Robert Rowlette

Robert James Rowlette (1873 – 13 October 1944) was an Irish medical doctor and an independent politician. He was later a member of Seanad Éireann.[1]

Education and career

Rowlette attended Sligo Grammar School and Trinity College Dublin, from which he received his M.D. in 1899.[2] He was, at various times, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and of the Royal Irish Academy of Medicine and the editor of the Journal of the Irish Medical Organisation.[2]

As well as holding several hospital appointments (including Mercer's Hospital) and consultancies, he was King's Professor of Materia Medica and Pharmacy in the University of Dublin and Professor in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.[2]

Military and Sporting Activities

During World War I he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, with the rank of Lieutenant colonel on his discharge. He was mentioned in dispatches while serving in France.[2]

He had a long involvement in long distance athletics, both as a competitor in his younger years and later in the administration of the Irish Amateur Athletics Association and, after 1922, the National Athletic and Cycling Association of Ireland.[3]

He was Honorary Physician to the British Olympic team at the 1920 Summer Olympics (Antwerp) and to the Irish teams at the 1924 Summer Olympics (Paris) and 1928 Summer Olympics (Amsterdam), the first two occasions on which an independent Irish team competed.[2]

Political career

Rowlette was elected to the 8th Dáil as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin University constituency at a by-election on 13 October 1933, following the death of sitting TD Sir James Craig.[4]

In 1938, the University constituencies were transferred to Seanad Éireann, and Rowlette was then elected for three successive terms, to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Seanads.[5] He failed to gain re-election to the Seanad in 1944, finishing as the runner-up by a margin of 5 votes out of a total valid poll of 2,297.[6]


  1. "Robert Rowlette". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  2. "Death of Dr. R.J. Rowlette", The Irish Times, 14 October 1944, p 1.
  3. For a general overview of the history of Irish athletics during this period, see "University Athletics in Ireland 1857–2000". Cyril M. White, PhD/Athletics Ireland website.
  4. "Robert Rowlette". Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  5. The pre-1937 Free State Seanad is deemed to be the first Seanad
  6. "Few Surprises in Senate elections", The Irish Times, 2 August 1944, p 1.
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