Joseph Sweeney (Irish politician)

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Joseph Aloysius Sweeney (13 June 1897 – 25 November 1980)[1] was an Irish politician and military commander.[2] He fought in the Easter Rising in the GPO and was a member of the IRA during the war of independence.[3]

Sweeney was born and raised in Burtonport, a town in The Rosses, a district in the west of County Donegal in Ulster. He received his secondary education at St. Enda's School in Rathfarnham, where Patrick Pearse was Headmaster.[4]

As the Sinn Féin candidate, Sweeney was elected to the British House of Commons as Member of Parliament (MP) for West Donegal at the 1918 general election, defeating the sitting nationalist Hugh Law. He did not attend (aged 21, he would have been the youngest MP), and instead participated in the First Dáil. He is the second youngest ever TD.

In 1921 he was one of six Sinn Féin candidates elected unopposed to the House of Commons of Southern Ireland for Donegal.[5] Again he did not attend and instead participated in the Second Dáil. In 1922 he was re-elected as a Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin candidate for Donegal and participated in the Third Dáil.

He served as a Major-General in the National Army during the Irish Civil War in the early 1920s.[4] Joe Sweeney fought on the pro-Treaty side during the civil war and remained in the army until his retirement in 1940. He later became Secretary of the Irish Red Cross in the Republic of Ireland.[6]

Having spent most of his life in Dublin, he died in 1980 aged 83.


  1. ^ "The Youngest Members of Parliament". United Kingdom Election Results website. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Mr. Joseph Sweeney". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b O’Donnell, Peadar The Gates Flew Open (1932) Ch 24
  5. ^ "Joseph Sweeney". Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  6. ^
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hugh Law
Member of Parliament for Donegal West
Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Edward Stanley
Baby of the House
Succeeded by
Esmond Harmsworth
New constituency Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Donegal West
Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
New constituency Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Donegal
Succeeded by
Patrick McFadden