Declan Bree

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Declan Bree
Declan-bree.jpg
Sligo County Councillor
Incumbent
Assumed office
1974
Constituency Sligo Strandhill
Teachta Dála
In office
November 1992 – June 1997
Constituency Sligo–Leitrim
Personal details
Born (1951-07-01) 1 July 1951 (age 63)
Nationality Irish
Political party Independent
Other political
affiliations
Labour Party (1992–2007)
Sligo/Leitrim Independent Socialist Organisation (1974–91)
Website www.declanbree.com

Declan Bree (born 1 July 1951) is an Irish independent politician who is the joint longest-serving member of Sligo Borough Council. He was a founder of the Sligo/Leitrim Independent Socialist Organisation in 1974, and was a member of that group until joining the Labour Party in 1991. He served in Dáil Éireann from 1992 to 1997. In May 2007, Bree resigned from the Labour Party, citing differences with their pre-electoral pact with Fine Gael, and his clashes with party leader Pat Rabbitte.

Political career[edit]

He was first elected to Sligo Corporation and Sligo County Council in 1974 and has retained his seat on both authorities at each subsequent election. He was Mayor of Sligo in 2004 and was Chairman of Sligo County Council in 1986.

He is a former Chairman of the Health Service Executive’s Regional Health Forum West, and he is also Chairman of the Western River Basin Advisory Council.

A member of Ireland's radical socialist youth organisation the Connolly Youth Movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he went on to become National Chairperson of the movement. A founder and former Chairperson and General Secretary of the Sligo/Leitrim Independent Socialist Organisation he has been a lifelong political activist.

He was the Sligo/Leitrim Campaign Director in both Divorce referendum campaigns and he was a lifelong member of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement.

He was the Secretary of the National Association of Labour Councillors, President of the Connolly Forum (Sligo) and he is also Secretary of the Gralton Labour History Committee (Leitrim). He is a patron of People's Movement[1] which campaigned against the Lisbon Treaty.

An active trade unionist he is a former member of the Western branch Committee of the Federated Workers Union of Ireland. He is a member of the Sligo branch of SIPTU. He is also a member of the Executive of the Local Authority Members Association.

Involved in numerous voluntary and cultural organisations over the years he is a member of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, a former Sligo County Secretary of Comhaltas, and was Cathaoirleach of the host branch of Comhaltas when Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann was awarded to Sligo. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Hawk's Well Theatre and a member of the Board of the Model:Niland Gallery.

The State military files released last year after 30 years which highlighted the whereabouts and activities of suspected 'subversives', included Declan Bree as well as other prominent activists such as Tomás Mac Giolla, Cathal Goulding, Captain James Kelly and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. Bree, in answer to this new notoriety, said 'This reflected the general paranoia of Church and State in the Ireland during the 60s and 70s, and "Practically everyone active in left wing politics at the time was considered dangerous and subversive", he added.

He first stood for election to Dáil Éireann as an independent candidate at the 1977 general election but was not elected. He was also unsuccessful at the 1981, February 1982, November 1982, 1987 and 1989 general elections. He was elected to the Dáil as a Labour Party Teachta Dála (TD) at the 1992 general election for the Sligo–Leitrim constituency.[2] He lost his seat at the 1997 general election. He stood again at the 2002 general election but was not elected.[3]

At the 2004 Labour Party annual conference, Bree argued against the pre-electoral pact with the right wing Fine Gael party. In Autumn 2005 Bree, a strong supporter of travellers rights, clashed with Labour Leader Pat Rabbitte over the issue of Traveller accommodation in Sligo.

A 2009 report, commissioned after a walk out by officials of Sligo Borough Council, found that remarks made at that meeting by him in relation to the proposed funding of a footbridge from a private development at Swan Point to Markievicz Road were "inappropriate and bullying". Bree said that he stood by what he said.[4]

Bree was involved in negotiations to set up the United Left Alliance in November 2010; however, disagreements arose and he did not join then.[5] Nevertheless, in February 2011 he joined and ran unsuccessfully at the 2011 general election in the Sligo–North Leitrim constituency.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Patrons of the Peoples Movement
  2. ^ "Mr. Declan Bree". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Declan Bree". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Bree's behaviour branded as 'inappropriate and bullying'". The Sligo Champion. 9 December 2009. 
  5. ^ Des Dewwin (13 December 2010). "ULA! "No one would have believed…."". Irish left Review. 
  6. ^ "Bree joins Left-Wing Alliance". The Irish Times. 13 February 2011.