Lemass, Seán Francis

Lemass, Seán Francis, 1899–1971, Irish political leader, b. John Francis Lemass. He fought in the 1916 Easter Rising, the Irish war of independence, and the Irish civil war. A founding member of Fianna Fáil, he was first elected to the Irish parliament in 1924 and served there until 1969. From the early 1930s to the late 1950s, he served as minister for supplies and minister for industry and commerce under Eamon De Valera. Lemass was instrumental in transforming Ireland from its agricultural roots into a modern industrial nation with strong ties to Europe. After serving as deputy premier (1945–48, 1951–54, 1957–59,), Lemass was prime minister and party leader from 1959 to 1966, and he began the process of easing relations and increasing cooperation with Northern Ireland.

See biographies by J. Horgan (1997), T. Garvin (2009), and B. Evans (2011).

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