A classmate of Éamon de Valera in Bruree national school, Richard Hayes qualified as a doctor in 1905. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913, becoming Commandant of the 5th Battalion. He stepped down from his position in 1916, allowing Thomas Ashe to lead the battalion during the Easter Rising. He was involved in attacks on RIC barracks during Easter week, and also treated the wounded on both sides during the attack in Ashbourne. After serving time in various English prisons, he was elected in the Limerick East constituency as a Sinn Féin representative in the 1918 general election. He supported the Anglo-Irish Treaty, but ultimately retired from politics in 1923. He continued to work as a doctor, but also served as a film censor and as Director of the Abbey Theatre.
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