Davin, William (1890–1956), trade unionist and politician, was born 19 February 1890 at Grogan, Rathdowney, Queen's Co. (Laois), son of Timothy Davin, farmer, and Ellen Davin (née Costigan). He was educated at Rathdowney national school, at St Kieran's College, Kilkenny, and later at Hughes's Academy, St Stephen's Green, Dublin. In 1906 he began working as a railway clerk and joined the Railway Clerks Association (RCA). In 1920 he became assistant piermaster in Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire) and in the following year took up the post of piermaster, remaining there until 1943. In 1943 he became station controller at the North Wall Station, and was there until he retired in 1950.
He quickly rose through the ranks of the RCA, becoming honorary chairman of the Dublin branch and the Irish council, and was the union's executive representative for Ireland. He also became involved with the Labour party and was one of the twelve signatories in 1918 calling for a general strike against conscription. With Labour's withdrawal from the 1918 election, he supported the nationalist candidate Alfie Byrne (qv). In the 1922 general election he was elected to the dáil as a Labour candidate for Leix–Offaly and held his seat until his death in 1956. During his time in the dáil he was chief whip of the party for many years and in 1927–8 he was chairman of the public accounts committee. He spent most of his time trying to tackle the housing problem, as he attempted to cut departmental red tape and speed up the housing processes at county council level.
He served as deputy leader of the Labour party and also as party chairman. He represented Ireland at the international parliamentary conferences in Berne, Paris, and London. In 1954 he became parliamentary secretary to the minister for local government, and it was in this position that he could tackle the housing crisis from within government. In June 1955 he and members of the department and representatives of Dublin corporation met with London county council to study housing activities.
A founder member of Cumann na Laoiseach, he was a great orator and his speeches are well documented. While at Kilkenny College, he was a keen sportsman and won many awards for athletics; he maintained this interest in sport and in particular GAA and athletics. During the 1950s he was a member of the Knights of St Columbanus. He was also chairman of St Kieran's College Past Pupils Union. Well respected in his constituency, he worked tirelessly and gave close personal attention to all matters. After nearly a year's illness he died 1 March 1956 in Hume St. Nursing Home, Dublin.
He married (1922) Brigid Leahy; they had two sons and two daughters and lived in 1 Crofton Terrace, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.