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Cormac Breathnach (1885 – 29 May 1956) was an Irish politician and primary school teacher.[1]

He was born in County Kerry in 1885,[2] and known in his younger years as Charlie Walshe. Breathnach served as Lord Mayor of Dublin from 1949–1950 and had been involved in the National Labour Party before being convinced to switch his political allegiances by Éamon de Valera, the founder of Fianna Fáil. Breathnach was also president of the Gaelic League from 1926 until 1928.[3]

He was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1932 general election.[4] From 1932 to 1937 he served as a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for the Dublin North constituency. In 1937 he moved to the Dublin North-West constituency and served there until 1954. He did not contest the 1954 general election.[4]

Prior to entering politics Breathnach was a teacher. For a period he was engaged by the Gaelic League to teach Irish language and history in a number of national schools. His teaching influenced some of his pupils that later figured prominently in the War of Independence, including Dan Breen, Seán Treacy, Seán Hogan and Dinny Lacey. In his autobiography Breen noted:

"He did not confine his history lesson to the official textbook. He gave us the naked facts about the English conquest of Ireland and the manner in which our country was held in bondage. We learned about the Penal Laws, the systematic ruining of Irish trade, the elimination of our native language. He told us also of the ruthless manner in which Irish rebellions had been crushed. By the time we had passed from his class, we were no longer content to grow up 'happy English children' as envisaged by the Board of Education".[5]


  1. ^ Cormach Breathnach - Dáil database
  2. ^ Dictionary of Irish Biography - Cambridge University Press
  3. ^ The Gaelic League in the Irish Free State in the 1920s & 1930s
  4. ^ a b "Cormac Breathnach". Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  5. ^ My fight for Irish freedom, Dan Breen, Anvil Books 1981, page 9.
Civic offices
Preceded by
John Breen
Lord Mayor of Dublin
Succeeded by
Jack Belton