Michael O'Leary (politician)

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

Michael O'Leary
Tánaiste
In office
30 June 1981 – 9 March 1982
TaoiseachGarret FitzGerald
Preceded byGeorge Colley
Succeeded byRay MacSharry
Leader of the Labour Party
In office
17 June 1981 – 1 November 1982
Preceded byFrank Cluskey
Succeeded byDick Spring
Minister for Energy
In office
30 June 1981 – 9 March 1982
TaoiseachGarret FitzGerald
Preceded byGeorge Colley
Succeeded byAlbert Reynolds
Minister for Labour
In office
14 March 1973 – 5 July 1977
TaoiseachLiam Cosgrave
Preceded byJoseph Brennan
Succeeded byGene Fitzgerald
Teachta Dála
In office
November 1982 – February 1987
ConstituencyDublin South-West
In office
June 1981 – February 1982
ConstituencyDublin Central
In office
April 1965 – June 1977
ConstituencyDublin North-Central
Member of the European Parliament
In office
1 July 1979 – 20 June 1984
ConstituencyDublin
Personal details
Born(1936-05-08)8 May 1936
Cork, Ireland
Died11 May 2006(2006-05-11) (aged 70)
Saint-Sever-de-Rustan, France
Resting placeSaint-Sever Abbey,
Landes, France
NationalityIrish
Political partyFine Gael
Other political
affiliations
Labour Party (until 1982)
Spouse(s)Mary O'Leary
(m. 1965; d. 2006)
Children3
EducationPresentation Brothers College, Cork
Alma mater

Michael O'Leary (8 May 1936 – 11 May 2006) was an Irish politician and barrister.[1] He was Minister for Labour and while leader of the Labour Party became Minister for Energy and Tánaiste. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1965 to 1977, 1981 to 1982 and 1982 to 1987. He was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 1979 to 1984. He later became a member of the Fine Gael party.

Early life[edit]

Born in Cork, the son of a publican, O'Leary was educated at Presentation College, University College Cork, Columbia University, New York and King's Inns. On returning to Ireland, he became involved in Labour politics and was employed as Education Officer for the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union (ITGWU). In this rôle he was instrumental in establishing the Universities Branch, affiliated to Dublin North-Central Constituency, bringing together Dublin University Fabian Society and University College Dublin Labour Party students.

Political career[edit]

O'Leary was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Labour Party Teachta Dála (TD) for Dublin North-Central at the 1965 general election.[2] His agent was Bob Mitchell, Chairman of Dublin University Fabian Society, who could claim credit in a dirty campaign for picking up transfers to squeeze out the Labour Party front-runner on the 11th recount.

When first elected to the Dáil, O'Leary encouraged the Labour Party to take a more left-wing stance in its policies. He was initially strongly opposed to the idea of a coalition with Fine Gael but after the 1969 general election he believed that there was a need for a new approach. When the Labour Party and Fine Gael formed the National Coalition government following the 1973 general election he was appointed Minister for Labour.

In 1977 he was narrowly defeated by Frank Cluskey for the leadership of the party. Cluskey resigned as Labour Party leader when he lost his Dáil seat at the 1981 general election and O'Leary was elected unanimously to succeed him. In the 1979 European Parliament election O'Leary was elected to the European Parliament for the Dublin constituency.

In the short-lived Fine Gael–Labour Party government of 1981 to 1982 O'Leary became Tánaiste and Minister for Energy. Shortly after the government defeat at the February 1982 general election he resigned as leader of the Labour Party and joined Fine Gael, subsequently being elected a TD for that party in the Dublin South-West constituency at the November 1982 general election. He was kept out of cabinet office by his former Labour colleagues.

In 1985, O'Leary introduced a private member's bill on divorce which forced the government into holding the 1986 divorce referendum.

When the Progressive Democrats were formed in 1985 he considered joining.

He did not contest the 1987 general election and afterwards he moved back to Cork and practised as a barrister. He unsuccessfully contested the 1992 general election in Cork North-Central and received about 2% of the valid poll. He was elected as a Fine Gael member of Cork City Council at the 1991 local elections.[3]

He was appointed a District Court judge in 1997 by the Fine Gael–Labour Party–Democratic Left coalition government.

Death[edit]

O'Leary died in France in May 2006 following a drowning accident in a swimming pool.[3] He was on holiday, having retired as a judge just days earlier.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mr. Michael O'Leary". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Michael O'Leary". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Former Tánaiste Michael O'Leary dies in France". RTÉ News. 12 May 2006.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Brennan
Minister for Labour
1973–1977
Succeeded by
Gene Fitzgerald
Preceded by
George Colley
Tánaiste
1981–1982
Succeeded by
Ray MacSharry
Minister for Energy
1981–1982
Succeeded by
Albert Reynolds
Party political offices
Preceded by
Frank Cluskey
Leader of the Labour Party
1981–1982
Succeeded by
Dick Spring