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Ernest Blythe

From Academic Kids

Ernest Blythe (Ir: Eárnan de Blaghd) (April 13, 1889February 23, 1975), Irish politician.

Ernest Blythe was born near Lisburn, County Antrim in 1889. He was the son of a farmer and was educated locally. At the age of fifteen he started working as a clerk in the Department of Agriculture in Dublin. Blythe also joined the Gaelic League and the IRB. In the Gaelic League his Irish teacher was Sinéad Flanagan, the future wife of Eamon de Valera. In 1909 Blythe became a junior news reporter with the North Down Herald.

Blythe soon became involved in the activities of the Irish Volunteers. This led to years of arrests, imprisonment, and hunger strikes. He spent the Easter Rising of 1916 in prison. Following the Irish (UK) general election, 1918 Blythe was elected as a TD for North Monaghan. From then until 1922 he served as Minister for Industry & Commerce. Blythe was a strong supporter of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and in 1923 he became Minister for Finance in President W.T. Cosgrave's first government. Blythe was committed to keeping a balanced budget at all costs, he did however fund the Ardnacrusha or Shannon Scheme. There was widespread criticism when he reduced old-age pensions from 10 shillings (50p) to 9 shillings (45p) a week. Blythe also served as Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and Vice-President of the Executive Council. Following the Irish General Election, 1933 Blythe was defeated. He served in the Irish Senate until the institution was abolished in 1936. He then retired from politics.

Throughout his life he was committed to the revival of the Irish language. He encouraged Micheál MacLiammoir and Hilton Edwards to found an Irish-language theatre in Galway. Between 1941 and 1967 he served as managing director of the Abbey Theatre. It was said that he rejected many good plays in favour of ones which were more financially rewarding. In 1957 he published an autobiographical account of his life until 1913.

Ernest Blythe died in Dublin on February 23, 1975.

Political Career



Preceded by:
William T. Cosgrave
Minister for Trade & Commerce
1919–1922
Succeeded by:
Joseph McGrath
Preceded by:
William T. Cosgrave
Minister for Local Government
1922–1927
Succeeded by:
Richard Mulcahy
Preceded by:
William T. Cosgrave
Minister for Finance
1923–1932
Succeeded by:
Seán MacEntee
Preceded by:
Kevin O'Higgins
Vice-President of the Executive Council
1927-1932
Succeeded by:
Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh
Preceded by:
James J. Walsh
Minister for Posts & Telegraphs
1927–1932
Succeeded by:
Joseph Connolly

Template:End box




Vice-Presidents of the Executive Council Government of Ireland

Kevin O'Higgins | Ernest Blythe | Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh |


Tánaistithe na hÉireann
Seán T. Ó Ceallaigh | Seán F. Lemass | William Norton | Seán MacEntee | Frank Aiken | Erskine H. Childers | Brendan Corish | George Colley | Michael O'Leary | Ray MacSharry | Dick Spring | Peter Barry | Brian Lenihan | John P. Wilson | Bertie Ahern | Mary Harney |

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