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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Members of the Tenth Dáil - James Hickey

 James Hickey

James Hickey (died 7 June 1966) was an Irish Labour Party politician who joined the short-lived breakaway National Labour Party.

Hickey first stood for the Dáil in the 1937 general election in the Cork Borough constituency, but narrowly missed being elected. He was more successful in the 1938 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, but was involved in the attack on Danzig, Poland, just seven months later at the start of WW II. 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”. See tribute from Michael O'Riordan, Communist Party of Ireland, to Hickey (part of speech to Labour Party conference, Cork, 1999).

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 to the 13th Dáil in 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 in the 1951 general election.

After his defeat in the 1954 general election, he stood unsuccessfully for election to Seanad Éireann, but was nominated to the 8th Seanad by the Taoiseach John A. Costello.

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