James Hickey (Irish politician)
Hickey was one of twelve children in his family and was a native of Ballinagar, Mallow, County Cork. He moved to Cork at the age of 27 and found employment first with the Cork Steam Packet Company and later with John Daly and Company, then-manufacturers of Tanora. He joined the Labour Party about this time and became a trade union official. In 1931 he married Eileen Kiernan, with whom he had four children.
Hickey first stood for the Dáil at the 1937 general election for the Cork Borough constituency, but narrowly missed being elected. He was more successful at the 1938 general election, unseating Richard Anthony, a former Labour TD who left the Party in the 1920s and sat as an independent.
Hickey made international headlines in February 1939, when, as Lord Mayor of Cork, he refused to give a civic reception to the captain and crew of the German warship SMS Schlesien which was on a 'courtesy visit' to Cork Harbour flying the Nazi flag (in spite of Irish neutrality). The Schlesien was a 13,000 tonne World War I battleship. Hickey's reasoning for the refusal to entertain the German crew was stated to be a slight by the German media on the occasion of the death of Pope Pius XI some time earlier. Hickey said, "the insult given to the Catholic world on the death of the Pope, when the responsible German Press termed our Holy Father a political adventurer”.
Hickey was one of the six TDs who left Labour in 1944 to form the National Labour Party, and it was as a National Labour Party candidate that he was defeated at the 1943 and 1944 general elections. He was re-elected at the 1948 election as a National Labour candidate, and after the split in Labour was healed, he was returned to the Dáil for a final time at the 1951 general election.
- Poland, Pat (22 February 2019). "The day the Mayor of Cork snubbed Nazis!". Evening Echo. Cork. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
- "James Hickey". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Irish Times, 27 February 1939.
- See tribute from Michael O'Riordan, Communist Party of Ireland, to Hickey (part of speech to Labour Party conference, Cork, 1999). Communist Party of Ireland
- "James Hickey". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
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