Brendan Corish

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Brendan Corish
Tánaiste
In office
14 March 1973 – 5 July 1977
Preceded by Erskine H. Childers
Succeeded by George Colley
Minister for Health
In office
14 March 1973 – 5 July 1977
Preceded by Pádraig Faulkner
Succeeded by Charles Haughey
Minister for Social Welfare
In office
14 March 1973 – 5 July 1977
Preceded by Joseph Brennan
Succeeded by Charles Haughey
In office
2 June 1954 – 20 March 1957
Preceded by James Ryan
Succeeded by Paddy Smith
Leader of the Labour Party
In office
2 March 1960 – 26 June 1977
Preceded by William Norton
Succeeded by Frank Cluskey
Parliamentary Secretary at the Department of Defence
In office
18 February 1948 – 13 June 1951
Preceded by Éamonn Kissane
Succeeded by Donnchadh Ó Briain
Parliamentary Secretary at the Department of Local Government
In office
18 February 1948 – 13 June 1951
Preceded by Erskine Childers
Succeeded by Office abolished
Teachta Dála
In office
6 December 1948 – 27 January 1982
Constituency Wexford
Personal details
Born (1918-11-19)19 November 1918
Wexford, Ireland
Died 17 February 1990(1990-02-17) (aged 71)
Wexford, Ireland
Political party Labour Party
Spouse(s) Phyllis Corish
Children 3
Occupation Clerical service worker

Brendan Corish (19 November 1918 – 17 February 1990) was an Irish Labour Party politician, and leader of his party from 1960 to 1977. He also served in a number of cabinet positions, most notably as Tánaiste, Minister for Health and Minister for Social Welfare.[1]

Early and personal life[edit]

He was born in Wexford town. His father, Richard Corish, a well-known trade union official and Sinn Féin member, had been elected to the First Dáil shortly after the birth of his son and later joined the Labour Party, serving as a local and national politician until his death in 1945.

He was educated locally at Wexford CBS and, in his youth, was a member of the 1st Wexford Scout troop (Scouting Ireland). At the age of nineteen he joined the clerical staff of Wexford County Council.

He was married to Phyllis, and they had three sons.

Political career[edit]

Corish was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Labour Party candidate in the Wexford by-election in 1945, necessitated by the death of his father who was the sitting TD.[2] He took a seat on the fractured opposition benches, as Fianna Fáil's grip on power continued.

He retained his seat at the 1948 general election in which Fianna Fáil was returned as the largest party in the Dáil once again.[3] However, Fine Gael, the Labour Party, the National Labour Party, Clann na Poblachta, Clann na Talmhan and a number of Independent candidates all came together to form the first inter-party government. Corish was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministers for Defence and Local Government.

When the Second Inter-party Government was formed after the 1954 general election, Corish was appointed Minister for Social Welfare.[4]

In 1960 Corish succeeded William Norton as Labour Party leader.[2] He introduced new policies which made the party more socialist in outlook. However, the party moved carefully because 'socialism' was still considered a dirty word in 1960s Ireland. Corish claimed that Ireland would be 'Socialist in the Seventies'. To a certain extent he was right because Fine Gael and the Labour Party formed a coalition government between 1973 and 1977.[2] Corish became Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Social Welfare.[2]

In 1977, the Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave called a general election, and Fianna Fáil was returned to power in a landslide victory. Corish resigned as leader of the Labour Party, having signalled his intent to do so before the election.[2] He was succeeded as party leader by Frank Cluskey.[2] Corish retired from politics completely at the February 1982 general election.

Death[edit]

Brendan Corish died on 17 February 1990 in Wexford at the age of 71.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mr. Brendan Corish". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f O'Leary, Cornelius (1979). Irish elections 1918–1977: Parties, voters and proportional representation. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-7171-0898-5. 
  3. ^ "Brendan Corish". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Lyons, F.S.L. (1973). Ireland since the famine. Suffolk: Collins / Fontana. p. 880. ISBN 0-00-633200-5. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Eamonn Kissane
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence
1948–1951
Succeeded by
Donnchadh Ó Briain
Preceded by
Erskine H. Childers
Parliamentary Secretary at the Department of Local Government
1948–1951
Office abolished
Preceded by
James Ryan
Minister for Social Welfare
1954–1957
Succeeded by
Paddy Smith
Preceded by
Erskine H. Childers
Tánaiste
1973–1977
Succeeded by
George Colley
Preceded by
Pádraig Faulkner
Minister for Health
1973–1977
Succeeded by
Charles Haughey
Preceded by
Joseph Brennan
Minister for Social Welfare
1973–1977
Party political offices
Preceded by
William Norton
Leader of the Labour Party
1960–1977
Succeeded by
Frank Cluskey