From Academic Kids

Seán MacEntee (18891984) was a senior Irish politician. He was a founding-member of Fianna Fáil and was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1927 and at each subsequent election until 1969. He served as Minister for Finance (1932–1939 & 1951–1954), Minister for Industry & Commerce (1939–1941), Minister for Local Government (1941–1948), Minister for Health (1957–1965) and Minister for Social Welfare (1957-1961). MacEntee served as Tánaiste of Ireland from 1959 to 1965. He was the last surviving member of the First Dáil Éireann and of the first Cabinet of Eamon de Valera.

Seán MacEntee was born in College Square, Belfast in 1889. He was educated at St Mary’s Christian Brothers School, St Malachy’s College and the Belfast Municipal College of Technology where he qualified as an electrical engineer. His early political involvement was with the Irish Socialist Republican Party in Belfast city. He worked as an engineer in Dundalk, County Louth, and was involved in the establishment of a local corps of the Irish Volunteers in the town. He fought in the General Post Office Garrison in the Easter Rising in 1916 and was sentenced to death, a sentence commuted to life imprisonment. He was released in the general amnesty in 1917, and was later elected a member of the National Executives of both Sinn Féin and the Irish Volunteers in October 1917. MacEntee was elected Sinn Féin MP for South Monaghan in the 1918 general election. An attempt to develop his career as a consulting engineer in Belfast was interrupted by the War of Independence. MacEntee served as Vice-Commandant of the Belfast Brigade of the IRA until April 1921 when he was transferred to Dublin to direct a special anti-partition campaign in connection with the May general election.

It was on the partition issue that he voted against the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. During the subsequent Civil War MacEntee commanded the IRA unit in Marlboro Street Post Office. He alter fought with Cathal Brugha in the Hamman Hotel, and was subsequently interned in Kilmainham and Gormanstown until December 1923.

After his release MacEntee devoted himself more fully to his engineering practice, although he did contest unsuccessfully the county Dublin by-election of 1924. He was a founder-member of Fianna Fáil in 1926 and was elected TD for County Dublin in the June 1927.

In 1932 MacEntee became Minister for Finance in the first Fianna Fáil government. In his long political career he also served as Minister for Local Government, Minister for Industry and Commerce, and Minister for Health & Social Welfare. He became Tánaiste under Sean Lemass in 1959, serving until 1965. Among the highlights of his ministerial career were the Anglo-Irish Financial Agreement (1938), the Trade Union Act (1941), the reorganisation of the health services, the establishment of separate departments of health and social welfare, and the fluoridation of water supplies in Ireland.

Seán MacEntee died in Dublin on January 10 1984. MacEntee's daughter is the Irish poet Máire Mhac an tSaoi (who is married to the former politician Conor Cruise O'Brien).

Political Career

Preceded by:
Ernest Blythe
Minister for Finance
Succeeded by:
Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh
Preceded by:
Seán F. Lemass
Minister for Industry & Commerce
Succeeded by:
Seán F. Lemass
Preceded by:
Eamon de Valera
Minister for Local Government & Public Health
Succeeded by:
Timothy J. Murphy
Preceded by:
Patrick McGilligan
Minister for Finance
Succeeded by:
Gerard Sweetman
Preceded by:
Tom O'Higgins
Minister for Health
Succeeded by:
Donagh O'Malley
Preceded by:
Patrick Smith
Minister for Social Welfare
Succeeded by:
Kevin Boland
Preceded by:
Seán F. Lemass
Succeeded by:
Frank Aiken

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