Clancy, John (1844–1915), republican and local government official, was born in Carricknagat, Co. Sligo, son of John Clancy, customs official; nothing is known of his mother. Educated locally, in the early 1860s he moved to Dublin where he worked as a printer with the Irish Times and joined the IRB. Soon afterwards he worked as a sales agent for shipping firms in Dublin and Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire). After the suspension of habeas corpus in February 1866, he was arrested for making seditious speeches and was imprisoned for several months in Mountjoy gaol. After his release he began working as a brewery agent and, by the mid 1870s, was a publican and a well known figure in Dublin republican circles. A strong supporter of the Land League, he was imprisoned in Kilmainham gaol in early 1882 after championing the no-rent manifesto and, on his release, was elected to represent Inns Quay ward in the municipal council, thereby beginning a very lengthy career in Dublin city hall. In April 1884 he attracted notoriety by making a lengthy, lone protest against the introduction of loyalist resolutions by Parnellite city councillors. The following year he was persuaded by William O'Brien (qv) to join the National League and, in a partly-successful effort to win over local republicans, was offered the position of sub-sheriff of Dublin, thereby making him the registrar of the city's municipal and parliamentary electorate; a position he held for fourteen years. Such was his influence in Dublin popular politics than he soon won the nickname ‘the mayor-maker’.
A close friend of P. N. Fitzgerald (qv), he remained involved in republican circles. He withdrew from the National League in early 1887 and became a founder and patron of the IRB's ‘National Club’ at 41 Rutland (later Parnell) Square that summer. In October 1890, with some republicans' assistance, he organised the escape of O'Brien and John Dillon (qv) to America via France after an order for their rearrest had been issued due to their support for the Plan of Campaign. On 6 December 1890, two days after the catholic hierarchy's condemnation of C. S. Parnell (qv) amid the Irish party split, he established the ‘Parnell Leadership Committee’ at the National Club in an attempt to form an alliance of all Parnellite town and city councillors in the country; an initiative that achieved some notable success. Four days later he organised the armed mob, led by Parnell himself, which tried to take control by force of the United Ireland offices (10 December 1890). He played a critical role in organising support for Parnell in Dublin, organising two Parnellite ‘labour’ rallies in June 1891, negotiating regularly with the Dublin trades council, and persuading Parnell to organise the return of James Stephens (qv) to Ireland in an effort to appease republicans.
Elected to represent the South Dock ward in January 1892, after the general election that summer he persuaded the city council for the first time not to issue the traditional welcome to the new lord lieutenant. In July 1894 he requested Dublin corporation to present a petition for the release of IRB prisoners to the chief secretary, John Morley (qv), who refused to receive it and consequently was denounced by many nationalists. By then Clancy's own influence in republican circles was waning owing to (partly justified) accusations of engaging in nepotism and jobbery regarding municipal appointments. On losing his position as sub-sheriff in 1899, he temporarily reestablished his influence in radical circles by denouncing conservative lord mayors and expressing some opposition to the visit of Queen Victoria to Dublin (April 1900). Soon after he was elected to represent the new borough of Clontarf in city hall and, together with J. P. Nannetti (qv), played a critical role in assisting the UIL to establish itself in the city by promoting youth UIL branches opposed to future royal visits. Although not entirely unsympathetic to Sinn Féin, he expressed support for Irish involvement in the first world war and two of his sons, including William (a former city marshal), enlisted in the army. In recognition of his lengthy service, he was elected lord mayor of Dublin on 23 January 1915 but died six days later, before he could take office. He was the model for the character ‘Long John’ Fanning in Ulysses by James Joyce (qv) and played a significant role in radicalising Dublin municipal politics and making Dublin city hall increasingly a forum for popular political interests.