Michael Woods (politician)

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For other people named Michael Woods, see Michael Woods (disambiguation).
Michael Woods
Minister for Education and Science
In office
27 January 2000 – 6 June 2002
Preceded by Micheál Martin
Succeeded by Noel Dempsey
Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources
In office
26 June 1997 – 27 January 2000
Preceded by Seán Barrett
Succeeded by Frank Fahey
Minister for the Marine
In office
11 February 1992 – 12 January 1993
Preceded by John P. Wilson
Succeeded by David Andrews
Minister for Agriculture and Food
In office
14 November 1991 – 11 February 1992
Preceded by Michael O'Kennedy
Succeeded by Joe Walsh
Minister for Social Welfare
In office
12 January 1993 – 15 December 1994
Preceded by Charlie McCreevy
Succeeded by Prionsias de Rossa
In office
10 March 1987 – 13 November 1991
Preceded by Gemma Hussey
Succeeded by Brendan Daly
In office
9 March 1982 – 14 December 1982
Preceded by Eileen Desmond
Succeeded by Barry Desmond
In office
12 December 1979 – 30 June 1981
Preceded by Charles Haughey
Succeeded by Eileen Desmond
Minister for Health
In office
17 November 1994 – 15 December 1994
Preceded by Brendan Howlin
Succeeded by Michael Noonan
In office
9 March 1982 – 14 December 1982
Preceded by Eileen Desmond
Succeeded by Barry Desmond
In office
12 December 1979 – 30 June 1981
Preceded by Charles Haughey
Succeeded by Eileen Desmond
Government Chief Whip
In office
1 July 1979 – 11 December 1979
Preceded by Patrick Lalor
Succeeded by Seán Moore
Teachta Dála
In office
June 1981 – February 2011
Constituency Dublin North–East
In office
June 1977 – June 1981
Constituency Dublin Clontarf
Personal details
Born (1935-12-08) 8 December 1935 (age 78)
Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Fianna Fáil
Spouse(s) Margot Maher
Children 5
Alma mater University College Dublin,
Harvard Business School
Occupation University lecturer
Religion Roman Catholic

Michael Woods (born 8 December 1935) is a former Irish Fianna Fáil politician, who served in a wide range of cabinet positions, most notably as Minister for Agriculture and Food, Minister for Education and Science and Minister for Health.[1]

Life[edit]

Woods was born in County Wicklow in December 1935. He was educated at Christian Brothers in Synge Street, Dublin; University College Dublin and Harvard Business School. He qualified with a degree in Agricultural science and a PhD in science.

Woods joined Fianna Fáil in 1968. At the 1977 general election he stood for the Dáil in the Dublin Clontarf constituency as a Fianna Fáil candidate and was elected alongside Fianna Fáil stalwart George Colley. From 1981 to 2011, he was elected for the Dublin North–East constituency.[2] In 1979 Jack Lynch appointed him as Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Government Chief Whip). That same year Woods supported Colley in his leadership bid, but the other candidate, Charles Haughey, was successful.

Despite Woods' support for the opponent, Haughey appointed him Minister for Health and Social Welfare. He held that post until 1981 and again in the short-lived 1982 government. In 1987 Fianna Fáil returned to power and Woods returned as Minister for Social Welfare. In 1991, he became Minister for Agriculture and Food. In 1992 Woods entered the leadership contest to succeed Haughey as leader. He received little support and withdrew from the contest. The eventual victor, Albert Reynolds, retained Woods as Minister for the Marine in his new Cabinet. Following the formation of the Fianna Fáil–Labour Party coalition in 1993 Woods remained in the Cabinet and was appointed Minister for Health.

In 1997 Fianna Fáil returned to power after three years in opposition. Woods was appointed Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources. He introduced a £70 million overhaul of Ireland's fishing fleet and also launched a new maritime college. In the Cabinet reshuffle in 2000 Woods replaced Micheál Martin as Minister for Education. He failed to be retained in the Cabinet following the 2002 general election. He was Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs from 2002–2007.

He retired from politics at the 2011 general election.[3]

Controversies[edit]

While serving as Minister for Education, Woods signed a controversial agreement with 18 Irish religious orders involved in child sex-abuse scandals which limited their compensation liability to the victims of abuse to only €128 million. This compensation scheme is projected to eventually cost the Irish government €1.35 billion. The agreement was signed just before the 2002 general election, and consequently was not laid before the cabinet for its approval. It then remained unpublished for several months.

In 2003 after brokering the deal, Woods claimed his strong Catholic faith made him the most suitable person to negotiate the deal.[4] He also denied allegations that he was a member of Opus Dei or the Knights of Saint Columbanus after the group Survivors of Child Abuse alleged he was a member of the former.[4]

After the publication of the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA), Michael Woods defended the deal, claiming the Department of Education and Science had the management role in the schools in question and that the state knew all the details when making the deal.[5] Mary Raftery criticised his remarks, pointing out that some of them contradicted remarks made by Woods himself.[5] Further, Woods declined to allow CICA to examine the legality of the court orders that committed the child inmates for decades into the industrial school system.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mr. Michael Woods". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 9 November 2009. 
  2. ^ "Michael Woods". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 9 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Brennan, Michael; Duggan, Barry (7 January 2011). "Woods on €106,000 pension as struggling party loses 11th TD". Irish Independent. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Eoghan Williams (12 October 2003). "My faith helped to save church abuse deal, says Woods". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 27 May 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Mary Raftery (25 May 2009). "Woods gives preview of the conservative fightback". The Irish Times. Retrieved 27 May 2009. 
Oireachtas
New constituency Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Dublin Clontarf
19771981
Constituency abolished
New constituency Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Dublin North–East
19812011
Succeeded by
Seán Kenny
(Labour Party)
Political offices
Preceded by
Patrick Lalor
Government Chief Whip
Jul. 1979–Dec. 1979
Succeeded by
Seán Moore
Minister of State at the Department of Defence
Jul. 1979–Dec. 1979
Preceded by
Charles Haughey
Minister for Health
1979–1981
Succeeded by
Eileen Desmond
Minister for Social Welfare
1979–1981
Preceded by
Eileen Desmond
Minister for Health
1982
Succeeded by
Barry Desmond
Minister for Social Welfare
1982
Preceded by
Gemma Hussey
Minister for Social Welfare
1987–1991
Succeeded by
Brendan Daly
Preceded by
Michael O'Kennedy
Minister for Agriculture and Food
1991–1992
Succeeded by
Joe Walsh
Preceded by
John Wilson
Minister for the Marine
1992–1993
Succeeded by
David Andrews
Preceded by
Charlie McCreevy
Minister for Social Welfare
1993–1994
Succeeded by
Proinsias De Rossa
Preceded by
Brendan Howlin
Minister for Health
1994
Succeeded by
Michael Noonan
Preceded by
Seán Barrett
Minister for Marine and Natural Resources
1997–2000
Succeeded by
Frank Fahey
Preceded by
Micheál Martin
Minister for Education and Science
2000–2002
Succeeded by
Noel Dempsey