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Dr Patrick McCartan (13 March 1878 – 28 March 1966) was an Irish republican and politician. He was born in Carrickmore, County Tyrone in 1873. He emigrated to the USA as a young man and became a member of Clan na Gael in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and edited the journal Irish Freedom. He returned to Ireland some years later and qualified as a doctor. He also continued working with nationalist politics and worked closely with Bulmer Hobson and Denis McCullough with the Dungannon Clubs and the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

He was also a close friend of Thomas Clarke but they fell out on the eve of the Easter Rising when McCartan sent word that the Tyrone volunteers would not rise until they received confirmation that the Pope had received word that a Rising was due to take place and that the German guns had landed in County Kerry. McCartan was arrested after the Rising and interned in an open prison in England. In 1917 he took "French leave" to return to Ireland and assist Sinn Féin in the by-elections being held throughout Ireland that year.

McCartan contested the by-election in South Armagh for Sinn Féin but lost out to the Irish Parliamentary Party candidate through Unionist tactical voting. He was later elected in a by-election in King's County Tullamore in 1918. He was re-elected in the 1918 UK general election and at the meeting of the First Dáil was appointed Sinn Féin’s representative in the USA where he would remain until 1921. While in the USA he renewed his acquaintance with his fellow Carrickmore native Joseph McGarrity. They persuaded Éamon de Valera to support the Philadelphia branch of Clan na Gael against the New York branch led by John Devoy and Judge Daniel Colohan in their struggle to focus the resources of the Friends of Irish Freedom to Irish independence rather than domestic American politics. McCartan also assisted with the development of the American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic.

He was re-elected for Leix–Offaly at the 1921 elections. He gave the Anglo-Irish Treaty his reluctant support though in the course of the Dáil debates, saying he would not "Vote for Chaos." He blamed all the Cabinet for the document and claimed that "The Republic of which Mr. de Valera was President is dead." He quit politics for the next twenty years through disillusionment.

He contested the 1945 Presidential election as an Independent candidate and secured 20% of the vote. He became a founder member of Clann na Poblachta and contested the 1948 general election without success though was nominated to Seanad Éireann that same year and remained a Senator until 1951.

In 1932 he published a book With De Valera in America.

McCartan's daughter, Deirdre, was married to Irish Folk musician Ronnie Drew.


  • J. Anthony Gaughan, Memoirs of Senator Joseph Connolly: A Founder of Modern Ireland (1996)
  • The O'Brien Press, Kathleen Clarke: Revolutionary Woman (1991)

External links

This page incorporates information from the Oireachtas Members Database



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