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Seán Cronin (29 August 1922 – 9 March 2011) was a journalist and former Irish Army officer and twice Irish Republican Army chief of staff.[1]

Seán Cronin
Seán Cronin.jpg
Chief of Staff of the IRA
In office
11 November 1957 – October 1958
Preceded byTony Magan
Succeeded byJohn Joe McGirl
In office
Late May 1959 – June 1960
Preceded byRuairí Ó Brádaigh
Succeeded byRuairí Ó Brádaigh
Personal details
Born(1922-08-29)29 August 1922
Dublin, Ireland
Died9 March 2011(2011-03-09) (aged 88)
Washington DC, United States of America
Military service
Branch/serviceDefence Forces
Irish Republican Army (1922–1969)
Battles/warsOperation Harvest

Cronin was born in Dublin but spent his childhood years in Ballinskelligs, in the County Kerry Gaeltacht.[2]

During the Second World War, Cronin was an officer in the Southern Command in the Irish Defence Forces. He later emigrated to New York City, where he found work as a journalist. In America, he became involved with Clan na Gael and later joined the Irish Republican Army.[2]

In 1955 he returned from the United States and began work as a subeditor in the Evening Press.[2]

He was soon put in charge of training in the IRA. He outlined his ideas in a booklet, Notes on Guerrilla Warfare. He became the chief strategist for Operation Harvest, a campaign which saw the carrying out a range of military operations from direct attacks on security installations to disruptive actions against infrastructure. He was arrested and imprisoned several times over the course of this campaign (1956–1962).[1]

On two occasions, from 1957 to 1958 and then 1959 to 1960, Cronin was IRA chief of staff. He also served as editor of the Sinn Féin United Irishman newspaper.[2]

Jailed for his activities, he left the IRA in 1962 after his release from prison.[2]

He later became a journalist for The Irish Times, becoming that paper's first Washington, DC correspondent.[2]

He was the author of a dozen books and pamphlets, including a biography of republican Frank Ryan, Washington's Irish Policy 1916-1986: Independence, Partition, Neutrality, an authoritative account of Irish-US relations; Our Own Red Blood about the 1916 Easter Rising; and a number of works on guerrilla strategy, including an early Sinn Féin pamphlet Resistance under the pseudonym of J. McGarrity.[2]

After several years of illness, Cronin died in Washington on 9 March 2011. He is survived by his second wife, Reva Rubenstein Cronin.[2]


  • Wolfe Tone. Dublin Directory: Wolfe Tone Bi-Centenary, 1963.
  • Jemmy Hope: A Man of the People. Scéim na gCeardchumann, 1964.
  • The Story of Kevin Barry, with a foreword by Commander-General Tom Barry. The National Publications Committee, 1965.

Reprinted by C.F.N. in 1983.

  • Our Own Red Blood :The Story of The 1916 Rising. Wolfe Tone Society, 1966 Reprinted 1976 and 2006.
  • The Rights of Man in Ireland. Wolfe Tone Society, 1970.
  • The Revolutionaries. Republican Publications, 1971.
  • Ireland Since The Treaty : fifty years after. Irish Freedom Press, 1971.
  • The McGarrity Papers: Revelations of the Irish Revolutionary Movement in Ireland and America, 1900-1940 Anvil Books, 1972.
  • Freedom the Wolfe Tone Way Anvil Books, 1973.
  • Tone's Republic : The Case Against Sectarianism Wolfe Tone Society, 1975.
  • Marx and the Irish Question. Repsol, 1977.
  • Frank Ryan : The Search for the Republic. Repsol, 1980.
  • Irish Nationalism : a history of its roots and ideology. Academy Press, 1980, US edition,

Continuum, 1981.

  • Washington's Irish policy 1916-1986 : independence, partition, neutrality. Anvil Books, 1987.
  • For Whom the Hangman's Rope was Spun : Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen. Repsol, 1991.


  1. ^ a b Brian Hanley and Scott Millar, The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers Party, pp. 12-13, ISBN 1-84488-120-2
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Patrick Smyth, "Veteran republican and first 'Irish Times' Washington correspondent dies aged 91", Irish Times, 10 March 2011.
Media offices
Preceded by
Editor of the United Irishman
Succeeded by
Seán Ó Brádaigh