Raised in Newport, Co. Mayo, Michael Staines returned to his birthplace of Dublin as a young man and became a founding member of the Irish Volunteers in 1913. He served as a Quartermaster in the 1st Battalion and was later promoted to Quartermaster General, replacing The O’Rahilly shortly before the Easter Rising. Having helped to hoist flags on the roof of the GPO at the beginning the rebellion, Staines was based in the post office’s telegraphy room and later acted as a stretcher-bearer for James Connolly when they evacuated the building. He was interned at Wakefield and Frongoch prison camp until December 1916. He resumed republican activities upon his release, working for the Irish National Aid Association and Volunteer Dependents Fund, as well as helping to reorganise the Irish Volunteers and taking up a leading role with the IRB. He also served as alderman with Dublin Corporation and in 1918 was elected as a Sinn Féin MP in Dublin, playing a leading role in organising the republican courts and the Belfast Boycott. He was appointed as the first commissioner of An Garda Síochána but resigned following the Kildare mutiny in 1922. He vacated his Dáil seat a year later, though served as a senator between 1930 and 1936 and co-founded the New Ireland Assurance Company.
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