Michael Tierney (politician)

Michael Tierney (30 September 1894 – 10 May 1975) was Professor of Greek at University College Dublin (UCD) from 1923 to 1947 and President of UCD between 1947 and 1964, and was also a Cumann na nGaedheal politician.[1]

Michael Tierney
Teachta Dála
In office
September 1927  February 1932
In office
March 1925  June 1927
ConstituencyMayo North
Seanad Éireann
In office
Personal details
Born(1894-09-30)September 30, 1894
Castleblakeney, County Galway, Ireland
DiedMay 10, 1975(1975-05-10) (aged 80)
Political partyCumann na nGaedheal
Other political
Fine Gael


Tierney was born in 1894 in the townland of Esker, near Castleblakeney, County Galway, the son of Michael Tierney, a farmer, and Bridget Finn.[2][3][4] He attended St Joseph's College, Ballinasloe,[5] and entered UCD in October 1911. He graduated in 1914 with a first-class honours degree in Ancient Classics. Two years later he was awarded his MA degree, and he worked as an assistant lecturer in Greek from 1918 to 1919 and 1920 to 1922. In 1917 he won a National University of Ireland (NUI) travelling studentship in Classics and used it to study in the Sorbonne, British School at Athens and Berlin from 1919 to 1921. He was appointed to the Chair of Greek in 1922.[6]

Tierney was elected a Cumann na nGaedheal Teachta Dála (TD) for Mayo North in a by-election in 1925 and for the NUI constituency in 1927, a seat he held until 1932.[7][8]

Tierney came to corporatism through a study of Catholic social thought, and through an analysis of continental systems of corporatism, particularly those of Portugal and Austria. He was an early member of the Army Comrades Association (later known as the Blueshirts) and, along with Ernest Blythe, encouraged Eoin O'Duffy to become the leader. Tierney suggested the name "Fine Gael" for the new coalition between his party, the Centre Party and the Blueshirts.[9]

He was a member of Seanad Éireann from 1938 to 1944.[1]

He was the prime mover behind the transfer of UCD to its present site at Belfield. On 28 June 1923, he married Eibhlín MacNeill, daughter of Eoin MacNeill.[10] He wrote a biography of his father-in-law, Eoin MacNeill: scholar and man of action (1980).


  1. "Michael Tierney". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 8 February 2009.
  2. "General Registrar's Office" (PDF). IrishGenealogy.ie. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  3. Hogan, Jeremiah J. (1976). "Michael Tierney 1894-1975". Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review. 65 (259): 177–191. JSTOR 30089964.
  4. "National Archives: Census of Ireland 1901". www.census.nationalarchives.ie. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  5. "National Archives: Census of Ireland 1911". www.census.nationalarchives.ie. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  6. University College, Dublin. Archives Department; Manning, Kate (1880), "Group portraits", Tierney/MacNeill Photographs, UCD Library, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland, doi:10.7925/drs1.ivrla_34550
  7. "Michael Tierney". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 8 February 2009.
  8. Martin, Peter (2011). "The political career of Michael Tierney, 1920—44". Irish Historical Studies. 37 (147): 412–426. doi:10.1017/S002112140000273X. JSTOR 41414837.
  9. Maurice Manning, The Blueshirts, Dublin, 1970. p. 93
  10. "General Registrar's Office" (PDF). IrishGenealogy.ie. Retrieved 19 September 2019.

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