Jameson, Andrew (1855–1941), distiller, banker, and politician, was born in Alloa, Scotland, the second son of the three sons and one daughter of Andrew Jameson (1812–72), sheriff clerk of Clackmannanshire, and his wife, Margaret (d. 1856), daughter of James Cochrane, merchant, of Glen Lodge, Strandhill, Co. Sligo. Andrew Jameson senior was an amateur artist and bibliophile, and partner in the distillery of John Jameson & Son (founded by his father John Jameson (1773–1861)) at Bow Street, Dublin, as well as having many commercial interests in Scotland.
Andrew junior attended Dreghorn School, near Edinburgh, and the International College, Isleworth, London, before entering in 1873 Trinity College, Cambridge, where he won (1874) a rugby blue and graduated BA (1878). After moving to Dublin, he entered the family-owned Jameson Pim brewery in North Anne Street, and in 1887 he became a director of the Bank of Ireland. During his period with the bank (1887–1941) he served as governor (1896–8), and his support proved instrumental in the establishment of the Institute of Bankers in Ireland (1898). In the 1890s he threw himself into the work of the Irish Unionist Alliance (IUA) and before long was at the forefront of the organisation as a member of the executive committee, finance committee, and speakers’ committee.
Following the closure of the Jameson Pim brewery in 1905, Jameson served as chairman and managing director (1905–41) of John Jameson & Son. At the Irish Convention (1917), he and George Stewart (qv) dictated the policy taken by a reluctant Lord Midleton (qv). They hoped that by the IUA accepting the inevitability of home rule they would be able to influence its tenor. The failure of the Irish Convention brought recriminations upon Midleton, Jameson, and Stewart, and they resigned from the IUA and formed the Irish Unionist Anti-Partition League (APL or IUAPL). During the Anglo–Irish war Jameson worked to bring about a peace settlement and in March 1921 was the founder of the Irish businessmen's conciliation committee. In June 1921, with the other ‘representative southern unionists’, he met Éamon de Valera (qv) and helped to negotiate the terms of the truce with the British government. Jameson then naively believed that the British government would represent the interests of the southern unionists at the treaty negotiations and hence did not seek their representation. In his later meetings with the provisional government he, and the other unionists, successfully argued that a strong senate was a sine qua non for the acceptance of the new political order; however, despite their protestations, Jameson was the only one of their number to accept a nomination to the senate. Jameson was consulted widely by both the provisional government and the British government and also often acted as an intermediary between the two. As president of Dublin chamber of commerce (1922) and a leading banker and manufacturer, he was seen to represent not only the political minority but Irish banking and business interests as well.
At the height of the civil war, Jameson and Senator James G. Douglas (qv) met de Valera at great personal risk in an effort to bring about a cease-fire. The issue of surrendering arms proved a stumbling block to any peace settlement and nothing came of the talks. In the early years of the senate, Jameson valiantly defended the Cumann na nGaedheal government and counselled his fellow senators against opposing government legislation. However, when legislation came before the house that aimed to upset the status quo, he could be dogged in his opposition. Later, as the senate became more organised around political parties, including Jameson's independent group, he became more critical, particularly on issues such as the Irish language.
The Irish Truth claimed, on 24 July 1926, that in the senate Jameson wielded ‘an influence out of all proportion to the size of his [independent] group. . . . There is a continually increasing tendency towards agreements and understandings between the Jameson group and the government, and the history of the Irish Free State in the immediate future may be greatly affected thereby.’ Throughout the 1920s his influence grew apace. In November 1925 he had talks with Leo Amery, secretary of state at the Colonial Office, outlining W. T. Cosgrave's (qv) difficulties with regard to the boundary commission and the border.
As a member (1927) of the banking commission Jameson saw the dominance of the Bank of Ireland consolidated, and in 1931 he told the British government that southern unionists no longer set store by the right of appeal to the British privy council. He stressed the value for Cumann na nGaedheal of being able to secure the abolition of the appeal before the general election. Determined to see Cumann na nGaedheal re-elected, he started a secret fund-raising campaign to facilitate contributions from former unionists. Fianna Fáil got wind of this fund and greatly embarrassed Cosgrave and his party.
Following the formation of the first Fianna Fáil government in 1932, Jameson's influence was greatly diminished. Several measures, including the abolition of the oath of allegiance, the abolition of university representation in the dáil, and the economic war, disillusioned Jameson, and he retired from public life when the Free State senate was abolished in 1936. In the years prior to his death he saw the completion of the Irish national memorial at Islandbridge, a project with which he had been closely involved since its inception. Throughout his life he enjoyed fly fishing, golf, and sailing. He was also an Irish privy councillor (1921), JP and DL for Co. Dublin, and a commissioner of Irish lights.
On 18 September 1878 Jameson married Grace Elizabeth Burke (d. 27 December 1922), elder daughter of William Malachi Burke, MD, of Ballyduggan, Co. Galway, registrar general of Ireland (1876–9). They had one son and three daughters, including the artist Harriet Kirkwood (qv), wife of Thomas William Kirkwood (qv), and lived at 9 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin, and later at Sutton House, Howth, Co. Dublin. On 4 November 1924 Jameson married, secondly, Ruth Hart, youngest daughter of George Vaughan Hart, QC, of Woodside, Howth, Co. Dublin. He died 15 February 1941 in Dublin, leaving estate valued at £102,063.