Brendan McGahon

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Brendan McGahon (born 22 November 1936) is a former Irish Fine Gael politician.[1] He was a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Louth constituency. Often described as 'colourful' and with a reputation as a social conservative, McGahon was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the November 1982 general election and retained his seat until retiring at the 2002 general election.

McGahon was born in Dundalk, County Louth and was educated at St. Mary's College in Dundalk. His grandfather, T.F. McGahon, was one of the inaugural members of Dundalk Urban District Council when it was created along with other Irish local authorities by the British Government in 1898. T.F. McGahon was a leading member of the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP). He started a local newspaper, the Dundalk Democrat which was supportive of the IPP. T.F. was a critic of the War of Independence campaign, of Sinn Féin, and of the then IRA, arguing that the campaign would result in the partition of Ireland. He was later succeeded on the council by his son, O.B. McGahon who in turn was followed by his nephew, Hugh McGahon. The family subsequently supported the National League Party and the Independent TD James Coburn and joined Fine Gael when Coburn joined the party. They were also prominent members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Brendan married Celine Lundy, a widow from Newry, County Down, and took over the running of the family newspaper business in the 1960s and succeeded his cousin Hugh, on Dundalk Town Council and on Louth County Council at the 1979 local elections. He played soccer for Dundalk F.C. in the Premier Division for a number of years. McGahon was an unsuccessful candidate at the 1981 general election and at the February 1982 general election. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann for Louth at the November 1982 general election defeating incumbent Fine Gael TD, Bernard Markey.[2] He was re-elected at the next five general elections.

A maverick and outspoken TD he was known to speak his mind on many issues including divorce, crime, single mothers, the drinks industry and was an outspoken critic of the Provisional IRA throughout his time in politics. He once advocated that paedophiles should be castrated as part of their prison sentence and was the only TD to oppose the referendum to abolish the death penalty from the Constitution. He also argued that those aged under 21 years of age should not be able to drive or drink. He did not contest the 2002 general election and retired from politics.

He opposed the decriminalisation of homosexuality and said: "I regard homosexuals as being in a sad category, but I believe homosexuality to be an abnormality, some type of psycho-sexual problem that has defied explanation over the years. I do not believe that the Irish people desire this normalisation of what is clearly an abnormality. Homosexuality is a departure from normality and while homosexuals deserve our compassion they do not deserve our tolerance. That is how the man in the street thinks. I know of no homosexual who has been discriminated against. Such people have a persecution complex because they know they are different from the masses or normal society. They endure inner torment and it is not a question of the way others view them. The lord provided us with sexual organs for a specific purpose. Homosexuals are like left-hand drivers driving on the right-hand side of the road."[3]

McGahon lives in Ravensdale, County Louth. His son, Conor, was a councillor from 1991–99 and his brother, Johnny, lost his seat in the 2004 local elections ending the McGahon family's 108 consecutive year representation on Dundalk Town and Louth County Council. His nephew, John McGahon, was elected to Louth County Council in the 2014 local elections at 23 years of age.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mr. Brendan McGahon". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "Brendan McGahon". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Dáil Éireann - Volume 432. Private Members' Business. - Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill, 1993: Second Stage". Houses of the Oireachtas. 23 June 1993. Retrieved 10 August 2013.