Alice Glenn

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Alice Glenn (née Duffy; 17 December 1921 – 16 December 2011) was an Irish Fine Gael politician.[1]

Early and private life[edit]

Alice Duffy was born in Dublin in 1921. She was educated locally before attending the Haslem School of Dress Designing. She subsequently worked as a dressmaker.

Political career[edit]

Glenn first became involved in politics when she contested the constituency of Dublin North-Central at the 1973 general election, as a Fine Gael candidate. She was unsuccessful on that occasion but was elected to Dublin City Council in 1974 for the Drumcondra area. She was also an unsuccessful candidate for Dublin Finglas at the 1977 general election. Glenn was eventually elected to Dáil Éireann on her third attempt, as a Fine Gael TD for the Dublin Central constituency at the 1981 general election.[1] She lost her seat eight months later in the first general election of 1982, but regained it in November 1982.[2]

She was the first woman elected to the Fine Gael national executive, the first woman member (in 270 years) of the Dublin Port and Docks Board and the first woman Chair of the Eastern Health Board.

Glenn was known for her strong social conservative views. In 1983 she was one of eight Fine Gael TDs to defy the party and vote against the Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition's proposed wording to the Pro-Life constitutional amendment on abortion.

The government's wording included a negative prohibition, namely that nothing in the constitution should be interpreted as granting a right to abortion. Glenn, along with Joe Doyle and other colleagues endorsed the Fianna Fáil alternative wording that granted a "right to life to the unborn, with due regard to the equal right of the mother". On legislation to make contraception available to people over 18, she said "What man wants anything to do with a girl who has been used and abused by any man who comes along with condoms?".[3]

She was fiercely against the legalisation of divorce. The proposal to legalise divorce was defeated in a referendum in 1986. (The constitutional change was passed nine years later in the Fifteenth Amendment). Glenn was famously quoted as saying that women voting in favour of divorce would be like "turkeys voting in favour of Christmas".[4]

Glenn was very hostile to communism, and in 1984 she and her husband travelled to Taiwan to attend a congress of the World Anti-Communist League.[5] Glenn also supported the Contra forces in Nicaragua.[6]

Glenn failed to be renominated by a Fine Gael selection convention in Dublin Central in November 1986.[7] She resigned from the party and fought the 1987 general election as an independent candidate but failed to be elected polling 4% of the vote and losing her deposit. She retired from politics following the loss of her Dublin City Council seat in 1991.


She died on 16 December 2011, on the eve of her 90th birthday. She had suffered a long illness.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Mrs. Alice Glenn". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Alice Glenn". Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Irish Times, 9 November 1984
  4. ^ The Women's Movement and Women Politicians in the Republic of Ireland, 1980–2000, Frances Gardener and Mary O'Dowd, editors, The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Vol. V, Irish Women's Writing and Traditions, p. 233.
  5. ^ "Alice Glenn is to address the annual congress of the right-wing World Anti-Communist League there, as the foremost anti-Communist public representative in Ireland". "Alice's Mission To Taiwan", Irish Independent, 23 June 1984, (p.6).
  6. ^ "Glenn was a member of the World Anti-Communist League and in the 1980s supported the CIA-backed Contras against Nicaragua's elected government.""Conviction politician whose patriotism was defined by her faith". The Irish Times. 24 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "Fine Gael TD Alice Glenn takes to the Bed with a Hot Whiskey – Nov 1986". November 1986. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Former Fine Gael TD dies". The Irish Times. 19 December 2011. 
  • McNamara, Maedhbh and Paschal Mooney. Women in Parliament: Ireland; 1918–2000. Dublin, Wolfhound, 2000.