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William Magennis (18 May 1867 – 30 March 1946) was an Irish politician and university professor. Born in Belfast, he was educated at Belvedere College, Dublin, and University College Dublin. In 1893 he was called to the Bar. He was professor of philosophy at Carysfort College and he held the Chair of Metaphysics at University College Dublin.[1]

Magennis was first elected to Dáil Éireann as an independent Teachta Dála (TD) for the National University of Ireland constituency at the 1922 general election. He was elected as a Cumann na nGaedhael TD for the same constituency at the 1923 general election.[2]

In 1926, he was one of the founders of a new political party called Clann Éireann. The party advocated the abolition of the Oath of Allegiance to the British King, called for lower taxes and less legislation and was critical of the report of the Boundary Commission.[1] The party attracted little support and it did not win any seats at the June 1927 general election, including the loss of Magennis' seat. He was nominated by the Taoiseach to the 2nd Seanad in 1938 and served as an independent member until his death in 1946.[3]

Speaking during the debate of the 1923 Censorship of Films Act,[4] which was one of the first pieces of significant legislation to be passed by the Irish Free State. Magennis declared: "Purity of mind and sanity of outlook upon life were long ago regarded as characteristic of our people. The loose views and the vile lowering of values that belong to other races and other peoples were being forced upon our people through the popularity of the cinematograph".[5]

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