AddaQuote: Sean MacBride

Today we are profiling Sean MacBride, Irish lawyer and statesman, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and founding member of Amnesty International.

Sean MacBride was born in France in 1904. His parents, Maud Gonne and John MacBride, were prominent Irish revolutionaries, involved in many key events in the Irish struggle for independence. MacBride moved to his family home of Ireland in 1916, where as a teenager he took part in the Irish War of Independence of 1919-21. MacBride became a leading figure in struggle for a sovereign Irish republic, serving as Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army. However, in 1939 he turned away from the use of armed force, and over the next decade he practiced as a defence barrister in Ireland. His experience of representing prisoners faced with the death penalty led to a lifelong opposition to and advocacy against the use of capital punishment.

MacBride had an illustrious international career promoting human rights. He was a founding member of Amnesty International in 1961, and served as its International Chairman. He also served as Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chairman of UNESCO. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974 and the Lenin Peace Prize a year later, recognising his work promoting human rights around the globe. Following his death in 1988 MacBride is remembered as a staunch protector of human rights, and is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s greatest international statesmen.

Check out his Nobel Lecture here: