Imposing character: Archbishop held post for 30 years


BORN IN 1895 in Cavan, John Charles McQuaid was named archbishop of Dublin and primate of Ireland on November 11th, 1940, and consecrated in December of the same year, a position in which he would remain for more than 30 years.

An imposing character in Irish history, he had ties to Eamon de Valera, first as a colleague in Blackrock College in Dublin and latterly in their correspondence prior to the writing of the Constitution. De Valera was taoiseach when McQuaid became archbishop.

In 1951 McQuaid opposed the mother-and-child scheme proposed by minister for health Noel Browne to provide free maternity healthcare, and was central to its being withdrawn.

He had a distrust of Trinity College Dublin and was responsible for the extension of a ban on Catholics attending the institution without permission from the Catholic Church.

He was heavily involved in charitable work and school building, and was outspoken in his criticism of communism. He was also a friend of the poet Patrick Kavanagh.

He resigned as archbishop of Dublin on January 4th, 1972, and died just over a year later, on April 7th, 1973.