Hugh Coveney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Hugh P. Coveney (20 July 1935 – 14 March 1998) was an Irish Fine Gael politician, and a noted yachtsman.[1]

Early life[edit]

Hugh Coveney was born into one of Cork's prosperous "merchant prince" families in 1935. He was educated at Christian Brothers College, Cork, Clongowes Wood College and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. He worked as a chartered quantity surveyor before entering politics.

Political career[edit]

Coveney was Lord Mayor of Cork from 1982 to 1983. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fine Gael TD for Cork South–Central constituency at the 1981 general election.[2] He lost his seat in the first general election of 1982 but regained it in the second election in the same year. He lost his seat again in 1987 general election and did not contest the 1992 general election. He was elected to the Dáil again in 1994 in a by-election.

He was first appointed to the Cabinet in 1994 under John Bruton. Coveney was appointed Minister for Defence and Minister for the Marine. However, he was demoted to a junior ministry the following year after allegations of improper contact with businessmen.


Coveney's yacht Golden Apple of The Sun (designed by Cork-based designer Ron Holland) was a successful competitor in the Admiral's Cup in the 1970s.

A later 50-foot (15 m) yacht Golden Apple was used by the family for the "Sail Chernobyl" project. The family sailed around the world to raise €650,000 for the Chernobyl Children's Project, a charity which offers assistance to children affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.


In March 1998 it became publicly known that the Moriarty Tribunal had questioned Coveney about whether he had a secret offshore account with Ansbacher Bank, a bank which had become notorious for facilitating tax-evasion. Ten days later, on 13 March 1998, Coveney visited his solicitor to change his will. The next day, 14 March 1998, Coveney died in a fall from a seaside cliff while out walking alone. His son, Simon Coveney, insisted that his father had never held an Ansbacher account.[3] It later emerged that Hugh Coveney had $175,000 on deposit in the secret Cayman Island-based bank. The account was closed in 1979.[4]

Simon Coveney was later elected to succeed his father in the resulting by-election on 3 November 1998.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mr. Hugh Coveney". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "Hugh Coveney". Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Roche, Barry (1999-02-28). "Coveney changed will on the day before his death". Irish Independent. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Hugh Coveney `had $175,000 in Cayman'". Irish Independent. 11 February 2000. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
Civic offices
Preceded by
Paud Black
Lord Mayor of Cork
Succeeded by
John Dennehy
Political offices
Preceded by
David Andrews
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Seán Barrett
Minister for the Marine
Preceded by
Jim Higgins
Minister of State at the Department of Finance
Succeeded by
Martin Cullen