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James Ryan

From Academic Kids

Dr. James Ryan (December 6, 1891 - September 25, 1970), was a senior Irish politician. He was elected to Dáil Éireann in 1918 and held his seat almost continually in Wexford until his retirement in 1965. He has served as Minister for Agriculture (1932-1947), Minister for Health & Social Welfare (1947-1948 & 1951-1954) and Minister for Finance (1957-1965).

James Ryan was born on December 6, 1891 in Wexford. He was educated in Wexford and qualified in medicine from University College Dublin. As a medical student he joined the Irish Volunteers and served as medical officer in the GPO during the Easter Rising in 1916. He was sentenced to life imprisonment following the Rising, but was released in 1917 after an amnesty. In 1918 Ryan became a Sinn Féin MP for Wexford South. He supported the Republican side after the Treaty debates in 1921. He was elected Republican TD for Wexford in 1923 and in 1926 Ryan, along with de Valera, Lemass and others became a founder-member of Fianna Fáil.

In 1932 he was appointed Minister for Agriculture when Fianna Fáil came to power. He held that post until 1947 when he became the first ever Minister for Health & Social Welfare. Between 1957 and 1965 he served as Minister for Finance. He transformed the department to a dynamic one of economic affairs. He worked extensively with Dr T.K. Whitaker in laying the groundwork for the first Programme for Economic Expansion (1959). Ryan retired from Dáil politics in 1965 to his farm in County Wicklow. Between 1965 and 1969 he also served in the Upper House of the Oireachtas in Seanad Éireann.

Ryan's son and grandson subsequently became involved in politics. Eoin Ryan, Snr was a long-serving Senator in Seanad Éireann, serving at the same time as his father. James Ryan's grandson, also called Eoin Ryan, is currently a Fianna Fáil TD and a Member of the European Parliament.

Dr James Ryan died on September 25, 1970.

Political Career


Preceded by:
Patrick Hogan
Minister for Agriculture
1932–1947
Succeeded by:
Patrick Smith

Template:Succession box one to two

Preceded by:
John A. Costello
Minister for Health
1951–1954
Succeeded by:
Tom O'Higgins
Preceded by:
William Norton
Minister for Social Welfare
1951–1954
Succeeded by:
Brendan Corish
Preceded by:
Gerard Sweetman
Minister for Finance
1951–1954
Succeeded by:
Jack Lynch

Template:End box

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