Biography of McNeill, James (Séamus Mac Néill) - Archontology
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McNeill, James (Séamus Mac Néill)

Séamus Mac Néill = James McNeill

b. 27 Mar 1869, Glenarm, Co. Antrim, Ireland
d. 12 Dec 1938, London, England

Title: Seanascal Shaorstáit Eireann = Governor-General in and over the Irish Free State
Term: 1 Feb 1928 - 1 Nov 1932
Chronology: 16 Dec 1927, appointed, Commission passed under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet [1]
1 Feb 1928, took oath of office, public ceremony, Private Bill Court Room, Leinster House, Dublin [2]
1 Nov 1932, Commission is terminated [2]
Names/titles: Last name also spelled in English as MacNeill

James McNeill was educated at Belvedere College, Dublin, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He joined the Indian civil service retiring after a successful career in 1914. He returned to Ireland, where he joined the Sinn Féin party. McNeill was appointed High Commissioner for the Irish Free State in London (4 Jan 1923), a post to which his administrative abilities were well suited, and succeeded T.M.Healy as Governor-General in 1928. When Fianna Fáil came to power in February 1932 under Eamon de Valera it was made clear that McNeill's post was regarded as an objectionable symbol of British monarchy. On 3 Oct 1932 King George V, acting on the advice tendered by the President of the Executive Council, approved McNeill's relinquishing the office of Governor-General and handed him a copy of the relevant document in person. It was followed by the exchange of messages between McNeill and Vice-President of the Executive Council Sean T. O'Kelly; on 6 Oct 1932 O'Kelly informed the Executive Council that McNeill had agreed to vacating the office on 1 Nov 1932. In consequence, on 21 Oct 1932 the President of the Executive Council tendered to the King advice, in writing, to the effect that the relinquishment by McNeill of the office should take place on 1 Nov 1932, and on 28 Oct 1932 the King approved it in writing. Biography source: [4]

[1] Sexton (1989). Appendix E. Commission passed under the Royal Sign Manual and Signet, appointing James McNeill, Esquire, to be Governor-General of the Irish Free State.
[2] The Irish Times, No. 22,087, 2 Feb 1928, p. 7.
[3] Sexton (1989), pp. 140-141.
[4] "A Dictionary of Irish Biography", ed. by Henry Boylan (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1998).