Ben Briscoe

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Ben Briscoe (born 11 March 1934) is an Irish former Fianna Fáil politician. He was a Teachta Dála (TD) for 37 years, representing a series of constituencies in Dublin.[1]

Member of Dáil Éireann[edit]

Briscoe was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil TD for the Dublin South–West constituency at the 1965 general election, succeeding his father Robert Briscoe who had been a TD for 38 years. He was elected at the 1969 general election for Dublin South–Central, where he was re-elected in 1973, and after major boundary changes for the 1977 general election he was elected for the Dublin Rathmines West constituency. A subsequent boundary revision in advance of the 1981 general election abolished Dublin Rathmines West and divided the area between the neighbouring constituencies. Briscoe was re-elected for the re-established Dublin South–Central constituency, which he held until he retired at the 2002 general election.[2]

At the 1992 general election Ben Briscoe was involved in a marathon recount battle with Democratic Left's Eric Byrne to decide the fate of the final seat in Dublin South–Central. Briscoe was declared the victor after ten days of re-counting and re-checking ballot papers, leading to Briscoe describing the long count as being like "the agony and the ex-TD."[3]

Briscoe was sometimes critical of the leader of Fianna Fáil in the 1980s, once describing Charles Haughey's leadership as a "Fascist Dictatorship". He fronted a quietly discontented anti-Haughey faction within the Parliamentary Party, which included Charlie McCreevy, during Haughey's time as Taoiseach.[4]

Lord Mayor of Dublin[edit]

In 1988–1989 he was Lord Mayor of Dublin, also a post previously held by his father Robert. His term covered the second half of Dublin's Millennium Year 1988. After the City Council had made him Lord Mayor, Briscoe described his selection for the honour as "one of the proudest moments of my life".[5]

The Molly Malone statue on Grafton Street was unveiled by Briscoe during the Dublin Millennium celebrations in 1988, and he declared 13 June officially as Molly Malone Day.

Family political tradition[edit]

Briscoe is one of Ireland's most famous Jewish politicians.[6] The small Irish Jewish community have been enthusiastic and active participants in the country's political and legal world. Briscoe's father was one of several Jews involved in the War of Independence and Sinn Féin movements, which led to the Jewish community being targeted by British occupation forces. In Briscoe's time each of the three main political parties had a Jewish member in Ireland's 166-member Dáil.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mr. Ben Briscoe". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 9 March 2008. 
  2. ^ "Ben Briscoe". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 9 March 2008. 
  3. ^ Corry, Eoghan: I'm Glad You Asked Me That, Irish Political Quotations (Hodder 2007). Original reference can be found in The Irish Times, 7 December 1992
  4. ^ "From the archives: How Charlie Won the War (1983)". Politico.ie. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Ben Briscoe Follows Father to Become Dublin's 2nd Jewish Mayor". apnewsarchive.com. July 1988. 
  6. ^ "The Briscoes and service to Ireland". Shamrock Club of Wisconsin. February 2009. 
Civic offices
Preceded by
Carmencita Hederman
Lord Mayor of Dublin
1988–1989
Succeeded by
Seán Haughey