Éamon de Valera

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All history is man's efforts to realise ideals.

Eamon de Valera (14 October 188229 August 1975) was an Irish politician, born George de Valero, Irish name Éamonn de Bhailéara.


  • It is my considered opinion that in the fullness of time history will record the greatness of Michael Collins and it will be recorded at my expense.
    • Comment in 1966, quoted in Michael Collins : A Biography (1990) by Tim Pat Coogan, p. 432.

Judging Dev (2007)[edit]

Quotes of de Valera, as presented in Judging Dev : A Reassessment of the Life and Legacy of Eamon De Valera (2007) Royal Irish Academy ISBN: 1904890288
  • No matter what the future may hold for the Irish nation, the seven years — 1916 to 1923 — must ever remain a period of absorbing interest. Not for over two hundred years has there been such a period of intense and sustained effort to regain the national sovereignty and independence. Over the greater part of the period it was the effort of, one might say, the entire nation. An overwhelming majority of the people of this island combined voluntarily during those years in pursuit of a common purpose.
  • Nature never intended me to be a partisan leader …
    Every instinct of mine would indicate that I was meant to be a dyed-in-the-wool Tory, or even a bishop, rather than the leader of a revolution.
  • For Irishmen, there is no football game to match rugby and if all our young men played rugby not only would we beat England and Wales but France and the whole lot of them put together.
    • Quoted from a 1957 speech.
  • Of course I wrote most of the Constitution myself. I remember hesitating for a long time over the US presidential system. But it wouldn't have done — we were too trained in English democracy to sit down under a dictatorship which is what the American system really is.
    • As quoted from a conversation with a former British Ambassador Sir Arthur Gilchrist and the late Foreign Affairs Minister Frank Aiken.
  • Ministers not responsible to parliament — that would never do. Besides, I wanted to prepare a nice quiet job without too much work for my old age. Still, I admit, I was tempted. Look at the way de Gaulle rules France … absolute rule … very efficient.
    • As quoted from a conversation with a former British Ambassador Sir Arthur Gilchrist and the late Foreign Affairs Minister Frank Aiken.

I'm Glad You Asked Me That (2007)[edit]

Quotes of de Valera from I'm Glad You Asked Me That : Irish Political Quotations (2007) by Eoghan Corry ISBN: 9780340924525
  • England pretends it is not by the naked sword, but by the good will of the people of the country that she is here. We will draw the naked sword to make her bare her own naked sword.
    • (25 October 1917).
  • Partition is after all only an old fortress of crumbled masonry — held together with the plaster of fiction.
    • (January 1918).
  • I am against this Treaty not because I am a man of war but because I am a man of peace. I am against this Treaty because it will not end the centuries of conflict between the two nations of Great Britain and Ireland.
    • (18 December 1921).
  • All history is man's efforts to realise ideals.
    • (5 February 1929).
  • A Dhomhnall, I have to tell you, you are abolished.
    • To Domhnall O'Buachalla on abolishing the position of Governor-General

Quotes about de Valera[edit]

  • How could one argue with a man who was always drawing lines and circles to explain the position; who, one day, drew a diagram [here Michael illustrated with pen and paper] saying 'take a point A, draw a straight line to point B, now three-fourths of the way up the line take a point C. The straight line AB is the road to the Republic; C is where we have got to along the road, we canot move any further along the straight road to our goal B; take a point out there, D [off the line AB]. Now if we bend the line a bit from C to D then we can bend it a little further, to another point E and if we can bend it to CE that will get us around Cathal Brugha which is what we want!' How could you talk to a man like that?
    • Michael Collins, referring to de Valera in conversation with Michael Hayes, at the debates over the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921.
    • Michael Hayes Papers, P53/299, UCDA. Quoted in Doherty, Gabriel and Keogh, Dermot (2006). Michael Collins and the Making of the Irish State. Mercier Press, p. 153.

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