O'Brien, Conor Cruise (Donal Conor Cruise O'Brien), 1917–2008, Irish author, diplomat, and politician. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, he entered the department of external affairs of Ireland in 1944 and served as a counselor in Paris (1955–56) and as a member of the Irish delegation to the United Nations (1956–60). He left the diplomatic service after representing (1961) the UN secretary-general in Katanga in the Congo and was vice chancellor of the Univ. of Ghana (1962–65) and a professor at New York Univ. (1965–69); he also was pro-chancellor of the Univ. of Dublin (1972–94). In 1969 he entered the Irish parliament, the Dáil, and joined the government in 1973 as minister of posts and telegraphs, but he was defeated in 1977 because of his opposition to the Irish Republican Army and the Irish Republic's constitutional claim to Northern Ireland. He was an Irish senator from 1977 to 1979. A severe critic of the dangers of extreme nationalism in his homeland and elsewhere, he served as editor in chief of the Observer (1979–81). Among his books are Parnell and His Party, 1880–1890 (1957), To Katanga and Back (1962), Writers and Politics (1965), Power and Consciousness (1969), States of Ireland (1972), The Siege (1986), God Land (1988), and On the Eve of the Millennium (1995). O'Brien wrote insightfully on Edmund Burke in several works, at greatest length in The Great Melody (1992).
See his memoir (1998); biography by D. H. Akenson (1994); study by D. R. O. Lysaght (1977).