Devane, Richard (1876–1951), Jesuit priest, was born 6 July 1876 at 29 William Street, Limerick, the eldest of three sons and two daughters of Cornelius Devane, merchant, and his wife, Joanna McCormack. His two brothers, John Devane (qv) and James Devane (qv) were medical doctors. Richard was educated at the Christian Brothers’ Sacred Heart College, Limerick, until 1889, and attended Crescent College until he was 17. After this he went to study in Mungret, and then attended St Munchin's seminary until he was 19, finishing his studies in Maynooth, where he was ordained in 1901. He was attached to St Patrick's church, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, until 1904 when he returned to Limerick to a curacy at St Michael's and was also garrison chaplain for ten years. His parochial work included the direction of a conference of the Society of St Vincent de Paul and temperance sodalities for men and women, as well as running a large club for girls. He kept in close touch with labour circles in Limerick on whose behalf he inaugurated a series of lectures on industrial subjects. He was active in rescue and vigilance work, launching a crusade against evil literature, in which connection he published articles in the Dublin Leader. He was responsible for the introduction of a licence to regulate cinema shows, adopted by Limerick Borough Council, and a member of the Limerick technical committee.
He entered the Society of Jesus at St Stanislaus College, Tullamore, on 30 July 1918, being professed two years later. His first appointment with the Society was to the newly founded retreat house for working men at Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin, where he became the first director in 1922. There he remained organising retreats until 1932 and again from 1945 until his death. From 1933 to 1944 he was director of the retreat house at Milltown Park, Dublin. He was known for his great interest in social legislation and for twenty-five years specialised in an apostolate in favour of the young and their moral protection by legislative means. He did much to further acts dealing with film censorship (1923), censorship of publications (1929), legal redress for mother and offspring in irregular unions (1930), and public dance halls (1935) as well as the criminal law amendment act of the same year. The children's act (1942) set the seal on his practical interest in the fate of children. He published in 1942 Challenge from youth, a fully documented study of modern youth movements in other countries in which he pleaded for a catholic youth movement in Ireland based on a sound Christian philosophy. In another important work, The failure of individualism (1948), he traced the progress of individualism in the religious, political, and economic life of Europe and pleaded for the restoration of the organic structure of society. For many years he was a contributor to the daily press and to various periodicals. His correspondence covered a wide range of subjects touching the welfare of his countrymen: cinema control, dance hall problems, censorship, the imported press, parish councils, adult education, civics, summertime, the retreat movement, national athletics, and national film institutes.
Devane died 23 May 1951 at Rathfarnham Castle, Dublin.