John J. Hearne
Summary Location: 8 William Street
John J. Hearne was born on 4 November 1893. His father was a Waterford boot manufacturer and mayor of the city on two occasions, in 1902 and 1903. He was educated at Waterpark College, Waterford, and at University College Dublin.
Hearne joined the Department of External Affairs in 1929 as legal adviser and played a prominent role as a member of Ireland’s delegation to the assemblies of the League of Nations and Commonwealth conferences of which Ireland was then a member. However, Hearne’s lasting legacy to the Irish state is as one of the drafters of the 1937 Constitution. In January 1935 he was appointed to a committee of three senior civil servants by de Valera to prepare the new constitution.
He was later appointed High Commissioner to Canada and in 1950 was appointed Ambassador to the United States, where he remained for the next ten years, retiring on the 4 November 1960 – four days before the election of John F. Kennedy as president. Hearne then served as a legislative consultant to the governments of Nigeria and Ghana, as these former British colonies emerged as independent nations during the 1960s. He died in Dublin in 1969.