Eamon Duggan 1878-1936

eamonn duggn


Born Edmond John (Eamon) Duggan in Richill, County Armagh on 2 March 1878, to William Duggan an R.I.C. Officer from County Wicklow and his wife Margaret Dunne from Longwood, County Meath. He was a Lawyer and a Nationalist. His parents married in Longwood on 19 October 1874. Following this, William was transferred to County Armagh as officers could not serve their wife's native county.

In 1914 he was admitted as a solicitor and built up a huge practice.

Although living in Dublin he kept in touch with his mother's native county of Meath and in 1915 he took up the case of tenants on an estate near Longwood.

These tenants apparently did not have the benefits of the land acts or land courts.

After much negotiation and correspondence Duggan  persuaded the estate owners to sell to their tenants on satisfactory terms. 

It was around this time that he had joined the First Dublin Battalion of the Irish Volunteers and he soon rose to the position of Adjutant Officer.  He became a supporter of Sinn Fein and fought in the Rising of Easter Week.  His company fought out of the North Dublin Union.  Among his companions was another Meath man, Thomas Allen, who was killed in the fighting.

After the rising had been suppressed a number of British officers who had been captured by Duggan's garrison, praised the manner in which they had been treated.  This was of little consolation to Duggan who now followed a path familiar to many of his fellow rebels.  After being court martialled he was sentenced to three years penal serviture but was released after serving 14 months, mostly in English jails such as Portland and Maidstone, before his release in June 1917.

Duggan acted as solicitor for the next of kin in the inquest on Thomas Ashe.

As early as September 1918, Sinn Fein had selected their candidates for both the Meath constuencies for the forthcoming December general election.  At a meeting of the South Meath executive in Kilmessan, the delegates  chose  Eamonn Duggan, a choice which the Drogheda Independent reported,  had evoked "much disgruntlment".  This was difficult to understand since he was a man of impressive credentials.

This election was the first to be contested in both Meath constituences since 1900.  The poll in South Meath was 62%.  Duggan won the seat handsomely.  The Drogheda Independent reported "Never before was a successful candidate accorded such a princely reception despite the drizzling rain on a cold mid winters night".  The Sinn Fein victories in both North and South Meath constituences were celebrated all over the county.

For Meath in the early months of 1919 opposition to Britian focused on demands to free the prisoners who had been arrested and detained since the mysterious "German Plot" of the previous May.  The reason  the campaign now gained momentum was because many of the newly elected Sinn Fein representatives were in jail when the first Dail assembled in the Mansion House, Dublin, on 2nd January 1919.

In Meath well attended meetings were held with priests often being amongst the platform speakers.  In Navan and Trim the main speaker was the new T.D., Eamonn Duggan. He was Director of Intelligence of the I.R.A and was rearrested at the end of 1920, not to be released until the Truce of July 1921.

From 11th October 1921 a delegation of five Irishmen, one of whom was Meath T.D. Eamonn Duggan were in the process of negotiating for the formal end to armed hostilities and the future of Ireland.  The outcome of these talks was the signed in London in the early hours of 6th December 1921 - a milestone in Irish history.

On 30th December 1921 there was a special meeting of Meath County Council which called on Dail Eireann to ratify the Treaty.  The Vice Chairman Martin O'Dwyer praised Duggan in the way he acted through the trying and difficult negotiations in London 

Duggan was elected to the First Dail as a member for South Meath in 1918 and was elected again in 1921.  After the Truce he was appointed Chief Liaison Officer for Ireland for the IRA for the period of the truce.  He was also appointed as one of the five envoys plenipotentiary to negotiate and conclude a treaty with the British.  He was one of the signatories of the Treaty on 6th December 1921.  In the post treaty government he was appointed Minister for Home Affairs in Michael Collins' Provisional Government and later became Parliamentary Secretary in the Free State Government from 1924 to 1932.

He remained as a Cumann na NGael T.D. for Meath until 1933.  He was elected to the Senate in 1933 and became the last citizen of the Free State to take the oath as a member of the Oireachtas.   He was also the first Chairman of Dun Laoghaire Borough Corporation.  He died suddenly in Dun Laoghaire om 6 July 1936.