|European Commissioner for Social Affairs|
1 February 1993 – 12 September 1999
|Preceded by||Vasso Papandreou|
|Succeeded by||Anna Diamantopoulou|
|Minister for Industry and Commerce|
11 February 1992 – 12 January 1993
|Preceded by||Desmond O'Malley|
|Succeeded by||Bertie Ahern|
|Minister for Justice|
11 February 1992 – 12 January 1993
|Preceded by||Ray Burke|
|Succeeded by||Máire Geoghegan-Quinn|
|Minister for the Environment|
10 March 1987 – 3 April 1991
|Preceded by||John Boland|
|Succeeded by||John Wilson|
|Minister for Trade, Commerce and Tourism|
11 October 1982 – 14 December 1982
|Preceded by||Paddy Power|
|Succeeded by||Frank Cluskey|
|Minister for the Gaeltacht|
9 March 1982 – 11 October 1982
|Preceded by||Paddy O'Toole|
|Succeeded by||Denis Gallagher|
|Minister of State at the Department of Transport|
25 March 1980 – 30 June 1981
|Preceded by||Thomas J. Fitzpatrick|
|Succeeded by||Office abolished|
June 1977 – 12 June 1994
Pádraig Joseph Flynn|
9 May 1939
Castlebar, Mayo, Ireland
|Political party||Fianna Fáil|
|Spouse(s)||Dorothy Flynn (m. 1971)|
|Children||4, including Beverly|
|Alma mater||St Patrick's College, Dublin|
Pádraig Joseph Flynn (born 9 May 1939) is a former Irish Fianna Fáil politician who served as European Commissioner for Social Affairs from 1993 to 1999, Minister for Industry and Commerce and Minister for Justice from 1992 to 1993, Minister for the Environment from 1987 to 1991, Minister for the Gaeltacht March 1982 to October 1982 and Minister of State at the Department of Transport from 1980 to 1981. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Mayo West constituency from 1977 to 1994.
Flynn was born in Castlebar, County Mayo. He is the son of Patrick and Anne Flynn. He was educated in St. Gerald's College, Castlebar and qualified as a teacher from St Patrick's College of Education in Dublin. His mother owned a small shop in Castlebar. He was married in 1963, to Dorothy and they have four children, one son and three daughters. One daughter, Beverley Flynn was also a Fianna Fáil politician.
He first held political office in 1967, when he became a member of Mayo County Council. Ten years later, at the 1977 general election, he was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil TD for the Mayo West constituency. On the day the 21st Dail convened in Leinster House, Frank Dunlop described Flynn's encounter with the then Taoiseach Jack Lynch:
|“||There was a particular hullabaloo as a man in a white suit and polka-dot shirt was shouldered to the front door. "Who in the name of God is that?" asked an incredulous Lynch. "That," I said, "is the one and only Pádraig Flynn from Mayo" ... Though he would never have believed it that day, Jack was looking at one of those who would soon change the profile, and in some instances, the nature of Fianna Fáil for ever.||”|
Flynn was a supporter of Charles Haughey in the 1979 Fianna Fáil leadership contest. His loyalty was rewarded when he became a Minister of State at the Department of Transport and Power. Flynn joined the Cabinet table for the first time following the February 1982 general election when he was appointed Minister for the Gaeltacht. In October 1982, in a minor reshuffle, he became Minister for Trade, Commerce and Tourism. However, his time in this office was brief, since Fianna Fáil lost the November 1982 general election.
Fianna Fáil was returned to power in the 1987 general election and Flynn became Minister for the Environment. Two years later he opposed the formation of the coalition government with the Progressive Democrats, describing it "as hitting at Fianna Fáil core values." In 1990, he attacked the opposition presidential candidate Mary Robinson on a radio show, accusing her of "having a new-found interest in her family" for the purposes of her election campaign. This attack backfired drastically, causing many women who initially supported Lenihan to back Robinson. Lenihan's campaign never recovered, and Robinson became Ireland's first female president.
In 1991, Flynn was sacked from the Cabinet because of his support for a motion of no confidence in the Taoiseach, Charles Haughey. Then in 1992, Albert Reynolds became Taoiseach and Flynn was rewarded for supporting Reynolds by becoming Minister for Justice. In 1993, he retired from domestic politics when he was appointed Ireland's European Commissioner. He was reappointed by the Fine Gael government in 1995 and, on both of these occasions, served in the social affairs portfolio.
The Late Late Show controversy
On 15 January 1999, Flynn made comments on a live chat show (The Late Late Show) regarding Tom Gilmartin and a donation of IR£50,000 to the Fianna Fáil party. On the same programme, Flynn made comments about his own lifestyle (following a question by journalist Barry O'Halloran); he boasted of having a salary of IR£140,000 together with three houses, cars and housekeepers and travelled regularly, yet complained about the hassle involved. The performance was seen as eccentric and out of touch – at a time when house prices were rising significantly. In effect, Flynn was interpreted as behaving in a manner more befitting the Irish stereotype known as the Dublin 4 mentality, complaining of the costs incurred in the pursuit of extravagance.
The show's presenter Gay Byrne then asked Flynn if he knew of Gilmartin. Flynn responded that he knew him well. Flynn seemed to be making an attack of Gilmartin's emotional stability, based on the effect of sickness of Gilmartin's wife. If it was to be interpreted as an attack of Gilmartin's credibility, then it backfired in a spectacular manner against Flynn. Also, unknown to Flynn, Gilmartin was actually watching The Late Late Show on Tara Television at his home in Luton. This hurt Gilmartin a great deal, while also bringing the illness of his wife into the picture as the real driving force behind Gilmartin's testimony against Flynn. Gilmartin responded by releasing details of meetings he held with Flynn to the McCracken Tribunal. This was seen as the end of any possible return to politics in Ireland, although this was previously expected.
Retirement from politics
Flynn's second term as Commissioner ended early in September 1999, when the entire commission resigned due to allegations of malpractice by the European Parliament. He was not reappointed to the Commission and retired from politics completely. He is a member of the Comite d'Honneur of the Institute of International and European Affairs. Flynn's daughter Beverley Flynn is a former Fianna Fáil TD for the Mayo constituency. She was readmitted to the party on 8 April 2008 having previously been expelled after failing in a libel action against RTÉ which claimed she was involved in selling bogus non-resident accounts to customers while she worked for National Irish Bank.
He receives annual pension payments of €87,129 from his time as a TD and minister, but this does not include payments for his time as a European Commissioner.
Mahon Tribunal report
Flynn was cited in the Mahon Tribunal for having received money from Frank Dunlop intended for Fianna Fáil, but diverted to Flynn's personal use. On 22 March 2012, the final report of the Mahon Tribunal was published. It found that Flynn "wrongly and corruptly" sought a substantial donation from Tom Gilmartin for the Fianna Fáil party. It also found that having been paid IR£50,000 by Gilmartin, for that purpose, Flynn proceeded to use that money for his personal benefit, and that the donation funded at least a significant portion of the purchase of a farm in County Mayo.
Flynn made his first public appearance since the publication of the Mahon Report by attending noon Mass in the Holy Rosary Church in Castlebar.
Resignation from Fianna Fáil
On 26 March 2012, facing expulsion, Flynn resigned in disgrace from Fianna Fáil before he could be ousted.
- "Mr. Pádraig Flynn". Oireachtas members database. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
- Doyle, Kevin (26 March 2012). "Corrupt: Ex-minister Flynn braves storm for Mass". Evening Herald. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
- Quinlan, Ronald (1 July 2007). "The Mighty Flynns and their dogged belief that they are always in the right". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 20 May 2008.
- "Profile of Pádraig Flynn". Europa (web portal). Retrieved 19 May 2008.
- "Pádraig Flynn". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
- Sweeney, Eamonn. Down Down Deeper and Down: Ireland in the 70's and 80's, pg 126.
- Shiel, Tom (22 December 2008). "Robinson has no hard feelings over Flynn jibe". The Irish Times. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
- "Video of Pádraig Flynn being interviewed by Gay Byrne on the Late Late Show in January 1999". Google. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
- "Late Late Show appearance infuriated developer". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 29 June 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2008.
- Kelly, Fiach (10 November 2011). "Thanks big fellas: Ahern and Cowen get massive pensions". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
- "P. Flynn's day of reckoning". Western People. 14 July 2004. Archived from the original on 20 September 2005. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
- "Flynn due back in Mahon Tribunal witness box today". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 9 April 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2008.
- "In brief: The 16 key findings in the Mahon Tribunal Report". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- "Pádraig Flynn resigns from Fianna Fáil". RTÉ News. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
| Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Mayo West
| Minister for the Gaeltacht
| Minister for Trade, Commerce and Tourism
| Minister for the Environment
| Minister for Justice
| Minister for Industry and Commerce
| Irish European Commissioner