|Minister for Education|
15 December 1994 – 26 June 1997
|Preceded by||Michael Smith|
|Succeeded by||Micheál Martin|
12 January 1993 – 17 November 1994
|Preceded by||Séamus Brennan|
|Succeeded by||Michael Smith|
November 1992 – June 1997
20 June 1997 – 3 July 1997
|Constituency||Nominated by the Taoiseach|
Niamh Síle Bhreathnach|
1 June 1945
Loughlinstown, Dublin, Ireland
|Political party||Labour Party|
|Spouse(s)||Tom Ferris (m. 1981)|
|Relations||Breandán Breathnach (Father)|
|Education||Dominican College Sion Hill|
|Alma mater||Froebel College of Education|
Niamh Síle Bhreathnach (born 1 June 1945) is a former Irish Labour Party politician who served as Minister for Education from 1993 to 1994 and 1994 to 1997. She served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dún Laoghaire constituency from 1992 to 1997. She was a Senator from June 1997 to July 1997, upon being Nominated by the Taoiseach.
She is one of six TDs to be appointed Minister on their first day in the Dáil.
Bhreathnach was born in Loughlinstown, Dublin in 1945, the daughter of Breandán Breathnach, a civil servant and collector of traditional music. She was educated at Dominican College Sion Hill and Froebel College of Education, Dublin, later qualifying as a remedial teacher.
Bhreathnach was chairperson of the Labour Party from 1990 until 1993. She was elected as a Teachta Dála for Dún Laoghaire at the 1992 general election, serving until her defeat at the 1997 general election. In 1993 she became Minister for Education in the Fianna Fáil-Labour Party coalition government. She remained in that post during the "Rainbow Coalition" until 1997. During her time as minister, the first White paper on Education was published, tuition fees for third-level institutions were abolished, and the Regional Technical Colleges were upgraded to Institutes of Technology. She also brought in the legacy posts, teaching positions for disadvantaged schools.
After losing her Dáil seat in 1997, Bhreathnach was nominated by the outgoing Taoiseach, John Bruton, to the last days of the 20th Seanad. She sought a nomination from the Labour Party for the elections to the 21st Seanad, and there was some surprise when she was not one of the five candidates nominated by the party. She did not seek a nomination from the nominating bodies.
She stood again for the Dáil at the 2002 general election, but did not regain her seat, and did not contest the 2007 general election. She was a member of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for the Blackrock local electoral area from 2004 to 2014.
- "Mrs. Niamh Bhreathnach". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
- "Ó Ríordáin to meet Quinn over cuts". RTÉ News. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
- "Five chosen for vacancies in Seanad". The Irish Times. 14 June 1997. Retrieved 20 February 2008.
- Michael O'Regan (19 June 1997). "Breathnach drops Seanad ambition". The Irish Times. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
- "Niamh Bhreathnach". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 20 February 2008.
| Labour Party Teachta Dála for Dún Laoghaire
| Minister for Education
| Minister for Education