Colm Keaveney

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Colm Keaveney
Teachta Dála
In office
February 2011 – February 2016
Constituency Galway East
Chairman of the Labour Party
In office
15 April 2012 – 26 June 2013
Leader Eamon Gilmore
Personal details
Born (1971-01-11) 11 January 1971 (age 47)
County Galway, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Fianna Fáil (since 2013)
Other political
Labour Party

Colm Keaveney (born 11 January 1971) is a former Irish Fianna Fáil politician.[1] He was elected as a Labour Party Teachta Dála (TD) for the Galway East constituency at the 2011 general election,[2] He sat as an independent TD after losing the Labour whip in December 2012.[3] He resigned from the party in June 2013, and joined Fianna Fáil in December 2013. He is a former Chairman of the Labour Party. He lost his seat at the 2016 general election.


He is originally from the village of Garrafrauns, in north County Galway.[4]

Political career[edit]

Keaveney was an unsuccessful candidate in Galway East at the 1997 general election. He was first elected to Tuam Town Council in the 1999 local elections.[2] In 2004 he was elected to Galway County Council, gaining just under 2,000 votes in the Tuam electoral area.

He is a former SIPTU trade union official and former President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).[5]

At the 2011 general election, he was elected as the first ever Labour Party TD for the Galway East constituency,[6] taking the last seat on the ninth count with a total poll of 10,126 votes.

At the 2012 Labour Party Conference in Galway, he was elected Chairman of the Labour Party. Following the publication of the 2012 Constituency Commission report, he was listed by The Irish Times as one of 13 TDs most likely to lose their seats in the next election. New boundaries saw Galway East lose a seat and the transfer of 20,500 voters out of the constituency, centred on his home town of Tuam.[7]

On 13 December 2012, he voted against the government on the cut to the respite care grant, which formed part of the 2013 budget; this led to his loss of the Parliamentary Labour Party whip. In a tweet just before the vote in the Dáil, he said "Acta non verba", Latin for "deeds not words".[3][8][9] He remained as Chairman of the Labour Party, as he was elected by the party members. Keaveney subsequently resigned from the party on 26 June 2013.[10] Keaveney vocally opposed the government's X-Case legislation, both because of the absence of a time limit for termination and because he feared that the "suicide" clause would "normalise" suicide at a time when it was already becoming a serious problem in Ireland.[11] He had previously expressed pro-choice views, telling a Tuam Town Council debate in 2000 that abortion was "the last resort for women and every aspect of a woman’s decision should be looked at and taken into consideration" and that anti-abortion literature distributed by colleague Martin Ward was "sickening and offensive".[12]

In December 2013, he joined the Fianna Fáil party.[13] Keaveney said that Fianna Fáil ".. has learned from its mistakes in the past" and he would be a Fianna Fáil candidate at the next general election for Galway East. In response to his application, Labour TD Pat Rabbitte, who had clashed with Keaveney repeatedly, derisively referred to it as "a match made in heaven".[14]

Keaveney's defection was met with opposition from local members of Fianna Fáil in Galway East, particularly from supporters of local TD Michael Kitt and former MEP Mark Killilea. Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin was forced to deny rumours that Keaveney would be selected as the sole candidate for the party in the next general election.[15][16]

He was an unsuccessful Fianna Fáil candidate for the Galway East constituency at the 2016 general election.[2]


  1. ^ "Mr. Colm Keaveney". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Colm Keaveney". Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Labour chairman Keaveney votes against Government". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  4. ^ The Tuam Herald, Vol. 174, No. 41, p.1. Issue date 17 February 2011. ISSN 2009-3136
  5. ^ "Restoration of social welfare rights sought". The Irish Times. p9. 23 March 1996.
  6. ^ The Tuam Herald, Vol. 174, No. 43, p.1. Issue date 3 March 2011. ISSN 2009-3136
  7. ^ "The TDs Facing A Battle". The Irish Times. 25 March 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "Blow for Gilmore as Labour chairman Colm Keaveney quits parliamentary party over welfare cuts". Irish Independent. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Labour TD Colm Keaveney votes against Social Welfare Bill". RTÉ News. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "Colm Keaveney resigns from Labour Party". RTÉ News. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  11. ^ Colm Keaveney, I have always considered myself pro-choice but I can't support the proposed abortion bill, The Journal, 25 May 2013
  12. ^ Connacht Tribune, Vol. 91, No. 10, p. 2. Issue date 2 March 2000. ISSN 0791-1807
  13. ^ "Former Labour Party chairman Colm Keaveney joins Fianna Fáil". RTÉ News. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  14. ^ "Keaveney joins Fianna Fáil and will run in Galway East". The Irish Times. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  15. ^ "Grassroots Fianna Fáil Members seething over Keaveney move". The Connacht Tribune. 5 December 2013. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  16. ^

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Noel Treacy
(Fianna Fáil)
Teachta Dála for Galway East
Succeeded by
Seán Canney
Party political offices
Preceded by
Brian O'Shea
Chairperson of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Lorraine Mulligan