Haslett (Hazlett), Alexander (1883–1951), Orange leader and politician, was born 24 July 1883 in Derryvane, Glaslough, Co. Monaghan, youngest son among four sons and one daughter of James Haslett, farmer, and Mary Haslett (née Watt). Educated at Glaslough national school, while each of his siblings emigrated to the USA, he farmed the family holding at Derryvane, selling it (1921) to purchase a substantially larger farm at Mulladuff. Elected (1912) to Monaghan rural council and board of guardians, he was secretary until 1920 of the Monaghan branch of the Ulster Farmers' Union. In the mid-1920s he launched a prosperous auctioneering business in Glaslough and Monaghan town, and served as council member and sometime president of the Irish Auctioneers' Association. Active in the Orange order, he became prominent locally in the affiliated Protestant Defence Association (organised in 1920 amid the political violence of the troubles) at a time when unionists in Monaghan and throughout the twenty-six southern counties were assessing their position in the face of devolved government, and the exclusion of three Ulster counties from Northern Ireland. Speaking at Killacoona (near Clones) to the only 12 July Orange demonstration held in the Irish Free State in 1923, he urged southern unionists to engage in Free State politics: ‘We are not going to be sulky in a corner. We have to live in this country and we are going to make the most of it’ (Livingstone, 394). Following amendment of the Orange order constitution to accommodate the situation of members in the Free State – where the union they were pledged to uphold had been abolished by British law – he successfully proposed that an earlier initiative by Co. Monaghan grand lodge to establish a grand lodge for the Irish Free State, separate from the Belfast-based grand lodge of Ireland, be withdrawn (November 1923). Backed by the Protestant Association – which, in the wake of the treaty, was directing its efforts to election of ‘independent’ candidates to local councils and Dáil Éireann – he stood as an Independent Farmers' candidate in the three-seat Monaghan constituency in the June 1927 general election. After a bitterly contested campaign, with the nationalist vote riven between pro- and anti-treaty camps, he topped the poll and was elected to the third seat. Campaigning in the rapidly ensuing September 1927 election, he declared that, while standing to provide protestant citizens with independent parliamentary representation, he supported both the treaty and the Cumann na nGaedheal government, and stressed the importance of a secure pro-treaty dáil majority to the effective enforcement of law and order. His opponent, Ernest Blythe (qv), northern nationalist protestant and Free State government minister, retorted that the government's record gave no justification for an independent candidacy, and accused Haslett of sectarianism. Placing second behind Blythe on the first count, Haslett was returned to the second seat on transfers from Blythe's surplus. After losing his seat in 1932 amid a substantial swing to Fianna Fáil (whose two candidates captured over 50 per cent of first preferences), in 1933 he benefited from the deep opposition of protestant farmers to the economic war, and from a concerted Fianna Fáil strategy to deprive Cumann na nGaedheal of its seat and ‘drive Blythe out of the county altogether’ (Livingstone, 411). Receiving 7,238 first-preference votes – the highest tally of his career – Haslett placed fourth in a four-way race, but received two-thirds of transfers from the Fianna Fáil surplus, and overtook Blythe for the third seat. Throughout his dáil career Haslett was particularly active on agricultural issues – he was appointed by the Fianna Fáil government to the agricultural advisory commission – and on such matters of interest to protestant and unionist opinion as conditions among former British servicemen. In the comparatively quiet 1937 election he came third of seven candidates on the first count, but lost his seat to sitting Fine Gael TD James Dillon (qv), who had switched to the constituency from Donegal. After declining to contest the 1938 election, Haslett was defeated in a final dáil bid in 1943, amid a steady decline in the county's protestant population, combined with growing support among protestant voters for Dillon as an acceptable and more viable candidate.
Haslett was deputy grand master of Co. Monaghan Orange grand lodge (1934–8, 1940–51), Trough district master, and deputy grand master of the grand Orange lodge of Ireland. He was a committee member and chief elder of Ballyalbany presbyterian church, and superintendent over many years (1907–51) of Mullapike Sabbath school. Ordained a member of the kirk session (1918), he served in the church general assembly, which he twice represented in the Scottish general assembly, and once in the English general assembly. Long active on various local government bodies, after topping the poll in Monaghan electoral area he served briefly until his death on Monaghan county council (1950–51). He died at his home, Mulladuff, on 17 January 1951.
He married (July 1913) Martha Steenson (d. 1932), of Mullapike; they had one son and one daughter. His son, James Lambert Haslett, partner in the auctioneering firm, was Co. Monaghan Orange grand lodge secretary (1946–57) and twice unsuccessful independent dáil candidate (1951, 1954); he enjoyed a transitory upsurge of support in the first of his campaigns representing protestant disaffection with the Fine-Gael-led coalition government over the 1949 declaration of a republic.