Sean Malone

Clerk of the Seanad

Former residence of Malone Family, James Street.
Author's Personal Photo
Record of S. Malone as Clerk.
Author's Personal Documents
James Street Westport
Author's Personal Photo
Headstone on Grave of S. Malone.
D.Joyce. Family Collection.

Clerk of the Seanad

This Westport man’s career path took him from the British Civil Service in London to Dublin as clerk of Seanad Eireann during 1938.

Sean Malone was born during 1883 at James Street in Westport.  He was  the son of Patrick & Margaret Malone.


Sean Malone entered the British Civil Service at the London Post Office.  He was aged fifteen years.


Sean Malone was transferred on promotion to the Secretary’s Office in G.P.O. in Dublin.


His next appointment was to the Dept. of Agriculture & Technical Instruction.

Government System

During W. W. 1. Sean Malone was requested by the Inter – Parliamentary Union at Geneva to supply them with details of all matters connected with the working of both Houses of the Oireachtas. His reply was ultimately recognized as a most authoritative expose of the system operated within Ireland.  The Government ordered its publication in book form.  It remains a monument not only to his memory but to his perfect understanding of everything connected with government administration.


In 1917 as a civil servant within the publicity branch of the department  Sean Malone produced the ‘Grow Your Own’ campaign.


Sean Malone was appointed secretary of the Irish branch of the Parliamentary Union.


He was elected clerk of the Seanad when it was re – established during De Valera’s Government in 1938 until 1948.  He supervised the Oireachtas Records of Leinster House within the speaker’s office. He was a well –  known authority on matters that related to Free State Legislature.


Sean Malone was appointed secretary of the special committee of the Dáil which considered the Seanad Electoral (Panel Members) Bill.


Sean Malone lectured at UCD on the subject of public administration.


The demise of Sean Malone occurred in a Dublin nursing home during August 1949. He was aged sixty – six years old.  He was survived by his wife, son & daughter, brothers, sister also family members.

His funeral cortege took place from St. Columba’s church at Iona Road, Drumcondra to Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin.  There was a large attendance represented by Government officials led by An Taoiseach Mr. Costelloe, Ministers, Senators, Garda Commissioner Mr. M. J. Kirrane, the president of U.C.D. Dr. M. Tierney: Mr. Toirleach de Valera (who represented his father) & numerous clergy also friends.


An Cathaoirleachs’s (partial) statement reported that ‘ He had identified himself so completely with the life of the Legislature since the setting up of our own Government and, more particularly, the reconstitution of the Seanad in 1938, that he had come to be regarded almost as an inseparable part of the Institution.  I do not think that he was ever absent from the Seanad on a sitting day until within recent months the illness which proved to be his last, laid him low. Mr. Malone was superbly equipped for the exercise of his functions as Clerk, and in that respect no words of mine would adequately express how personally indebted I have always been to him. To every Senator he made himself available at all times and on all occasions, rendering services wherever needed and of whatever character required. Mr. Malone worked not merely for the present but for the future. He left behind him a valuable brochure on Parliamentary procedure in our State. He made notes as he went along of everything which he thought could be of permanent value in the development of our legislative machinery. Someone will be found who, it is hoped, will gather together these notes in proper from and thereby provide a lasting record of his great work.(27thJuly 1949)’:

An Cathaoirleach concluded with I direct the Assistant Clerk to place on the records of the House the appreciation of Seanad Eireann of the services rendered by Mr. Malone as its Clerk. I direct him further to convey to Mr. Malone’s widow and family the message of sympathy in their bereavement of the Members of Seanad Eireann.’ (27thJuly 1949):

Mr. M. Hayes reported that ‘Mr. Seán Malone was not only a great State official but he had a character, a freshness of mind and a personality which made him stand out among men.  Senators who made his acquaintance for the first time through their membership of this House found that he was not only an infallible and lucid guide to the intricacies of Parliamentary procedure but also a very warmhearted human being for whom no labour was too great or no task too insignificant, not only for the House itself, but, as you have said, in the service of individual members of the House.  It was my privilege as Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil to have for a number of years intimate and daily acquaintance with Seán Malone when he was head of the Journal Office, and the more contact I had with him the more I admired his qualities of mind and his devotion to his work. No more happy or helpful choice could have been made for the Clerk of this House when the Seanad was reconstituted in 1938, and it was a great pleasure to me to renew official contact with him then.’Very few laymen were as well informed as the late Clerk of the Seanad on both the meaning and practical workings of the Constitution since 1922. He had read widely and deeply with great benefit to himself and to the work of the Oireachtas. He was a versatile man. Only last year, at my suggestion, he was asked to lecture at University College, Dublin, on Central Government for students taking a course in Public Administration. He was then nearly 65 years of age, and proved most successful in what was to him a completely new sphere. Here in Leinster House he was fair and friendly and helpful to all his colleagues and subordinates. Last year he accompanied an Irish delegation to a British Commonwealth Conference and it gave great satisfaction to the members of the conference from this House and from the other House to see how Mr. Malone’s knowledge of procedure and his manner of approach inspired the greatest respect among members of various Parliaments who were meeting an Irish official for the first time. (Seanad Éireann díospóireacht 27thJuly1949 Vol. 36 No. 21):


Sean Malone’s demise was recorded on volume 36 – 27th July 1949 of Seanad Eireann Papers where many tributes were paid to his memory.  Sean Malone is listed in Thom’s Directory 1942.

Gratitude is due to John Lohan (Dept. of the Taoiseach) also Karen Marran (Seanad Eireann) for their assistance.


Family personal papers were used in Research. (NBC)

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