish Bulletin Irish War of Independence Flying column Government of Ireland Act 1920 British Partition ( Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
& Southern Ireland) Anglo-Irish Treaty Irish Civil War Irish Free State


Brigades of the Irish Republican Army Irish Republican Police The Squad


Soloheadbeg ambush Rescue at Knocklong Listowel mutiny Rineen ambush Tooreen ambush Battle of Ballinalee Dublin
Bloody Sunday Kilmichael ambush Clonfin ambush Dromkeen ambush Upton train ambush Clonmult ambush Coolavokig ambush Sheemore ambush Clonbanin ambush Selton Hill ambush Burgery ambush Crossbarry ambush Headford ambush Scramoge ambush Kilmeena ambush Custom House burning Carrowkennedy ambush Coolacrease killings Belfast Bloody Sunday

Chiefs of Staff

Cathal Brugha
Cathal Brugha
(1917–19) Richard Mulcahy
Richard Mulcahy
(1919–22) Eoin O'Duffy
Eoin O'Duffy


Michael Collins JJ "Ginger" O'Connell Terence MacSwiney Emmet Dalton Dick McKee Paddy Daly Piaras Béaslaí Robert Erskine Childers Liam Mellows Joe McKelvey Frank Aiken Gearóid O'Sullivan Tom Maguire Seán Lemass Seán Mac Mahon Stephen Behan Andrew Cooney Seán Treacy Dan Breen Seán Hogan Séamus Robinson Tom Barry Seán Mac Eoin Charlie Hurley Seán O'Hegarty Seán Moylan Tom McEllistrim George Oliver Plunkett George Lennon Michael Kilroy Ernie O'Malley Frank Aiken Moss Twomey Tom Hales Sean Hales Peadar O'Donnell Liam Tobin Joseph McGrath Richard Barrett Louis Darcy


Irish Republican Brotherhood Cumann na mBan Fianna Éireann Clan na Gael Irish Self-Determination League National Association of Old IRA 1916–1921 Club


National Army Anti-Treaty Irish Republican Army

v t e

Irish Republican Army (1922–69)


Genealogy Irish Republican Army (1917–22) British Partition ( Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
& Southern Ireland) Anglo-Irish Treaty
Anglo-Irish Treaty
(in relation to the IRA) Irish Civil War
Irish Civil War
(Timeline & Executions) Munster Republic Comhairle na dTeachtaí Irish republican legitimism Abstentionism Collaboration with the Abwehr The Emergency Plan Kathleen Haughey arms crisis Officials-Provisionals split


IRA Army Council IRA Northern Command


Battle of Dublin Battle of Kilmallock Anti-Treaty Guerilla Campaign Christmas Raid Sabotage Campaign Northern Campaign Border Campaign

Chiefs of Staff

Liam Lynch (1922) Joe McKelvey (1922) Liam Lynch (1922–23) Frank Aiken
Frank Aiken
(1923–25) Andrew Cooney (1925–26) Moss Twomey (1926–36) Seán MacBride
Seán MacBride
(1936) Tom Barry (1936–37) Mick Fitzpatrick (1937-38) Seán Russell
Seán Russell
(1938-40) Stephen Hayes (1940–41) Pearse Kelly (1941) Seán Harrington (1941–42) Seán McCool (1942) Eoin McNamee (1942) Hugh McAteer (1942) Charlie Kerins (1942–44) Harry White (1944–45) Patrick Fleming (1945–47) Willie McGuinness (1947–48) Tony Magan (1948-57) Richard Burke (1957) Tony Magan (1957) Seán Cronin (1957–58) John Joe McGirl (1958) Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
(1958-59) Seán Cronin (1959–60) Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
(1960-62) Cathal Goulding (1962–69)


Cathal Brugha Liam Mellows Robert Erskine Childers Michael Carolan Richard Barrett Hugh Corvin Ernie O'Malley Tom Maguire Paddy McLogan Seamus O'Donovan Frank Ryan Máirtín Ó Cadhain Brendan Behan Dominic Behan Tomás Ó Dubhghaill Seán South Fergal O'Hanlon Manus Canning Seán Mac Stíofáin Joe Cahill Joe McCann Liam Kelly Tom Hales Peadar O'Donnell Éamonn O'Doherty Billy McKee


Cumann na mBan Fianna Éireann Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
(1922–26 & 1938–69) Clan na Gael National Graves Association Comhairle na Poblachta (1929–31) Saor Éire (1931) Cumann Poblachta na hÉireann (1936–37) Córas na Poblachta Connolly Association (Communist Party of Great Britain) Wolfe Tone Societies Clann na hÉireann


Republican Congress Saor Uladh Provisional Irish Republican Army Official Irish Republican Army

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 64008680 LCCN: n81028326 ISNI: 0000 0001 0908 5141 GND: 131831577 SELIBR: 319867 SUDOC: 026999609 BNF: cb119137550 (data) BIBSYS: 90153