Northern Presbyterian Minister :Friend of De Valera

Posted By: November 08, 2014

                                            On this day—July 6, 1944

                                             Irish News November 8, 2014

A Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Dr. J A. H. Irwin, Amped, BD, Lucan County, Dublin is amongst those just elected on the National Executive of the Fianna Fail party. Dr. Irwin was a former minister of Killead Presbyterian Church, County Antrim. A native of Feeny, Co Derry, Rev. James Irwin (1876-1954) was one of the few Ulster Protestant clergymen to openly identify with the Republican cause during 1916-22. It was while minister of Killead in Co-Antrim that Irwin first offered his services to the underground Dail Ministry as an envoy in the United States.

In 1920 he spoke on platforms across North America with President DeValera.

On his return to Killead, he was arrested and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment bust was dramatically released following a threat by Canadian Presbyterians to ‘raise Cain.’

Irwin remained minister at Killead until 1926 when he moved to Edinburgh, returning to Ireland in 1933. He was a lifelong friend of De Valera, famously advising him on the 1937 Constitution.

Edited by Eamon Phoenix