Tynan, Thomas (1871–1953), merchant, farmer, greyhound breeder, and politician, was born 17 March 1871 in Jamestown, Ballybrittas, Queen's Co. (Laois), son of Thomas Tynan, farmer, and Mary Tynan (née Connell). Educated locally, in early manhood he entered business as publican and grocer, first in Milltown, Co. Kildare, later in Portarlington, Co. Laois. Possessed of shrewd business acumen, he transferred his trade to premises purchased in Ballybrittas, where he developed a flourishing licensed and grocery establishment, in later years launching a similar establishment in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare. He farmed on extensive lands in the Ballybrittas area. Active as a young man in athletics and cycling, he was an enthusiast for greyhound coursing and racing. His most notable success as a breeder was Loran Leader, which competed for the Waterloo Cup and sired other successful dogs, including Ocean Leader, winner of the 1912–13 Irish Cup. Active locally in the United Irish League (UIL), after 1900 Tynan was involved in organising small farmers and agricultural labourers into local branches of the UIL-allied Irish Land and Labour Association (ILLA). Keenly interested in land division, he was prominent in much of the division of land in the Ballybrittas area, especially on the Ballynowlart and Rathadare estates. Active in the 1917 reorganisation of the Irish Volunteers, he was captain of the Courtwood company. In 1919 he was instrumental in effecting the amalgamation of the Ballybrittas and other Co. Laois branches of the ILLA with the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union. During the war of independence his home was a safe house for Volunteers on the run and an important dispatch station on the Dublin–Cork road. A member of Sinn Féin, he experienced continual surveillance and was twice interned (1920, 1921), in the latter instance for nine months. He opposed the Anglo–Irish treaty, and was a founder-member of Fianna Fáil (1926). He served on both Laois county council (1925–34) and Co. Laois board of health. Elected to Dáil Éireann for Laois–Offaly in June 1927, he was among the first Fianna Fáil deputies pursuant to the party's reversal of its abstentionist policy to assume their dáil seats, but was narrowly defeated in the rapidly ensuing September 1927 election. Staunchly loyal to Éamon de Valera (qv), while never again contesting a dáil election he remained active in Fianna Fáil, a prominent presence at public meetings over many years throughout the counties of Laois, Offaly, and Kildare. While an able public speaker, he was prone to uttering political ‘bulls’ such as ‘I always put me county first, de Valera second, and God third’ and ‘Dev is straighter than a greyhound’ (Meehan, 34). Numbered amongst the county's leading personalities, he belonged to several catholic parochial and charitable organisations. Tynan married Theresa Flanagan of the Market Square, Portarlington; they had five sons and three daughters. Suffering declining health for some years, he retired from his business, farming, and political activities; the Monasterevin business was taken over by his eldest son, William A. Tynan, sometime member of Kildare county council. Thomas Tynan died in Ballybrittas on 29 September 1953.
GRO, Dublin; Irish greyhound stud book (1923), 151; Edward C. Ash, The book of the greyhound (1933), 182; Ir. Times, 30 Sept. 1953; Leinster Express, 3, 10 Oct. 1953; Leinster Leader, 3, 10 Oct. 1953; Vincent Browne and Michael Farrell, Magill book of Irish politics (1981); Patrick F. Meehan, The T.D.s and senators for Laois and Offaly (1921–1986) (1987); Walker; Laois County Council: the first 100 years (1999), 122