John, better known as Sean, McLoughlin was active in Irish republicanism from a young age, joining Na Fianna Éireann, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Republican Brotherhood before his 21st birthday. He held the role of Lieutenant in G Company in the 1st Dublin Battalion of the Irish Volunteers, and was part of the unit that seized the Mendicity Institute on Easter Monday, 1916. He ran messages between the Institute and the GPO, before relocating to the latter location. He took part in the assault on the Irish Independent offices in which James Connolly was injured and played an active role in the evacuation from the GPO to Moore St. Impressed with McLoughlin, Connolly promoted him to a commanding role. He avoided the death penalty and was interned until December 1916. As well as helping to reorganise the Irish Volunteers upon his release, McLoughlin also became involved in socialist politics and spent 18 months campaigning in Britain on behalf of the Socialist Labour Party of Great Britain, an organisation founded by Connolly in 1903. He returned to Ireland upon the outbreak of Civil War in June 1922, joining the anti-Treaty Communist Party of Ireland and leading an IRA flying column in Limerick. He was arrested in December 1923 and sentenced to death, but his sentence was never enacted and he was released from Limerick Prison in 1923. He returned to socialist politics upon his release, relocating to Britain in 1924.
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