Henry Kenny

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Henry Kenny
Parliamentary Secretary
to the Minister for Finance
In office
14 March 1973 – 25 September 1975
Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave
Preceded by Noel Lemass, Jnr
Succeeded by Michael Begley
Teachta Dála
In office
June 1969 – September 1975
Constituency Mayo West
In office
June 1954 – June 1969
Constituency Mayo South
Personal details
Born (1913-09-07)7 September 1913
Castlebar, Mayo, Ireland
Died 15 September 1975(1975-09-15) (aged 62)
Swinford, Mayo, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Fine Gael
Spouse(s) Eithne Kenny
Relations Enda Kenny
Children 5
Occupation National school teacher

Henry Kenny (7 September 1913 – 25 September 1975) was an Irish Fine Gael politician from County Mayo and a Gaelic footballer who won an All-Ireland medal with the Mayo inter-county team in 1936.[1] A Teachta Dála (TD) for over 20 years, he was the father of Enda Kenny, the current Taoiseach.

Early life[edit]

He was born on Main Street, Castlebar, County Mayo. Kenny was educated at the local St. Patrick's national school and St. Gerald's College. He subsequently attended St. Patrick's College in Drumcondra, Dublin where he qualified as a national school teacher. After graduation he taught in Connemara and Williamstown, County Galway, before being appointed principal of Leitir national school in Islandeady, County Mayo.

Football career[edit]


Kenny played his club Gaelic football with Castlebar Mitchels club and enjoyed much success. He won several county senior championship medals in the 1930s.


Kenny's prowess at club level earned him a place on the Mayo senior inter-county team. Regarded as one of the best midfielders of his day he was a key member of the record-breaking Mayo team that won six consecutive National Football League titles from 1934 until 1939. Kenny also captured a coveted All-Ireland winners' medal in 1936.

Political career[edit]

Kenny's entry into politics was unusual in the sense that neither he nor his family were steeped in politics at the time. In spite of this he was elected to Dáil Éireann at his first attempt at the 1954 general election as a Fine Gael Teachta Dála (TD) for the Mayo South constituency.[2] The election saw Fine Gael enter government as the lead party in the country's second inter-party government. Kenny, as a new TD, remained on the backbenches, however, was subsequently elected to Mayo County Council.

Kenny retained his seat at 1957 general election, however, Fine Gael lost power as Fianna Fáil began sixteen years of uninterrupted government. During that time he retained his Dáil seat at every general election, moving to the Mayo West constituency in 1969. That same year he was appointed Fine Gael spokesperson on the Board of Works, a position he held until 1972. The results of the 1973 general election saw Fine Gael and the Labour Party form a coalition government. Kenny was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance where he had responsibility for the Board of Works.

Death and private life[edit]

Two years after being appointed to the government Kenny was diagnosed with cancer. He died on 25 September 1975. He was survived by his wife Eithne and five children – John, Henry, Enda, Kieran and Marie. His son, Enda, was elected to the Dáil as his replacement at the by-election in 1975.[3][4] He went on to join the cabinet of John Bruton in 1994 as Minister for Trade and Tourism, and is currently the Taoiseach of Ireland and leader of the Fine Gael party. Another son, also Henry Kenny, has been a member of Mayo County Council since 1999.[5] His widow Eithne Kenny died at the age of 93 in Castlebar on 26 November 2011.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mr. Henry Kenny". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "Henry Kenny". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "The Restaurant: Enda Kenny". RTÉ Television. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Siggins, Lorna (18 June 2010). "Only for Enda, there wouldn't be a Fine Gael party today". The Irish Times. 
  5. ^ "Henry Kenny, Jnr". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "Taoiseach's mother dies at the age of 93". Irish Independent. 26 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Enda Kenny's mother dies aged 93". RTÉ News. 28 November 2011. 
Preceded by
Dominick Cafferky
(Clann na Talmhan)
Fine Gael Teachta Dála for Mayo South
Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
New constituency Fine Gael Teachta Dála for Mayo West
Succeeded by
Enda Kenny
(Fine Gael)
Political offices
Preceded by
Noel Lemass, Jnr
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance
Succeeded by
Michael Begley