Dr John A Madden - one of the Men of the West

Dr John A. Madden was born in Belderrig Beg, Ballycastle on the 8th August 1896. His mother was O'Donoghue from Gortleatilla, Glenamoy where the family had a grocery shop. John Madden was educated at St. Muredach's College, Ballina, and at UCG and UCD where he qualified as a Doctor.

He was Medical Officer in Glenamoy Dispensary District and then went to Liverpool where he trained as a surgeon. In 1920, he returned to Castlebar where he was Assistant Surgeon in Mayo County Infirmary, the Head Surgeon was Dr McBride. In Castlebar, he joined the IRA and was a member of the Battalion there and later left his post to go on full - time active service with the west Mayo Brigade Flying Column under the command of Michael Kilroy. Dr Madden was at the Kilmeena ambush, Skirdagh where he attended to the wounded and fought as a member of the rearguard action along with Kilroy; and Carrakenneady during May and June of 1921.

During the Truce, he was Brigadier for North Mayo in succession to Tom Ruane and Eamon Gannon. He commanded the takeover of Ballina RIC Barracks from the Tans on the 14th February 1922. After this he was the Doctor/Medical Officer to the Civic Guards and he held this position at a time when Joe Ring was a member and Newport born Michael Staines who had been living in Dublin since 1902 was the first Commissioner. Joe Ring of Westport was a leading member of the column.

When the Civil War started, he returned to West Mayo where he rejoined General Michael's Column now on the anti - treaty side and served with them until he was captured at Newport on the 24th November 1922 and interned.

In 1924 in the by-Election of Nov 18th, he was elected as a Republican for North Mayo and at this time he had a medical practice in Westport. In the General Election of 1927 he was elected as a member of Sinn Fein. He was interned in Nov 1926 for a short period. In 1933, he went to Dublin and started a medical practice at 20 Baggot Street, Dublin 2. He was a member of the Hospital's Commission and he held this post until 1948 when Fianna Fail lost power. He decided not to go back on the Board when Fianna Fail regained power in 1951. He was a member of the Agricultural Association of Ireland since 1946 and was elected to the Executive Committee in 1951.

He died on Tuesday 28th September 1954 at his residence on 20 Baggot Street, Dublin 2. His remains were brought from Dublin by road to St. Bridget's Church, Ballycastle on 29 September and he was interred with full military honours in Doonfeeney after requiem mass celebrated by Most Reverand Dr O'Boyle, Bishop of Killala, and the main celebrant was his first cousin, Very Reverend D. O'Donghue, PP of Ardagh. His wife Ellen who died in 1958, and his daughter, Dr Maureen Madden, survived him. Phelim Calleary, TD represented An Taoiseach, Eamon de Valera, and Michael Kilroy represented the Hospital's Commission. Tomas O'Derrig, TD, delivered the graveside oration and he referred to Dr John Madden as a patriot, fearless soldier, and champion of the poor in his work as Doctor.