Eamonn Duggan

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Eamonn Duggan

Eamonn S. or Edmund J. Duggan (Irish: Éamon Ó Dúgáin;[1] 1874 – 6 June 1936) was an Irish lawyer, nationalist and politician, a member of Sinn Féin and then of Cumann na nGaedheal.[2]

Duggan was born in Longwood, County Meath. His father was a Royal Irish Constabulary officer from County Armagh serving in the village, his mother a local woman by the name of Dunne. Duggan qualified as a solicitor and soon became involved in politics. He became a supporter of Sinn Féin and fought in the Easter Rising in 1916; following the Rising, he was subject to court-martial and sentenced to three years' penal servitude. Duggan was released in 1917 under general amnesty and went back to practicing law. For a time, he also served as Irish Republican Army Director of Intelligence.

Duggan was elected to the First Dáil Éireann for South Meath in 1918.[3] He was re-arrested at the end of 1920, and not released until the end of the Irish War for Independence in July 1921. After the Truce he was appointed chief liaison officer for the Irish government. In October 1921, Duggan was appointed as one of the five envoys to negotiate and conclude a treaty with the British government. He signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty at 22 Hans Place, London.

In the post-Treaty provisional government he was appointed Minister for Home Affairs, and later became parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Defence and to the Executive Council. He declined to stand in the 1933 general election but was elected to Seanad Éireann.[4]

He died suddenly at Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin on 6 June 1936.

Early life

Eamonn Duggan or Edmund S. Duggan was born in Longwood, County Meath in 1874. His father was from County Armagh, a RIC officer who served in the village, his mother a local woman by the name of Dunne. Duggan was educated locally before beginning work as a law clerk. During his early years, he became heavily involved in politics after he qualified as a solicitor and set up a practice at 66 Dame Street in Dublin. Duggan was married to Miss E. Kavanagh and together they had one son.

As a keen supporter of Sinn Féin, Duggan fought in the 1916 Easter Rising; however, following its failure he was subject to court martial, and was sentenced to penal servitude for three years. Fortunately, under the general amnesty of 1917 he was released after 14 months in prison, and returned to Dublin where he went back to studying law. For a period, Duggan also served as Irish Republican Army Director of Intelligence.[5]

Involvement in politics

In 1918, Duggan was elected to the first Dáil Éireann for South Meath. The Drogheda Independent reported " Never before was a successful candidate accorded such a princely reception". He was re-arrested at the end of 1920, and was not released until the Anglo-Irish Truce of July 1921. When the truce concluded, Duggan was authorized as one out of the five envoys to discuss and finalise the treaty with the British Prime Minister, Llyod George. In London, Duggan signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty. After the post treaty government, Duggan was authorized The Minister of Home Affairs and shortly afterwards he became the parliamentary secretary for the Executive Council and For the Minister for Defence. Duggan continued various roles as a TD until 1933.[6] Until 1933, Duggan was a Cumann na NGael TD for Meath. In 1933, Duggan declined to go forward for the general election but was elected to senate. He also became the last citizen of the free state to take the oath as a member of the oireachtas and he also was involved in local politics in Dun Laoghaire as the chairman of the Borough Council until he died in 1936.[7]


In 1916, Duggan was part of Commandant Daly and therefore was serving in the North Dublin Union in the days approaching the 1916 rising and afterwards Father Matthew Hall. One of Duggan's close friends Thomas Allen was shot while Duggan was at the fourcourts. Duggans efforts to get medical assistance were unsuccessful at Richmond hospital as the British officer who responded to the call declined the message and didn't allow it to go through. Eventually medical assistance was received but it was too late for Allen. In Duggan's region, the volunteers suffered very few injuries with the most violent fighting taking place on Friday night and Saturday morning. Duggan suffered the consequences and was then sentenced to penal servitude which lasted three years. De Valera and Duggan's attempts at Lewes to fight the authorities and collapse the prison system proved to be victorious as in June 1917, they were both released and Duggan finally got to go back to Dublin and followed his previous roots in law and continued his career as a solicitor.[8]

After 1916

After 1916, Duggan was stationed in the Father Matthew Hall and at the North Dublin Union which took place during the Easter Rising and after this took place he was interned in Maidstone, Portland and Lewes jails. when Duggan was released in 1917, he continued his career in law and in 1918 he was then elected as a Sinn Féin MP for South Meath. Duggan engaged in the War of Independence. and his role in this was the IRA's Director of Intelligence, however this all came to and end in November 1920 when he was imprisoned again. Even though Duggan was in prison, he still a main figure in the organisation of a truce collaborating with British civil servants. RTE Commercial Enterprises, 2013) After all this Duggan conducted Eamonn de Valera whilst he had meetings with Prime Minister, David Lloyd George. Duggan was evidently a very successful man as he detained a numerous amount of ministerial posts in the Cumann na nGaedhal government. In 1921, Duggan played a role in the Irish delegation throughout the Anglo Irish discussions, the then played a dominant role in liaising British officials.[9]

Duggan's papers

Duggan wrote papers between 1913 and 1968 which reflected on his engagement in the Easter Rising. In his letters Duggan wrote about his the tough times he spent imprisoned in Lewes, Mountjoy and Portland. Duggan also wrote about his participation in Sinn Féin and how he was released in 1917, and in 1918, how he was triumphant in being a candidate for the South Meath constituency. Most of Duggans papers consisted of letters to his Fiancee and wife May Duggan which we wrote whilst he was in prison. Duggans papers were very personal as they consisted of photographs of him, his family members and his political associates etc. Also information of his time in Teachta Dala was included. In one of his letters Duggan which he wrote on 25 April 2016, that he referenced as 'The whole damn family' consisted of information from how his volunteers and him were being 'treated as princes' by the nuns in the convent nearby, receiving help from the children in the area and building barricades.In his letter, Duggan also writes about morale amongst his comrades and hearing rumours about a German who had landed in Kerry. News had emerged of Sean Connolly's death and that the British Army were unfair in concluding the rebellion. In Duggan's note, he proclaims that the letter should be sent to May Duggan who was his fiancee at the time. At the end of the letter Duggan referred to himself as 'Edmund' which he is also known as.[10]


Duggan died suddenly in June 1936, aged 62, and was buried in Glasnevin cemetery on the north side of County Dublin.


  1. ^ "Údarás ó Sheanascal an tSaorstáit". Dáil Éireann, Volume 2. 6 December 1922. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Mr. Edmund Duggan". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 20 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Brian M. Walker, ed. (1978). Parliamentary election results in Ireland 1801–1922. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. p. 190. ISBN 0-901714-12-7. 
  4. ^ "Edmund Duggan". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Karr, William. "Members of the First Dáil - Eamonn Duggan". The Irish Rising. William Karr. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  6. ^ Karr, William. "Members of the First Dáil - Eamonn Duggan". The Irish Rising. William Karr. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  7. ^ Navan & District Historical Society. "Duggan, Eamon (Patriot & Politician)". Navan & District Historical Society. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  8. ^ Collins 22 Society. "Eamonn Duggan". Collins 22 Society. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  9. ^ RTE. "The Men & Women of 1916: The Rebels Part 1". RTE Boston College. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  10. ^ "Éamonn Duggan Papers, 1913-1968". National Library of Ireland. National Library of Ireland. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Laurence Carew
Sinn Féin Member of Parliament for South Meath
Constituency abolished
New constituency Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for South Meath
Constituency abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
Austin Stack
Minister for Home Affairs
Jan 1922 – Sep 1922
Succeeded by
Kevin O'Higgins
Preceded by
Minister without portfolio
Sep 1922 – Dec 1922
Succeeded by
New office Parliamentary Secretary to the Executive Council
Office abolished
Preceded by
John M. O'Sullivan
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance
Succeeded by
Séamus Burke
Preceded by
James Dolan
Government Chief Whip
Succeeded by
Gerald Boland
Military offices
Preceded by
New position
Irish Republican Army Director of Intelligence
Succeeded by
Michael Collins
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