Frances Fitzgerald (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Frances Fitzgerald

Frances Fitzgerald 2014.png
Member of the European Parliament
Assumed office
2 July 2019
In office
6 May 2016 – 28 November 2017
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Leo Varadkar
Preceded byJoan Burton
Succeeded bySimon Coveney
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation
In office
14 June 2017 – 28 November 2017
TaoiseachLeo Varadkar
Preceded byMary Mitchell O'Connor
Succeeded byHeather Humphreys
Minister for Justice and Equality
In office
8 May 2014 – 14 June 2017
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byAlan Shatter
Succeeded byCharles Flanagan
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
In office
9 March 2011 – 7 May 2014
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byCharles Flanagan
Leader of Fine Gael in the Seanad
In office
30 July 2007 – 25 February 2011
LeaderEnda Kenny
Preceded byMichael Finucane
Succeeded byMaurice Cummins
Teachta Dála
In office
February 2011 – July 2019
ConstituencyDublin Mid-West
In office
November 1992 – June 2002
ConstituencyDublin South-East
In office
24 July 2007 – 25 February 2011
ConstituencyLabour Panel
Personal details
Frances Ryan

(1950-08-01) 1 August 1950 (age 70)
Croom, County Limerick, Ireland
Political party Irish:
Fine Gael
European People's Party
Spouse(s)Michael Fitzgerald (m. 1990)
EducationDominican College Sion Hill
Alma mater

Frances Fitzgerald (née Ryan; born 1 August 1950) is an Irish politician who has been a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Ireland for the Dublin constituency since July 2019. She is a member of Fine Gael, part of the European People's Party. She previously served as Tánaiste from 2016 to 2017, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation from June 2017 to November 2017, Minister for Justice and Equality from 2014 to 2016, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs from 2011 to 2014, Leader of the Opposition in the Seanad and Leader of Fine Gael in the Seanad from 2007 to 2011. She was a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1992 to 2002 and 2011 to 2019. She was also a Senator for the Labour Panel from 2007 to 2011.[1][2]

She was the second Fine Gael politician to ever hold the office of Tánaiste, after Peter Barry in 1987.

Early and personal life[edit]

Born Frances Ryan, in Croom, County Limerick, she was educated at the Holy Family Secondary School Newbridge, the Dominican College Sion Hill, University College Dublin and the London School of Economics, where she studied a Masters in Social Administration and Social Work.[3] She is a former social worker.

She is married to Professor of Psychiatry Michael Fitzgerald, with whom she has three sons.[4][5]

Political career[edit]

Fitzgerald was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fine Gael TD for the Dublin South-East constituency, at the 1992 general election. She retained her seat at the 1997 general election. She lost her seat at the 2002 general election. She then stood for election to the 22nd Seanad, for the Administrative Panel, but was unsuccessful.

At the 1999 local elections, she was elected as a Dublin City Councillor for Rathmines, she sought to contest the 2004 local elections[6] for the Rathmines ward but was not selected[7] at the convention, losing out to Edie Wynne and Brian Gillen. She was not subsequently added to the ticket.

Before being elected a TD, she had been a high-profile Chair of the Council for the Status of Women from 1988 to 1992.

She was the Fine Gael candidate at the 2007 general election for the Dublin Mid-West constituency, but was not elected.[8] She was elected to the Seanad in July 2007. On 12 September 2007, she was appointed leader of the Fine Gael group in Seanad Éireann, and was also Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Health and Children, and a member of the Fine Gael Front Bench.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (2011–2014)[edit]

She was elected as a Fine Gael TD for the Dublin Mid-West constituency at the 2011 and 2016 general elections.[6] On 9 March 2011, she was appointed as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. In the role she spoke out forcefully against the Catholic Church's role in covering up child abuse.[9]

Minister for Justice and Equality (2014–2017)[edit]

On 8 May 2014, Fitzgerald succeeded Alan Shatter as Minister for Justice and Equality.[10][11]

Fitzgerald has spoken out in support of young families, and believes the government should take a more proactive role in helping parents and children. "I feel so strongly about the State taking a more proactive role around childcare, paternity leave and parental leave," she noted. "I do want to see us getting to the place where the State is more supportive when it comes to childcare. We have been slow enough on that."[12]

In early 2016, when gangland activity became an issue in Dublin, Fitzgerald committed that there would be a permanent armed response unit in Dublin.[13]

On 6 May 2016, Fitzgerald was reappointed the Minister for Justice and Equality. She was also promoted to the position of Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister), by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.[14][15]

After the 2017 Fine Gael leadership election, brought about by Enda Kenny's resignation as party leader, Fitzgerald 'seriously considered' putting her name down as a candidate for leader but ultimately decided against it.[16]

After Leo Varadkar was elected Leader of Fine Gael, and by extension Taoiseach-designate, he was asked whether he would make his rival Simon Coveney Tánaiste. He confirmed Fitzgerald would remain as Tánaiste, saying 'we have a Tánaiste, it's Frances Fitzgerald and I think she's doing an excellent job'.[17] Upon his appointment as Taoiseach, Varadkar retained Fitzgerald as Tánaiste, but moved her from Justice and Equality to Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Charles Flanagan replaced her as Minister of Justice and Equality.[18]


In November 2017, Fitzgerald was accused of interference in the case of a whistleblower, who had claimed widespread malpractice and corruption in the Garda Síochána.[19] She denied the allegation, Leader of the Opposition, Micheál Martin threatened a vote of no confidence, jeopardising the confidence and supply between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.[19] Whilst retaining support from many within her party, a number of Fine Gael deputies called on her to resign.[20] On 28 November 2017, Fitzgerald relented, offering her resignation to the Taoiseach, which he accepted.[21][20]

Fitzgerald was later cleared of blame by the Collins Report in March 2018.[22] In October 2018, the third interim report of the Disclosures Tribunal found that she had "selflessly" resigned in the national interest.[23]

European Parliament[edit]

On 4 March 2019, Fine Gael announced that Fitzgerald would be one of their two candidates for the Dublin constituency in the 2019 European Parliament election.[24] Former SDLP leader Mark Durkan, who joined Fine Gael to contest the election, was also announced as the second candidate.[25] She was elected as an MEP on the 14th count, with 16.23% of first preference votes.


  1. ^ "Frances Fitzgerald". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  2. ^ "Ireland's deputy PM resigns amid crisis". 28 November 2017 – via
  3. ^ "Lunch with... Frances Fitzgerald". Irish Independent. 1 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Profile: Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald". Irish Times. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Frances Fitzgerald: From social worker to Justice Minister". The Journal. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Frances Fitzgerald". Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  7. ^ "Fitzgerald expected to be added to FG ticket". Irish Times. Irish Times.
  8. ^ "General Election 2007 – Dublin Mid–West". Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  9. ^ Ireland Confronts the Vatican The New York Times, 14 July 2011
  10. ^ "Frances Fitzgerald named as new Minister for Justice". Irish Independent. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Frances Fitzgerald to replace Shatter as Minister for Justice". RTÉ News. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  12. ^ Frances Fitzgerald: Miscarriage is the last big taboo in Ireland The Examiner, 3 January 2016
  13. ^ 'Saturation policing' – Frances Fitzgerald to set up new, permanent armed response unit in wake of gangland murders The Independent, 9 February 2016
  14. ^ "New Irish government ministers appointed to Cabinet". BBC News. BBC. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Frances Fitzgerald is Tánaiste in new Cabinet". RTÉ News. RTÉ. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  16. ^ "Richard Bruton rules himself out of FG leadership bid, says he will support Varadkar –". Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  17. ^ "Varadkar outlines his priorities after winning election". 2 June 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  18. ^ "Leo Varadkar's new Cabinet appointments". 14 June 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  19. ^ a b correspondent, Henry McDonald Ireland (27 November 2017). "Pressure grows on Irish deputy PM after police whistleblower claims". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  20. ^ a b correspondent, Henry McDonald Ireland (28 November 2017). "Irish government collapse averted as deputy PM resigns". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  21. ^ "Irish deputy PM to resign amid crisis". BBC News. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  22. ^ Ireland Deputy Political Editor, Jennifer Bray (28 March 2018). "DoJ cleared of blame on Charleton". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  23. ^ Sinead Morris (11 October 2018). "Fitzgerald 'selflessly' resigned in national interest, tribunal report finds". RTE. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  24. ^ McQuinn, Cormac (4 March 2019). "Former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald set to be selected as Fine Gaels candidate to run in the European elections". Irish Independent. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  25. ^ Gorman, Tommie (4 March 2019). "Former SDLP leader Durkan to contest European Elections for Fine Gael". RTÉ News. Retrieved 4 March 2019.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Garret FitzGerald
Fine Gael Teachta Dála for Dublin South-East
Succeeded by
Michael McDowell
Preceded by
Mary Harney
John Curran
Paul Gogarty
Joanna Tuffy
Teachta Dála for Dublin Mid-West
With: Joanna Tuffy (2011–2016)
Derek Keating (2011–2016)
Robert Dowds (2011–2016)
Gino Kenny (from 2016)
Eoin Ó Broin (from 2016)
John Curran (from 2016)
Succeeded by
Mark Ward
John Curran
Eoin Ó Broin
Gino Kenny
Political offices
New office Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
Succeeded by
Charles Flanagan
Preceded by
Alan Shatter
Minister for Justice and Equality
Preceded by
Joan Burton
Succeeded by
Simon Coveney
Preceded by
Mary Mitchell O'Connor
as Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation
Succeeded by
Leo Varadkar