JAMES N. DOLAN (1884-1955) – Leitrim’s first TD.

James N., a younger brother of Charles J. Dolan, began an apprenticeship in his father’s drapery business (in the present-day AIB Bank) at the age of seventeen.  He supported his brother in the 1908 by-election and from then on pursued the goal of Irish nationalism.  He was a founder member of branches of the Gaelic League and the Irish Volunteers in Manorhamilton, but was also recruited into the IRB by Seán Mac Diarmada.  When the Volunteers split in September 1914, Dolan led the breakaway group at local level who continued to drill and parade at home.  After Easter Week 1916, James N. and six others from Manorhamilton were arrested by the British and interned in Frongoch, Wales.  Arrested again a year later, he was still in jail when he was elected Sinn Fein TD for the new single-seater Leitrim constituency.  Dolan was strongly opposed to the violence of the IRA during the War of Independence.  Instead he took an active part in the setting up of the Sinn Fein Courts, which many believed proved a greater threat to British authority in Ireland than armed resistance.  Dolan was a supporter of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, believing that it was one step forward in the development of the country.  James N. and his family moved to Dublin in 1923 and the following year he was appointed parliamentary secretary to William T. Cosgrave, president of the Executive Council.  In 1927 he became parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Industry and Commerce.  He failed to get re-elected in 1937 and retired from politics.  James N. had married Loretto O’Reilly from Granard in 1914. He died on 13th July 1955 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.  He was survived by his wife, four sons and two daughters.