Frank Ryan

(1902 - 1944) Republican and Socialist.

Frank Ryan
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About Frank Ryan

Frank Ryan in (1902 - 1944) Republican and Socialist..

Born near Elton, Co. Limerick, educated at St Colmans College, Fermoy and UCD.

His university career was interrupted in 1922 by service on the Republican side during the Civil War and a year's internment. He was a member of the executive of the IRA and editor of its paper, An Phoblacht, and these activities led to his arrest.

In 1931 he helped to organize the radical Saor-Eire movement and in 1934 believing that republicanism without democracy meant fascism broke with the IRA in an effort to build up a united front in Ireland against fascism.

In 1936 he led a contingent of two hundred Irishmen to Spain to fight in the 15th (International) Brigade for the Republic against Franco. He reached the rank of major, but was wounded early in 1937 and sent home to recuperate.

On his return to Spain he was appointed brigade adjutant to General Miaja, commander of the Republican army. He was captured by Italian forces in April 1938 and sentenced to death.

De Valera, then Taoiseach, appealed at once to Franco for clemency and a nationwide campaign supported his appeal. His sentence was commuted to thirty year's imprisonment.

A year later by arrangement between the Irish, Spanish and German governments, he was set free and taken to Berlin. In Berlin he met Sean Russell, chief of staff of the IRA and left with him for Ireland in a German submarine. Russell died on board from peritonitis, and Ryan returned to Berlin, where German military intelligence treated him as a non-party neutral.

He died in a sanatorium in Dresden, on 10th June 1944.

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