Mary Flaherty (politician)
That election saw Fine Gael returned to power in a coalition government with the Labour Party, and on her first day in the Dáil Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald appointed Flaherty as Minister of State at the Department of Social Welfare. This was a junior post under Minister Eileen Desmond, but because Desmond's health was poor Flaherty often found herself in the firing line.
The government collapsed on 27 January 1982 when it lost a vote on the budget, and Flaherty left office when the new Fianna Fáil government was installed after the February 1982 general election. She later described her rapid promotion as having caused a lot of bad feeling among amongst older TDs who resented the rise of a 28-year-old woman.
Married to former Fine Gael Senator and TD Alexis FitzGerald, Jnr, she was a secondary school teacher before entering politics. After leaving the Dáil, she took up a part time job with The CARI Foundation, which supports abused children.
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