Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

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Senator
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.jpg
Ó Ríordáin in 2010
Minister of State for Communities, Culture and Equality
In office
14 July 2014 – 6 May 2016
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Preceded by New office
Succeeded by Catherine Byrne
Minister of State for the National Drugs Strategy
In office
10 April 2015 – 6 May 2016
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Preceded by New office
Succeeded by Catherine Byrne
Senator
Assumed office
24 April 2016
Constituency Industrial and Commercial Panel
Teachta Dála
In office
February 2011 – February 2016
Constituency Dublin North–Central
Personal details
Born 22 July 1976 (1976-07-22) (age 42)
Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Labour Party
Spouse(s) Áine Kerr
Alma mater University College Dublin
Website www.aodhanoriordain.ie

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin ([iːaːn̪ˠ oː ˈɾʲiːɾˠd̪ˠaːnʲ]; born 22 July 1976) is an Irish Labour Party Senator.[1] He was elected as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin North–Central constituency at the 2011 general election.[2] He lost his Dáil seat at the 2016 general election,[2] but was elected to Seanad Éireann on the Industrial and Commercial Panel in April 2016.

Councillor and TD[edit]

Ó Ríordáin was a Labour Party member of Dublin City Council for the North Inner City electoral area from 2004 to 2009 and then for the Clontarf electoral area from 2009 to 2011.[2] He served as Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin in 2006, during which time he launched his ‘Right to Read Campaign’ in an effort to improve the poor literacy rates in disadvantaged areas.

His move in 2009 to the Clontarf area positioned Ó Ríordáin to run for election to Dáil Éireann in the Dublin North–Central constituency, which he did at the 2011 general election; he took the second seat on the fourth count with 10,192 votes.[citation needed] As a member of the Labour backbenches, he served as Vice-Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection and as a member of both the Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform Committee and the Good Friday Agreement Implementation Committee.[citation needed]

Minister of State[edit]

On 15 July 2014 Ó Ríordáin was appointed Minister of State with responsibility for New Communities, Culture and Equality at the Departments of Justice and Equality and Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.[3] As Minister of State he prioritised reforming the Direct Provision system, ending the legal entitlement of Church-controlled state-funded institutions to discriminate against LGBT people, and he played a key role in the Yes campaign in the 2015 Marriage Equality Referendum.

On 28 April 2013 the Sunday Independent reported that Ó Ríordáin was secretly recorded by a pro-life activist as stating that the X-case legislation was only "the starting point", but that he would not state this publicly.[4]

As Minister of State for New Communities Ó Ríordáin coordinated the Polska Éire 2015 festival, which was a week-long cultural and sporting festival in the run-up to the March 2015 Republic of Ireland v. Poland UEFA European Championship qualifier.[citation needed]

In April 2015, Ó Ríordáin was appointed as Minister of State at the Department of Health, with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, in addition to his existing ministerial duties.[5]

Seanad Éireann[edit]

Ó Ríordáin's bid for re-election to the Dáil in Dublin North–Central at the 2016 general election was unsuccessful. However, he remained as a caretaker Minister of State for New Communities, Culture, Equality and Drug Strategy during the prolonged talks on government formation that followed, and was nominated by Labour for election to Seanad Éireann. In April 2016, shortly before this period elapsed, he was elected to the 25th Seanad on the Industrial and Commercial Panel.[6]

Following his own success in gaining the Labour Party leadership, Brendan Howlin appointed Ó Ríordáin as Labour's spokesperson on Environment and Sustainable Development, and Gaeltacht Affairs.

On 10 November 2016, following the United States presidential election, Ó Ríordáin made a public statement in the Seanad that went viral on social media, in which he labelled President-elect Donald Trump as a "fascist" and a "monster", quoting Edmund Burke's attributed maxim that "the only way evil can prosper is for good men to do nothing". He condemned Trump's statements threatening to imprison his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, barring Muslims from entering the country, mass deportations, and his assertions that the media and the political system were rigged. Describing current events as an "ugly political crossroads", Ó Ríordáin declared that he was "embarrassed" and "frightened" by the reaction of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the government, and sarcastically remarked that the government's reaction was to "ring [the U.S. government] up and ask them if it's okay to still bring the shamrock on St. Patrick's Day". He applauded SDLP leader Colum Eastwood's statement that his party would boycott the St. Patrick's Day ceremony at the White House during Trump's presidency.[7] [8]

On 26 October 2017, speaking in the Seanad regarding a mortgage lending scandal, Ó Ríordáin referred to the bankers as a "shower of bastards" who are "getting away with murder, year in year out, in this democracy". He was admonished by Cathaoirleach Denis O'Donovan for using unparliamentary language.[9]

Other activities[edit]

On 28 March, 2018 Paddy Jackson and his co-accused were found Not Guilty of rape and other charges. Following the verdict Ó Riordáin sent a tweet praising the complainant and questioning the jury's decision.[10] In response Jackson's solicitors have announced that he intends to sue Ó Riordáin for defamation following a tweet Ó Riordáin made following Jackson's acquittal.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Ó Ríordáin is a former teacher, and was principal of St. Laurence O'Toole's Girls' Primary School.[citation needed] He is married to Áine Kerr, Manager of News Partnerships at Facebook and former Managing Editor of Storyful.[11]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Oireachtas
Preceded by
Labour Party Teachta Dála for Dublin North–Central
2011–2016
Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
Incumbent
Political offices
New office Minister of State for New Communities, Culture and Equality
2014–2016
Succeeded by
Office abolished