See more Se%C3%A1n MacBride articles on AOD.

Powered by
Share this page on
Article provided by Wikipedia

Main article: "Clann na Poblachta

In 1946, MacBride founded the republican/socialist party "Clann na Poblachta. He hoped it would replace "Fianna Fáil as Ireland's major political party. In October 1947, he won a seat in "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 "TD "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 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 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 Dr. 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 in 1986

MacBride was a founding member of "Amnesty International and served as its International chairman. He was Secretary-General of the "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 included:

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 in leading the "Irish Transvaal Brigade (known as MacBride's Brigade) for the "Boers against the "British Army, in the "Boer War, gave 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 (1974)[16] as a man who "mobilised the conscience of the world in the fight against injustice". He later received the "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 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 by employers in "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 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 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 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]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "Mr. Seán MacBride". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Saturday Evening Post; 23 April 1949, Vol. 221 Issue 43, pp. 31–174, 5p
  3. ^ Jordan, Anthony J. (1993). Seán MacBride: A Biography. Dublin: Blackwater Press. pp. 26–35. "ISBN "0-86121-453-6. 
  4. ^ Jordan (1993), p. 41.
  5. ^ Jordan (1993), p. 42.
  6. ^ Jordan (1993), p. 47.
  7. ^ Jordan (1993), p. 57.
  8. ^ Jordan (1993), p. 70.
  9. ^ Hanley, Brian (2010). The IRA: A Documentary History 1916–2005. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. p. 122. "ISBN "0717148130. 
  10. ^ "Seán MacBride". Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  11. ^ Jordan (1993), pp. 86–98
  12. ^ Jordan (1993), p. 115
  13. ^ Jordan (1993), pp. 125–140
  14. ^ Ronan Fanning (6 December 2009) The age of our craven deference is finally over. The Independent.
  15. ^ Jordan (1993), pp. 157–165
  16. ^ United Nations Chronicle, Sep95, Vol. 32 Issue 3, p. 14, 2/5p, 1c; (AN 9511075547)
  17. ^ Appeal by Lawyers against Nuclear War. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  18. ^ 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]

Preceded by
"Patrick Fogarty
("Fianna Fáil)
"Clann na Poblachta "Teachta Dála for "Dublin County
Succeeded by
Constituency reduced to 3 seats
New constituency "Clann na Poblachta "Teachta Dála for "Dublin South-West
Succeeded by
"Noel Lemass, Jnr
("Fianna Fáil)
Political offices
Preceded by
"Éamon de Valera
"Minister for External Affairs
Succeeded by
"Frank Aiken
Party political offices
New political party "Leader of Clann na Poblachta
Succeeded by
Party disbanded
) )