Byrne, Edward Joseph (1847–99), journalist and adviser to Parnell, was born in Tuam, Co. Galway, the youngest son of Edward Byrne. Educated at St Jarlath's College, Tuam, he worked as a journalist on the Tuam Herald and Tuam News before becoming, at the age of twenty-five, first editor of the Belfast Morning News. His next post was with the Dublin daily, the Freeman's Journal, of which he was editor in the 1880s, when that paper played a major role in maintaining the political ascendancy of Charles Stewart Parnell (qv). Byrne's personal allegiance to Parnell was firm and unwavering, though never obtrusive. After the shock of the O'Shea divorce case in mid-November 1890, the Freeman vigorously supported the embarrassed Parnell. Byrne collaborated closely with ‘the Chief’ in London in his failed attempt to retain the support of a majority of the parliamentary party and, after it split, at Boulogne-sur-Mer in his unsuccessful negotiations with John Dillon (qv) and William O'Brien (qv).
But in March 1891 the anti-Parnellites started a rival daily, the National Press, which drew much of the Freeman's readership and advertising revenue. When the young owner of the Freeman, Edmund John Chisholm Dwyer Gray (qv), turned it against Parnell, Byrne and other Parnellite journalists left and started the Irish Daily Independent, the first issue of which appeared on 18 December, shortly after Parnell's premature death. As editor of the new Parnellite daily, Byrne suffered both political and financial losses until ill-health forced him to resign. He published, in the Irish Weekly Independent of 8 October 1898, a memoir of Parnell in which he drew extensively from his personal acquaintance with the enigmatic Chief. Edward Byrne died 13 October 1899 at Tuam, leaving a wife and two children. He was a founder member of the Institute of Journalists.