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Brendan Halligan (born 5 July 1936) is an Irish economist, former Secretary of the Labour Party and Member of the European Parliament. He is currently chairman of the Institute of International and European Affairs, a think tank on European and International affairs. He is also a Board Member of Mainstream Renewable Energy.
Halligan was born in Dublin in 1936. He was educated at St James's Christian Brothers School and Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, he graduated with a master's degree from University College Dublin in 1964. Following an early career as an economist, working with the Irish Sugar Company until 1967, he then became involved in politics. In that year he became General-Secretary of the Labour Party.
The leader, Brendan Corish, relied on Halligan's intellectual and political skills in his new role. Under Halligan the party underwent an energetic reorganisation. New structures and policies were put in place, coinciding with the party's leftward policy shift and an acute anti-coalition stance. Halligan strongly supported both ideals, but was instrumental in securing the eventual, and somewhat unwilling, acceptance by the party of the reversal of anti-coalition stance after the disappointing results in the 1969 general election. The 1973 general election resulted in a Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition government coming to power.
He was appointed to Seanad Éireann in 1973, three years later he won a by-election in Dublin South-West, and as a result became a Teachta Dála (TD). After boundary changes, he stood in the new Dublin Finglas at the 1977 general election, but was not re-elected. Halligan stood again in the revived Dublin North-West constituency at the 1981 and November 1982 general elections, but was not elected.
He continued to serve as General-Secretary of the party until 1980 and was appointed as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 1983 until 1984, replacing Frank Cluskey, where he specialised in economic affairs and energy policy.
In 1980, Halligan set up his own public affairs consultancy based in Dublin, CIPA, and became a lecturer in Economics at the University of Limerick. In 1985, he was appointed as Chairman of Bórd na Móna, the Irish Peat Development Authority, a position he held for ten years. He was Director of CIPA until 2014. Also in 1980, he founded the Institute of International and European Affairs. Halligan has had a strong commitment to European affairs since the 1960s.
Resulting from his keen interest and experience in energy policy and renewable energy, Halligan served as Chair of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland from 2007-14. He is currently Chair of the IIEA and he is also a Board Member of Mainstream Renewable Energy.