24th Government of Ireland

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Government of the 27th Dáil
24th Government of Ireland
Date formed15 December 1994
Date dissolved26 June 1997
People and organisations
Head of stateMary Robinson
Head of governmentJohn Bruton
Deputy head of governmentDick Spring
Total no. of ministers15
Member partiesFine Gael
Labour Party
Democratic Left
Status in legislatureCoalition
Opposition leaderBertie Ahern (Fianna Fáil)
History
Legislature term(s)27th Dáil
Predecessor23rd Government
Successor25th Government

The 24th Government of Ireland (15 December 1994 – 26 June 1997) was the 2nd Government of the 27th Dáil. Known as the Rainbow Coalition, it was a coalition of Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Democratic Left. The Labour Party had been part of the 23rd Government with Fianna Fáil, formed after the 1992 general election, but left in 1994 following a number of scandals, particularly over the beef industry and the alleged mishandling of the prosecution of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth. After Albert Reynolds was replaced by Bertie Ahern as Fianna Fáil leader, there was speculation that Labour would rejoin Fianna Fáil in government, but instead it formed a government with two parties which had been in opposition. By-election gains since 1992 meant the three parties had enough TDs between them for an overall majority.

This was the first time, and as of 2018 the only time, in Irish political history that a new government was formed within the same Dáil term composed of different parties.

Ministers[edit]

Nomination of Taoiseach vote[edit]

15 December 1994
Nomination of Taoiseach vote for John Bruton (FG)

Motion proposed by Nora Owen and seconded by Paddy Harte
Absolute majority: 84/166
Vote Parties Votes
☑Y Yes Fine Gael (47), Labour Party (32), Democratic Left (6)
85 / 166
No Fianna Fáil (65), Progressive Democrats (9)
74 / 166
Not voting Independent (3), Ceann Comhairle (1), Fianna Fáil (1), Green Party (1),
Independent Fianna Fáil (1)
7 / 166
Source: Oireachtas Debates

Composition[edit]

Ministers are listed by seniority.

Office Name Term Party
Taoiseach John Bruton 1994–97 Fine Gael
Tánaiste Dick Spring 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Minister for Finance Ruairi Quinn 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Health Michael Noonan 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Equality and Law Reform Mervyn Taylor 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht Michael D. Higgins 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for the Environment Brendan Howlin 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Education Niamh Bhreathnach 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Justice Nora Owen 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Social Welfare Proinsias De Rossa 1994–97 Democratic Left
Minister for Tourism and Trade Enda Kenny 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Enterprise and Employment Richard Bruton 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Ivan Yates 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications Michael Lowry 1994–96 Fine Gael
Minister for Defence Hugh Coveney 1994–95 Fine Gael
Minister for the Marine

Changes 23 May 1995[edit]

Hugh Coveney was demoted to a junior ministry in 1995 after allegations of improper contact with businessmen.

Office Name Term Party
Minister for Defence Seán Barrett 1995–97 Fine Gael
Minister for the Marine

Changes 30 November 1996[edit]

Michael Lowry resigned in 1996 following reports of improper payments from businessman Ben Dunne.

Office Name Term Party
Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications John Bruton (acting) Fine Gael

Changes 3 December 1996[edit]

Office Name Term Party
Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications Alan Dukes 1996–97 Fine Gael

Footnotes[edit]

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • "History of Government – Twenty-Seventh Dáil". Department of the Taoiseach. Retrieved 20 October 2013.