Historical information

Ryan was an Irish politician. He was elected to the First Dáil at the 1918 general election and, apart from the Third Dáil (1922–1923), held his seat for Wexford until his retirement at the 1965 general election. During his long career he served as Minister for Agriculture (1932–1947), Minister for Health and Social Welfare (1947–1948 and 1951–1954) and Minister for Finance (1957–1965). (Wikipedia)

While studying at university in 1913 Ryan became a founder-member of the Irish Volunteers and was sworn into the Irish Republican Brotherhood the following year. During the Easter Rising in 1916 Ryan was the medical officer in the General Post Office (GPO). He was, along with James Connolly, one of the last people to leave the GPO when the evacuation took place. Following the surrender of the patriots Ryan was deported to Stafford Jail in England and subsequently at Frongoch. He was released in August 1916.
Ryan rejoined the Volunteers immediately after his release from prison, and in June 1917 he was elected Commandant of the Wexford Battalion. His political career began the following year when he was elected as a Sinn Féin candidate for the constituency of Wexford South in the 1918 general election. Like his fellow Sinn Féin MPs Ryan refused to attend the Westminster Parliament. Instead he attended the proceedings of the First Dáil on 21 January 1919. As the War of Independence went on Ryan became Brigade Commandant of South Wexford and was also elected to Wexford County Council, serving as chairman on one occasion. In September 1919 he was arrested by the British and interned on Spike Island and later Beare Island until he was released after the truce with the other TDs to attend the deliberations of the Dáil concerning the Anglo-Irish Treaty which he voted against. Ryan was later imprisoned again during the subsequent Civil War, however, while interned he won back his Dáil seat as an abstentionist Sinn Féin TD at the 1923 general election. (Wikipedia)

Physical description

Image of a bearded man known as James Ryan.