Seán MacDiarmada - Intelligence Officer Of Republican Movement & 1916 Proclamation Signatory
Born in the year Michael Cusack founded the G.A.A. (1884), this Famous Son Of Ireland took a few turns on the road to the G.P.O. in 1916. He had a wondering lust and ran away from his Leitrim home when just fifteen and finished up on the streets of Glasgow.
Undaunted he relished his new life and worked there for two years and then took the boat to Belfast at seventeen.
In the Northern capital he joined the Gaelic League and began associating with numerous republicans who admired his youthful ideals and his progression in the movement was swift. He later joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and his composure for one so young gave him a good status and he was appointed organiser of the esteemed association for Belfast.
He also signed up to Arthur Griffith's Sinn Fein organisation and became one of the parties main activists in his native county Leitrim during an election. His organisational skills and depth of work as a canvasser of note, marked him out for special attention.
During an election campaign Seán was struck down with a virus that rendered him a lame step for the remainder of his life. He was later urged by Tom Clarke to come to Dublin and take over as national organiser for the Irish Republican Brotherhood. On acceptance of his new post the affairs of the organisation became rock solid and in 1911 he was instrumental in managing and producing a weekly newspaper ‘Irish Freedom’ which absorbed a vast amount of his time.
When the Volunteers emerged in 1913, Seán MacDiarmada was in their ranks and also in the Provisional Committee and he vehemently opposed John Redmond’s ideals for the movement. When a split arose as a consequence, he became a vital member of the Military Council alongside Padraig Pearse, and he was charged with planning the 1916 Easter Rising.
As plans escalated, Seán believed Eoin MacNeill should be encouraged to come on board with the Council but his efforts did not bear fruit. As the guns and other arms were being prepared in advance, Seán was assisting with intelligence work and played a major role.
As the Proclamation was scripted, he was requested to become one of the seven historic signatories.
He fought valiantly in the General Post Office on Easter Monday 1916 and when the word to surrender came, thirty two year old Seán knew he was walking to his death.
He was sentenced to execution by firing squad on the 12th May 1916.