Thanks to:

Tony & Mary Coyne Tony & Mary Coyne
Cllr. Paddy Kilduff Cllr. Paddy Kilduff

Shop - Radio Documentary

The Roscommon Rebel
The Story of Jack McQuillan

Presented and Produced by:

Declan Coyne for Dhá Lon Productions.

Assistant Researchers:

Hugh Baxter and Mary Claire Grealy.

First Broadcast on Ros FM (94.6 FM) 7th February 2007

Part 1: Family Background, the Early Years and Football


Angela McQuillan, Dr. Bill McQuillan, Jack Fallon, Frank Grogan, Mick Davis, Brendan Lynch and Jimmy Murray.

Download Sample

Part 2: Jack the Politician, His Political and Personal Battles


Angela McQuillan, Dr. Bill McQuillan, Jack Fallon, Frank Grogan, Niall O’Shea, Colm O’Callaghan, Seamus Scally and Jimmy Murray.

Download Sample

Part 3: The Concluding Years of his Political Career, Life After Politics and His Legacy


Angela McQuillan, Dr. Bill McQuillan, Jack Fallon, Frank Grogan, Niall O’Shea, Seamus Scally, Brendan Lynch and Colm O’Callaghan.

Download Sample

Other contributors to the series:

Marie McGarry, Paddy Moore, Paddy Finneran, Mack and Gerry Crean, Sen. Terry Leyden, John Kerrigan, Tom Geraghty, Brendan Halligan and John Feely.

This series was funded by:

Sound & Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme, a BCI Initiative

© Dhá Lon Productions 2007.dha lon

Member of Association of Independent Radio Producers of Ireland (AIRPI)

Radio Documentary John McQuilann

‘eloquent protector of the under-privileged’

Jack McQuillan

1920 – 1998

A Ballyforan man by birth, former rural radical T.D. Jack McQuillan was an integral part of the great Roscommon All-Ireland winning teams of 1943 and 1944 and of the Roscommon senior county champions of 1943 and ’45, St. Patrick’s, Knockcroghery.

On the political front, commentators attempted to describe Jack with phrases like: ‘the stormy Petrel of Irish politics’, ‘arch-critic of the establishment’, ‘eloquent protector of the under-privileged’, ‘independent thinker’, ‘one of the most radical politicians’ and ‘one of the country’s most colourful political figures’. And little wonder!

Jack McQuillan was born in 1920; his father was an RIC Man and his mother a primary schoolteacher who came from a very staunch Republican family. She constantly rebelled against the injustices of society and often came to the emotional and financial assistance of the less fortunate people in her locality, even when the clergy were condemning them from the Alter for their perceived wrongdoings. The McQuillan household was always fair, compassionate and forgiving, while at the same time daring, exciting and stimulating.

Jack was first elected to Dáil Éireann as one of the ten Clan na Poblachta TDs elected under the leadership of former IRA Chief of Staff, Sean McBride in February 1948. However, his strong sense of justice and fair play, as in his school days, often landed him in trouble with figures of authority, including McBride and especially the Catholic Church, which he saw as conservative and domineering at that time. Many of the injustices he fought against back then have came into the public domain in more recent years with dire consequences for both Church and State, but most especially for the victims, whom he sought and fought to protect.

After the break-up of the 1948 – 1951 Inter Party Government and Clan na Poblachta, over Noel Browne’s Mother and Child Scheme, Jack served as an Independent T.D. He later formed the National Progressive Democrats with his closest political ally, the aforementioned Noel Browne, before returning to the Independent ranks and then joining the Labour Party in 1962. He lost his Dáil seat in 1965 and served in Seanad Éireann from ’65 to ’69. During the latter period he also headed the Post Office Officials Association, which he helped to establish with a break-away group from the Post Office Workers Union. This led to conflict with Labour traditionalists and Jack lost the party whip in 1968. He retired completely from politics in Sept. 1969.

Jack McQuillan died in Bray, Co. Wicklow, in March 1998.

© Copyright D.Coyne 2008.

In the radio documentary series, ‘The Roscommon Rebel’, Dhá Lon Productions present a fascinating insight into the life and times of the late Jack McQuillan by talking to those who knew him best – his family and friends, his sporting and political allies.