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Seán Mac Diarmada (February 28, 1883May 12, 1916) (born John MacDermott, usually used the name Sean MacDermott) was one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland.

Mac Diarmada was born in Kiltycloghermarker County Leitrimmarker, where he was educated by the Irish Christian Brothers. In 1908 he moved to Dublinmarker, by which time he already had a long involvement in several Irish separatist and cultural organizations, including Sinn Féin, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Gaelic League. He was soon promoted to the Supreme Council of the IRB and eventually elected secretary.

In 1910 he became manager of the radical newspaper Irish Freedom, which he founded along with Bulmer Hobson and Denis McCullough. He also became a national organizer for the IRB, and was taken under the wing of veteran Fenian Tom Clarke. Indeed over the year the two became nearly inseparable. Shortly thereafter Mac Diarmada was stricken with polio and forced to walk with a cane.

In November 1913 Mac Diarmada was one of the original members of the Irish Volunteers, and continued to work to bring that organization under IRB control. In May 1915 Mac Diarmada was arrested in Tuammarker, County Galwaymarker, under the Defense of the Realm Act for giving a speech against enlisting into the British Army.

Easter Rising

Plaque outside offices in Dublin once used by Seán MacDiarmada
Following his release in September 1915, he joined the secret Military Committee of the IRB, which was responsible for planning the rising. Indeed Mac Diarmada and Clarke were the people most responsible for it.

Due to his disability, Mac Diarmada took little part in the fighting of Easter week, but was stationed at the headquarters in the General Post Officemarker. Following the surrender, he nearly escaped execution by blending in with the large body of prisoners.

He was eventually recognized by Daniel Hoey of G Division. Following a court-martial on May 9, Mac Diarmada was executed by firing squad on May 12 at the age of 33.

In September 1919 Hoey was shot dead by Michael Collins' Squad. The British Officer, Lee-Wilson, who ordered Mac Diarmada to be shot, rather than imprisoned, was also killed on Collins's order in Cork during the Irish War of Independence.

Seán MacDermott Street in Dublinmarker is named in his honour. So too is Mac Diarmada rail station in Sligomarker, and Páirc Seán Mac Diarmadamarker, the Gaelic Athletic Association stadium in Carrick-on-Shannonmarker. Sean MacDermott tower in Ballymun, demolished in 2005, was also named after him.

Footnotes

  1. Michael Collins: A Life;James Mackay p135
  2. Michael Collins: A Life;James Mackay p135


See also




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