Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: MacBride, Seán
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Irish revolutionary, politician, lawyer, and peace campaigner. He became chief of staff of the IRA in 1936 but left the movement after the 1937 constitution, and broke with it completely over its 1939 bombing campaign. He won a reputation as a great barrister for his defence of IRA suspects during the war years and founded Clann na Poblachta (Children of the Republic) in 1946. He took his party into coalition as part of the interparty government, 1948–51, in which he was minister for external affairs, and split the second interparty government in 1957 over its handling of the IRA's border campaign. He shared the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1974 with Japanese politician Eisaku Satō for his campaign for human rights.

After leaving politics in 1961 MacBride began a new career in human rights. He was secretary general of the International Commission of Jurists 1963–70, and chair of Amnesty International 1961–74. He was co-author of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and was awarded the Lenin peace prize in 1977.

MacBride was the son of Maj John MacBride, who was executed as a rebel in the Easter Rising of 1916, and Maud Gonne, the radical nationalist and muse of W B Yeats. Born in Paris, he was educated there and at University College, Dublin. He joined the IRA during the Anglo-Irish War (1919–21) and supported the republicans who opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921).

In 1937 he was called to the Irish Bar, and he was admitted to the Inner Bar in 1943. He was vice-president of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation 1948–51, and was delegate for Ireland to the Council of Europe in 1954. He was also chairman of the Irish Association of Jurists, and of the International Peace Bureau.

His publications include Civil Liberty (1948) and Our People Our Money (1951).

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles


Full text Article MacBride, Seán (1904-88)
Brewer's Dictionary of Irish Phrase and Fable

Politician and international jurist. The son of Maud GONNE and John MACBRIDE , Seán MacBride had a long and distinguished career as a...

Full text Article MacBride, Seán (1904 - 1988)
The Macmillan Encyclopedia

The son of the nationalist Maud Gonne (1866-1953), he was a member of the IRA, then of the Irish assembly (1947). He chaired...

Full text Article MacBride, Seán
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

(born Jan. 26, 1904, Paris, France—died Jan. 15, 1988, Dublin, Ire.) Irish statesman. He was born to Irish patriots: his mother was William Butler

See more from Credo