Michael Hayes was a founder member of the Irish Volunteers in 1913. He managed to avoid arrest after the Rising. He sheltered a number of his Sinn Féin colleagues during the War of Independence and was arrested in 1920 and interned in Ballykinlar camp. While in prison he was elected as a Sinn Féin TD in the 1921 General Election for the National University of Ireland. He was released, like the other TDs, after the Truce of August 1921. He supported the Treaty and served as Minister for Education from January to September 1922. He was Ceann Comhairle from 1923 to 1932.

Hayes lost his seat in the 1933 General Election. In 1938 he was elected to Senad Éireann and remained in the Seanad until 1965. He was the Fine Gael leader in the house for most of this time. He served in the Irish Department in UCD from 1932 onwards and was made Professor in 1951. He was a member of the governing body of UCD and the Senate of the NUI. He died in 1976.

His statement expresses disapproval of the IRB and ambiguity about the Rising: he decided that “this was the only course but that the venture was a hopeless one.”