John M Hearne,
constitutional lawyer and diplomat was born in Waterford in 1893. He
received his early education at Waterpark College, Waterford and later at
University College, Dublin. After his University days he attended
St. Patrick's College, Maynooth with the intention of becoming a priest
but, realising that he did not have a vocation to the priesthood, he left
there to enter King's Inns to become a lawyer. He was called to the Bar,
entered public service and became assistant parliamentary draftsman from
1923-29. He became an authority on constitutional law and he was appointed
the legal advisor to the Irish delegation at the Imperial Conferences in
1926, 1929 and 1930.
was the legal advisor to the Department of External Affairs between
1929-37. After the Fianna Fáil party came to power in 1932, Mr.
DeValera took on the dual role of Taoiseach and Minister of External
Affairs and he and Hearne developed a close working relationship.
n 1935, when Mr. DeValera decided on a new Constitution of Ireland he
instructed Hearne to draft the heads of the new constitition. In
effect, the new constitution was the joint work of the two men and this
can be seen in the fact that when the new constitution came into being
on December 29th, 1937 Mr. DeValera presented a copy to Hearne with the
following dedication, "Architect-in-Chief and Draftsman ... in
testimony of the fundamental part he took in framing this, the Free
Constitution of the Irish People." He was called to the Inner
Bar in 1939 in recognition for his work in drafting the Constitution.