Mullins, Thomas Lincoln Joseph (1903–78), politician and Fianna Fáil general secretary, was born 12 February 1903 in New Rochelle, New York, USA, the only child of Martin and Catherine Mullins originally from Cork and Galway respectively. Born on Abraham Lincoln's birthday, he was named after the former president. Having moved to Co. Cork in 1914, he was educated at Presentation Brothers School, Kinsale, and St Enda's School, Rathfarnham. He later graduated MA (NUI) and obtained a higher diploma in education. He joined Fianna Éireann and later the IRA, serving in A Coy, 5th Bn, Cork no. 3 Bde. Arrested in 1920 along with his father, he was imprisoned in Spike Island, Wormwood Scrubs, and Ballykinlar until the end of 1921. Opposed to the Anglo–Irish treaty, he joined the anti-treaty IRA faction and was arrested and imprisoned in Mountjoy, where he went on hunger strike for forty-one days in October 1923.
A close friend of Éamon de Valera (qv), he was involved in the foundation of Fianna Fáil in 1926, travelling around west Cork along with de Valera to organise forty-five party cumainn (branches). He was elected to the dáil for Cork West in the general elections of June and September 1927, but did not seek re-election in 1932. He was a member of Cork county council representing the Bandon electoral area (1928–34). A vociferous opponent of the blueshirts, he had charge of publicity for Fianna Fáil from 1933 and was responsible for building up the organisation throughout the country. He then worked as a sub-editor with the Irish Press (1941–4). Defeated in the Carlow–Kilkenny constituency in the 1943 and 1944 general elections and by Seán MacBride (qv) in the 1947 Dublin County by-election, he did not seek elected office again, choosing instead to concentrate on his duties as general secretary of Fianna Fáil, a post he held from 1945 to 1973. From 1957 to 1969 he sat in Seanad Éireann, one of the taoiseach's nominees, and served during that period as leader of the house.
He lived at 6 Haddington Terrace, Dún Laoghaire, with his wife Brigid (Bridie) O'Brien, a former schoolteacher from Co. Meath, whom he married in 1935. He died 2 November 1978 in a Dublin nursing home.