Egan, Patrick Joseph (1876–1960), businessman and politician, was born 14 June 1876 in Tullamore, King's Co. (Offaly), eldest son among at least four sons and one daughter of Henry Egan (1847–1919), of High St., Tullamore, prosperous merchant and local politician, and Elizabeth Egan (née Toole); the family later resided in The Hall, Tullamore. An ancestor, after fighting in the battle of Aughrim (1691), had settled in Clara, King's Co. His grandfather, Patrick Egan (d. 1897), born in Clara, founded with his brother in 1852 the firm of P. & H. Egan in Tullamore. His father, Henry Egan, who developed the firm into one of the leading businesses in the midlands, was an early member of the home government association of Isaac Butt (qv), and secretary of the Tullamore branches of both the Land League and the National League; he was imprisoned during the land war under the 1881 coercion act. A long-time chairman of Tullamore town commissioners, and after 1900 a member of Tullamore urban district council, he was first chairman (1899–1908) of King's County Council under the 1898 local government act.
Patrick J. Egan was educated at the Mercy convent and the CBS, Tullamore, and Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare (1891–3). Entering the family business at an early age, for some years he headed the brewing department, and succeeded as company chairman on his father's death (1919). Initially a supporter of the Irish parliamentary party, during the 1919–21 troubles he drew close to Sinn Féin, contributing generously to the Dáil Éireann loan, and serving as chairman of the dáil-appointed trustees who from summer 1920 managed the secret account of the Sinn-Féin-controlled King's County Council. He placed his company's lorries and motorcars at the disposal of republican forces, and maintained on full salaries some eighteen employees interned or on the run. Nevertheless, as chairman (1915–24) of Tullamore urban district council, in May 1921 he reopened contact with the British local government board in the hope of obtaining monies to construct desperately needed council houses, and presided over a board inspector's inquiry into local housing conditions.
Closely associated with Kevin O'Higgins (qv), when the latter after his father's murder switched constituencies to Dublin County, Egan was elected Cumann na nGaedheal TD for Leix–Offaly (1923–7). In the aftermath of the 1924 army mutiny he was briefly considered, despite his lack of military experience, for minister for defence by the president of the executive council, William Cosgrave (qv), as a conciliatory figure capable of defusing the crisis. He joined O'Higgins in strongly supporting Cosgrave's appointment of Peter Hughes (qv) to the portfolio, against opposition within the parliamentary party. As member of Cumann na nGaedheal's organising committee – established in a reform of party organisation following critical by-election defeats (November 1924) – he established key contacts with business leaders, raising £300 towards the party's improved performance in March 1925 by-elections. After losing his dáil seat in the June 1927 general election after a rancorous campaign marred by sectarian invective against a Farmers’ party candidate, he was chairman of Offaly County Council (1928–34). One of the first five directors of the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) – appointed (August 1927) to represent midlands commercial interests amid government efforts to balance the board among regions and interests – he was involved in the controversial but far-reaching decision to buy out existing local power systems, reconstruct their networks for alternating current, and sell Shannon scheme electricity directly to consumers.
Continuing as chairman and managing director of P. & H. Egan, he oversaw the limited company's expansion into branches throughout Offaly and neighbouring counties. Based in Bridge House and other locations in Tullamore, the firm engaged in brewing, malting, mineral water manufacture, tea importing and blending, and the bottling of beers, wines, and spirits; their brand of Tullamore ale enjoyed a considerable local popularity. Operating one of the first department stores in the midlands, the firm conducted a considerable retail and wholesale trade in groceries, tobacco products, hardware, furniture, and farm implements, while operating an ironmongery, saw mill, and coachbuilding works. Distribution of such diverse products was accomplished by their own fleet of horse-drawn drays, motor lorries, and canal boats.
Egan also held interests in many major industrial and commercial concerns throughout the country. Chairman of Braids, Ltd, Ennis, he was director of several companies, including the Irish Sugar Company; Salts (Ireland), Ltd; Minch, Norton and Co., Ltd, Dublin; John F. Renshaw and Co. (Ireland), Ltd, Dublin; Cairnes, Ltd, Drogheda; Irish Malts Products, Ltd; and Midland Hotels Co., Ltd, Tullamore and Birr. Numbered among the foremost business personalities in Ireland, he retired from his various concerns in the 1950s. Courteous and urbane, dignified in bearing and elegant in speech, Egan was remembered as a ‘cultured, charming gentleman of the old school’ (Offaly Independent). Long-serving captain of Tullamore golf club, he resided for nearly fifty years in imposing premises at Annaghmore, Kilcruttin, Templemore. He died in his home 28 April 1960. His wife, a daughter of Dr T. H. Browne, Collinstown House, Kilcormac, predeceased him by several years. He was survived by two sons and one daughter.