Ruth Coppinger

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Ruth Coppinger
Ruth Coppinger.jpg
Teachta Dála
In office
May 2014 – February 2020
ConstituencyDublin West
Personal details
Born (1967-04-18) 18 April 1967 (age 55)
Dublin, Ireland
Political partyPeople Before Profit–Solidarity
Other political
Imran Khan
(m. 2007)
Alma materUniversity College Dublin

Ruth Coppinger (born 18 April 1967) is an Irish politician and member of the Socialist Party. She was elected as a Teachta Dála (TD) in the Dublin West constituency in 2014. In the 2016 general election, she ran as a candidate for Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit and retained her seat in Dáil Éireann until 2020.[1] She failed to retain her seat at the general election in February 2020.

Political career[edit]

Coppinger was a member of Fingal County Council for the Mulhuddart local electoral area from 2003 to 2014.[2] She was co-opted to the council in 2003, replacing Joe Higgins. She was elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2009. She was an unsuccessful candidate for the Socialist Party[3] at the 2011 Dublin West by-election.[2]

She later joined party colleague Joe Higgins in the Dáil, as a result of the 2014 by-election in the same constituency.[4][5] After being elected, she called for a mass campaign of opposition to water charges being implemented by the Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition.[6]

In November 2014, she called for the gradual nationalisation of US multinationals to prevent job losses. In response, Fianna Fáil’s jobs spokesperson Dara Calleary called the idea “reckless and ludicrous”, as it would "place a massive burden on taxpayers and the public finances.".[7]

In September 2015, she joined homeless families from Blanchardstown, in occupying a Nama-controlled property as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the housing crisis.[8] In October 2015, she joined families in their occupation of a show house in her constituency, to protest at the lack of availability of affordable social housing.[9] She has also supported the tenants of Tyrrelstown, who were made homeless when a Goldman Sachs vulture fund sold their houses.[10][11][12][13][14]

She was re-elected to the Dáil at the 2016 general election, this time under the Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit banner.[15] On 10 March 2016, at the first sitting of the 32nd Dáil, she nominated Richard Boyd Barrett for the office of Taoiseach, quoting James Connolly from a hundred years previously when she said: "The day has passed for patching up the capitalist system. It must go" and declaring: "We will not vote for the identical twin candidates" of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil after they "imposed austerity".[16] On 6 April 2016, following the failure of the Dáil to elect a Taoiseach at that first sitting, Coppinger was nominated for the role of Taoiseach, becoming the first female nominee in the history of the state.[17][18][19][20]

In April 2018, in the lead-up to the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, Coppinger along with her colleague Paul Murphy held up a Repeal sign during leader's questions and was reprimanded by the Ceann Comhairle.[21] Coppinger is a vocal advocate for abortion rights in Ireland, and was a founding member of ROSA, a movement for reproductive justice in Ireland.[22] Earlier, in 2016, Coppinger tabled the private members' motion to repeal the 8th amendment.[23]

In November 2018, Coppinger protested in the Dáil against the conduct of a rape trial in Ireland. During the trial, the defence team, as part of their argument that the sex had been consensual, stated that the 17-year-old victim had worn a thong with a lace front. The defendant was subsequently found not guilty. During a sitting of the Dáil, Coppinger held up a similar pair of underwear and admonished the conduct of the trial, suggesting victim-blaming tactics had been used and suggested this was a routine occurrence in Irish courts. She called on the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to support her party's bill that would increase sex education in Irish schools and provide additional training to the Irish judiciary and jurors on how to handle cases of rape. Varadkar responded that victims should not be blamed for what happens to them, irrespective of how they are dressed, where they are or if they have consumed alcohol.[24][25][26]

In 2019 she sponsored a private member's bill – the Domestic Violence (No-contact order) (Amendment) Bill 2019.[27][28] The bill lapsed with the dissolution of the Dáil and Seanad.

At the general election in February 2020, Coppinger was defeated in the Dublin West constituency.[29][30] She unsuccessfully contested the 2020 Seanad election for the NUI constituency.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Coppinger lives in Roselawn. She is a secondary school teacher.[32] Her eldest brother Eugene Coppinger served on Fingal County Council from 2011 to 2019.[33]


  1. ^ "Ruth Coppinger". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Ruth Coppinger". Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Nulty elected in Dublin West". Irish Examiner. 29 October 2011. Archived from the original on 1 November 2011.
  4. ^ "Coppinger wins Dublin West by-election". RTÉ News. 24 May 2014. Archived from the original on 16 February 2015.
  5. ^ O'Connor, Niall (25 May 2014). "Ruth Coppinger's victory doubles Socialist Party's voice in Dail". Irish Independent.
  6. ^ McCarthaigh, Sean (24 May 2014). "Coppinger: Win is a result for ordinary working people". Archived from the original on 25 May 2014.
  7. ^ O'Connell, Hugh. "Does the Socialist Party really want to nationalise Dell?". Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Group occupies Nama-controlled property to raise awareness of homelessness". Irish Independent. 22 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Dail deputy Ruth Coppinger and homeless families 'occupy' West Dublin show house". Irish Independent. 3 October 2015.
  10. ^ "Tyrrelstown tenants organise protest today". The Sunday Business Post. 22 March 2016. Archived from the original on 7 April 2016.
  11. ^ Edwards, Elaine (18 March 2016). "Families begin to leave Tyrrelstown estate as leases not renewed: Residents meeting tonight agree to protest march on the Dáil next Tuesday". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Tyrrelstown tenants meeting over eviction notices". RTÉ News. 14 March 2016. Archived from the original on 10 April 2016.
  13. ^ Lennon, Barry (17 March 2016). "Pressure on Kelly to help families facing eviction". Irish Independent.
  14. ^ "Tyrrelstown Tenants Action Group calls for government intervention". 19 March 2016. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016.
  15. ^ "Election 2016: Ruth Coppinger". RTÉ. 27 February 2016. Archived from the original on 29 February 2016.
  16. ^ McQuinn, Cormac (10 March 2016). "Parties nominate their leaders to be the next Taoiseach". Irish Independent.
  17. ^ "Ruth Coppinger will become the first woman nominated for Taoiseach". 5 April 2016. Archived from the original on 6 April 2016.
  18. ^ "Ireland will have its first ever female Taoiseach nominee on Wednesday". 5 April 2016. Archived from the original on 7 April 2016.
  19. ^ "Ruth Coppinger set to make Irish political history this afternoon". 6 April 2016. Archived from the original on 21 April 2016.
  20. ^ "Left Wing TD Ruth Coppinger will be the first woman ever nominated for Taoiseach today". 6 April 2016.
  21. ^ Hennessy, Michelle. "'Tell me what's offensive about this': Ruth Coppinger holds up Repeal sign in Dáil chamber". Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  22. ^ "Ruth Coppinger". Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  23. ^ Bardon, Sarah. "Coppinger to table motion on repeal of Eighth Amendment". The Irish Times. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  24. ^ McAllister, Edel (13 November 2018). "Coppinger holds up thong in Dáil to highlight rape trial remarks". RTÉ. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  25. ^ Doyle, Kevin (13 November 2018). "TD holds up thong in the Dáil in protest at 'rape myths'". Irish Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  26. ^ "Irish outcry over teenager's underwear used in rape trial". BBC News. 14 November 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  27. ^ [1] - Oireachtas bills, 2019/34
  28. ^ [2] Socialist Party, 2019; "No Contact Order Bill: Taking a stand against gender-based violence." 22 June 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2021. "...a new bill has been put forward by Solidarity and Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger attempting to address these issues called the No Contact Order Bill. This bill would amend a prior law passed in 2018 on domestic violence, broadening some of the definitions of harassment to include any sort of unwanted attention, be that physical contact, or unwanted messages or gifts."
  29. ^ O'Halloran, Marie (10 February 2020). "Dublin West results: Joan Burton and Ruth Coppinger lose seats". Irish Times. Dublin. Archived from the original on 5 June 2021. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  30. ^ "Election 2020: Dublin West". Irish Times. Dublin. 10 February 2020. Archived from the original on 5 June 2021. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  31. ^ "19 Candidates Nominated to Contest Seanad Éireann Election in the NUI Constituency".
  32. ^ "About Ruth". Official website. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  33. ^ Murphy, Cormac (27 May 2014). "Fingal County council: Final counts filled overnight". Irish Independent. Eugene Coppinger, brother of new Dublin West TD Ruth Coppinger, had a successful campaign. Mr Coppinger, a Socialist Part[y] and Anti-Austerity Alliance candidate, said the whole family is proud of his little sister Ruth's achievement.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Teachta Dála for Dublin West
With: Joan Burton 2002–2020
Joe Higgins 2007–2016
Leo Varadkar 2007–present
Jack Chambers 2016–present
Succeeded by
Jack Chambers 2020–present
Roderic O'Gorman 2020–present
Leo Varadkar 2020–present
Paul Donnelly 2020–present