Daniel Morrissey

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Daniel Morrissey
Minister for Justice
In office
7 March 1951 – 13 June 1951
Taoiseach John A. Costello
Preceded by Seán Mac Eoin
Succeeded by Gerald Boland
Minister for Industry and Commerce
In office
18 February 1948 – 7 March 1951
Taoiseach John A. Costello
Preceded by Seán Lemass
Succeeded by Thomas F. O'Higgins
Leas-Cheann Comhairle
In office
2 May 1928 – 29 January 1932
Preceded by Patrick Hogan
Succeeded by Patrick Hogan
Teachta Dála
In office
February 1948 – March 1957
Constituency Tipperary North
In office
August 1923 – February 1948
Constituency Tipperary
In office
June 1922 – August 1923
Constituency Tipperary Mid, North and South
Personal details
Born (1895-11-28)28 November 1895
Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland
Died 4 November 1981(1981-11-04) (aged 85)
Stillorgan, County Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Fine Gael
Other political
affiliations
Labour Party (1922–1931)
Independent (1931-1933)
Cumann na nGaedhael (1933-1934)
Occupation Labourer, auctioneer

Daniel Morrissey (28 November 1895 – 4 November 1981)[1][2] was an Irish labourer, businessman, trade union leader and politician. He served as Minister for Industry and Commerce and Minister for Justice during the First Inter-Party Government.[3]

Early life[edit]

Morrissey was born in Nenagh, County Tipperary, the son of William Morrissey, a small carter-contractor, and his wife Bridget (née Gleeson). He was educated locally and, although he left school against his mother's wishes at the age of 12, he continued his own reading and studies.

Trade unionism[edit]

Morrissey's interest in trade unionism began when he was working as a labourer with Great Southern Railways. He left after a dispute with his foreman in 1915 and joined the staff of a national insurance society. Almost at once he began organising trades union in South Tipperary. Rapidly advancing in the trade union movement, he was soon on the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union executive, a delegate to the Irish Trades Union Congress and fraternal delegate to the Scottish Trades Union Congress. Morrissey opposed the TUC decision not to contest the 1918 general election.

Political career[edit]

Morrissey was a successful candidate for the Labour Party at the 1920 local elections. In 1922 he was nominated as a Dáil candidate for the Tipperary Mid, North and South constituency and won his first election easily.[4] Because of the outbreak of the Civil War the new Dáil did not meet for several months. Though Anti-Treaty Sinn Féin TDs abstained, Morrissey and his 16 Labour Party colleagues attended and became the official opposition. In 1923 he became Labour Party Chief Whip and served as Leas-Cheann Comhairle between 1928 and 1932.

In 1931 Morrissey went against his own party and supported the Cosgrave Government's measures against the Irish Republican Army, thus ending his membership of the Labour Party. In spite of this he was re-elected as an Independent in 1932 before joining Cumann na nGaedhael and later Fine Gael.

Following the 1948 general election, Fine Gael leader Richard Mulcahy proposed the idea of forming a coalition government and ousting Fianna Fáil after 16 years in government. Morrissey was instrumental in securing the support of his former colleagues in the Labour Party and the breakaway National Labour Party. After successful negotiations Morrissey became the first minister to be appointed in the First Inter-Party Government when he took the Industry and Commerce brief. He proved to be an active minister, establishing Córas Tráchtála and the Industrial Development Authority as well as nationalising CIÉ. Morrissey was also a member of the negotiating team which concluded the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1948. He was appointed Minister for Justice in a cabinet reshuffle in 1951 and held the position until the collapse of the government later that year.

Following the 1954 general election, Morrissey was a member of the negotiating team which created the Second Inter-Party Government. He declined a cabinet position due to his age.

Morrissey retired from the Dáil on health grounds at the 1957 general election.

Later life[edit]

In retirement from politics Morrissey returned to his auctioneering business where he worked until 1965. He died at his home in Stillorgan, County Dublin on 4 November 1981.

Appraisal[edit]

In Professor Tom Garvin's review of the 1950s News from a New Republic, Morrissey comes in for praise as a moderniser and the instigator of the Industrial Development Authority. Garvin places him with a cross party group including Gerard Sweetman of Fine Gael and William Norton of the Labour Party as well as Seán Lemass of Fianna Fáil who were pushing a modernising agenda.

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Seán Lemass
Minister for Industry and Commerce
1948–1951
Succeeded by
Thomas F. O'Higgins
Preceded by
Seán Mac Eoin
Minister for Justice
1951
Succeeded by
Gerald Boland