Mícheál Ó Móráin

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Micheál Ó Moráin
Minister for Justice
In office
27 March 1968 – 5 May 1970
Taoiseach Jack Lynch
Preceded by Brian Lenihan
Succeeded by Desmond O'Malley
Minister for the Gaeltacht
In office
11 October 1961 – 26 March 1968
Taoiseach Seán Lemass
Jack Lynch
Preceded by Gerald Bartley
Succeeded by Pádraig Faulkner
In office
26 June 1957 – 23 July 1959
Taoiseach Éamon de Valera
Preceded by Jack Lynch
Succeeded by Gerald Bartley
Minister for Lands
In office
23 July 1959 – 26 March 1968
Taoiseach Seán Lemass
Jack Lynch
Preceded by Erskine Childers
Succeeded by Pádraig Faulkner
Teachta Dála
In office
June 1938 – April 1965
Constituency Mayo South
Personal details
Born (1912-12-25)25 December 1912
Castlebar, Mayo, Ireland
Died 6 May 1983(1983-05-06) (aged 70)
Castlebar, Mayo, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Fianna Fáil
Alma mater University College Dublin
Occupation Solicitor

Mícheál Ó Móráin or Michael Moran (25 December 1912 – 6 May 1983) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician who served in several Cabinet positions from 1957 until 1970, most notably as Minister for Justice and Minister for the Gaeltacht.[1]

Ó Móráin was born in County Mayo, hailing from a strong Republican family, members of which had fought in the Irish War of Independence, and in the Irish Civil War on the pro-Treaty side. A solicitor by profession, Ó Móráin was first elected to Dáil Éireann for the Mayo South constituency on his second attempt at the 1938 general election.[2] He remained on the backbenches for a number of years until he was appointed to the cabinet by Éamon de Valera in 1957 as Minister for the Gaeltacht. He was a native Irish speaker. He was appointed Minister for Lands by Taoiseach Seán Lemass, in 1959 and was re-appointed to the Gaeltacht portfolio in 1961. He remained in these two Departments until 1968.

Ireland formally applied for EEC membership in July 1961. Ó Móráin, as Minister for Lands and the Gaeltacht, delivered a widely-reported address to the Castlebar Chamber of Commerce in 1962. In the speech he argued that Ireland was "ready to subscribe to the political aims of the EEC" and that Ireland didn't want to be seen as "committed" to its policy of neutrality.[3] In the ensuing controversy, Ó Móráin and Lemass denied that there was any suggestion Ireland might or should abandon neutrality. Outside the country, foreign governments saw this episode as a deliberately provoked debate in order to evaluate the government’s domestic room for manoeuver on neutrality.[3]

Ó Móráin was appointed Minister for Justice by Taoiseach Jack Lynch in 1968. It is in this role that he is most remembered. While Ó Móráin was still Minister, the Arms Crisis in Ireland erupted in 1970. This political scandal saw Government ministers Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney dismissed by the Taoiseach for alleged involvement in a conspiracy to smuggle arms to the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland. Ó Móráin continually suffered from ill-health, which was accentuated by his alcoholism. When the Arms Crisis erupted, Lynch came to see Ó Móráin in hospital and asked for his resignation. Ó Móráin was a witness at the subsequent Arms Trial. He testified that he had passed on Garda intelligence reports about the involvement of ministers with the IRA to the Taoiseach before the arms were seized at Dublin Airport.[4] Ó Móráin's evidence at the trial has been described as "erratic".[4]

Ó Móráin lost his Dáil seat at the 1973 general election and retired from politics. He died in Castlebar, County Mayo, on 6 May 1983.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mr. Michael Moran". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Michael Moran". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
  3. ^ a b O'Driscoll, Mervyn. West Germany and the Irish application to join the EEC, 1961–63: new findings (PDF). Reflections on Forty Years of Irish Membership of the EU, University College Cork, 28–29 November 2013. Irish Association for Contemporary European Studies. 
  4. ^ a b Ferriter, Diarmaid (2012-11-01). "12: Lost reputations and suppressed truth". Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s. Profile Books. ISBN 9781847658562. Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Jack Lynch
Minister for the Gaeltacht
1957–1959
Succeeded by
Gerald Bartley
Preceded by
Erskine H. Childers
Minister for Lands
1959–1968
Succeeded by
Pádraig Faulkner
Preceded by
Gerald Bartley
Minister for the Gaeltacht
1961–1968
Preceded by
Brian Lenihan
Minister for Justice
1968–1970
Succeeded by
Desmond O'Malley