James Tully (Irish politician)

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For other people named James Tully, see James Tully (disambiguation).

James "Jim" Tully (18 September 1915 – 20 May 1992) was an Irish trade unionist, politician and Deputy leader of the Labour Party who served as a minister in a series of Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition governments.[1]

A native of Carlanstown, near Kells in County Meath, Tully was educated in Carlanstown schools and in St. Patrick's Classical School in Navan. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Labour Party Teachta Dála (TD) for the Meath constituency at the 1954 general election.[2] He lost his seat at the 1957 general election, but was re-elected at the 1961 general election and served until 1982. When Labour entered into a coalition government with Fine Gael in 1973, he was appointed Minister for Local Government. While serving in that post he gained prominence for a massive increase in the building of public housing, and notoriety for an attempt to gerrymander Irish constituencies to ensure the re-election of the National Coalition at the 1977 general election. His electoral reorganisation effort, which came to be called a Tullymander, backfired spectacularly and helped engineer a landslide for the opposition, Fianna Fáil.[3]

Also as Minister for Local government Tully decided on alterations to the plans for the controversial Dublin Corporation Civic Offices.[4]

Tully was appointed Deputy Leader of the Labour Party under Michael O'Leary in 1981, and Minister for Defence in the short-lived 1981–82 Fine Gael-Labour Party government. In that capacity he traveled to Cairo in 1981 as Ireland's representative in Egypt's annual 6 October military victory parade. While in the reviewing stand, next to President Anwar Sadat, he suffered a shrapnel injury to his face when Sadat was assassinated by members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad who had infiltrated the Egyptian Army.

In 1982, a few months after the event, James Tully retired from politics. He died ten years later at the age of 76.


  1. ^ "Mr. James Tully". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "James Tully". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Ireland, 1912–1985: politics and society by Joseph J. Lee". Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin Civic Offices.". Dáil Éireann. 7 February 1974. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Bobby Molloy
Minister for Local Government
Succeeded by
Sylvester Barrett
Preceded by
Sylvester Barrett
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Paddy Power