John O'Neill (Irish senator)

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John O'Neill (died c.1 December 1941[1]) was an Irish businessman who was an Irish Free State senator in 1925.[2] He was formally independent, but took a pro-Cumann na nGaedheal line.[3] In 1925 he was living in Delgany, County Wicklow,[2] and described himself as a "cycle manufacturer and motor trader".[3] He owned O'Neill Motors,[4] a Dublin garage acquired in 1959 by Ryan's Car Hire.[5]

O'Neill served on several committees and commissions on industry and commerce. During the First World War he chaired the All-Ireland Munitions and Government Supplies Committee, which tried with limited success to secure war-related contracts for Irish firms.[2][6][7] He served on Lord Balfour of Burleigh's 1916–17 Committee on Commercial and Industrial Policy, dissenting from its final report in particular due to Ireland-specific issues.[8] He chaired the First Dáil's Commission of Inquiry into the Resources and Industries of Ireland,[9][10][11][12] and served on the Economic Relations Committee established in 1921 by Robert Barton, the Dáil's Minister for Economic Affairs, to advise on the economic aspects of the negotiations for the Anglo-Irish Treaty.[2][13] After independence, he advocated protectionism,[4] and served on a 1923 committee planning the takeover of the dockyard at Haulbowline.[2] In 1931 he was one of three members of the advisory committee under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act, 1924.[14] He was on the 1934–38 Banking Commission which led to the creation of the Central Bank of Ireland, attending 94 of its 150 meetings and subscribing to the majority report.[4][15][16]

O'Neill was elected to the Seanad at a by-election on 30 March 1925 to fill the vacancy created by the death of George Sigerson,[17] finishing one vote ahead of Patrick McCartan.[2] That September, he was defeated in the 1925 Seanad triennial election.[3] He stood unsuccessfully in the 1927 by-election to fill the vacancy created by the death of Stephen O'Mara, finishing fifth behind P. J. Brady.[9]


  1. ^ "Obituary: Mr. John O'Neill". The Irish Times. 2 December 1941. p. 5. Retrieved 7 April 2015. (Subscription required (help)).
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Public Business; Election of a Senator". Seanad Éireann debates. 30 March 1925. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Coakley, John (September 2005). "Ireland's Unique Electoral Experiment: The Senate Election of 1925". Irish Political Studies. 20 (3): 261–268. doi:10.1080/07907180500359327.
  4. ^ a b c Dunphy, Richard (2000). "The Enigma of Fianna Fáil: Party Strategy, Social Classes and the Politics of Hegemony". In Mike Cronin and John M. Regan. Ireland: The Politics of Independence, 1922–49. Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1057/9780230535695. ISBN 9780333720509.
  5. ^ "Car Hire Acquisition". Commercial Motor. 6 February 1959. p. 47. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  6. ^ Riordan, E.J. (1920). "XI: Government Contracts; (5) Munitions of War". Modern Irish trade and industry. historical introduction by George O'Brien. New York: E.P. Dutton. p. 214.
  7. ^ "Irish Conditions". The Electrical Review. 84 (2170). 27 June 1919.
  8. ^ Committee on commercial and industrial policy after the war (1918). "Memorandum by Mr. J. O'Neill". Final report. Command papers. Cd.9035. London: HMSO. pp. 71–72. OL 14007895M.
  9. ^ a b "Election of Senator". Seanad Éireann debates. 26 January 1927. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  10. ^ Carty, James (30 March 2012). Bibliography of Irish History 1912–1921. Andrews UK Limited. p. 128 No.1087. ISBN 9781781514832. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  11. ^ Commission of Inquiry into the Resources and Industries of Ireland (1920). Ad interim report on milk production (3rd ed.). Dublin.
  12. ^ Commission of Inquiry into the Resources and Industries of Ireland (1920). "First Day". Minutes of evidence. 1. p. 3.
  13. ^ Dempsey, Pauric J.; Shaun Boylan (November 2011). "Barton, Robert Childers" (PDF). Treaty Exhibition. National Archives of Ireland. p. 3. Retrieved 17 April 2015. [Barton] was made minister for economic affairs, and in that position established the economic relations committee to advise the government on the implications of the British government's financial proposals for the settlement of the Irish question, published after the truce.
  14. ^ "Trade Loans (Guarantee) (Amendment) Bill, 1931-Second Stage". Dáil Éireann debates. 24 June 1931. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  15. ^ Commission of Inquiry into Banking, Currency and Credit (6 August 1938). Report (PDF). Official publications. P.2628. Dublin: Stationery Office. pp. vi, 369, 415.
  16. ^ "Central Bank Bill, 1942—Second Stage". Seanad Éireann debates. 23 September 1942. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  17. ^ "Mr. John O'Neill". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
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