Síle de Valera
|Síle de Valera|
|Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands|
26 June 1997 – 6 June 2002
|Preceded by||Michael D. Higgins|
|Succeeded by||Éamon Ó Cuív|
February 1987 – May 2007
June 1977 – June 1981
|Constituency||Dublin County Mid|
|Member of the European Parliament|
June 1979 – June 1984
17 December 1954 |
|Political party||Fianna Fáil|
|Alma mater||University College Dublin|
Síle de Valera (Irish pronunciation: [ˈʃiːlʲə ˌdɛvəˈlɛrə]) (born 17 December 1954) is an Irish former Fianna Fáil politician. She was first elected a Teachta Dála (TD) in 1977 serving as a member of Dáil Éireann until 1981, and then again from 1987 to 2007, as well as being a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Dublin from 1979 to 1984. She served as Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands from 1997 to 2002.
Early and personal life
Síle de Valera was born in 1954 in Dublin, Ireland. She was educated at Loreto College in Foxrock and at University College Dublin where she qualified as a career guidance teacher. Síle de Valera comes from a famous political family. She is the granddaughter of Éamon de Valera, founder of Fianna Fáil, Taoiseach and third President of Ireland. She is a niece of the former TD Vivion de Valera and is a first cousin of the former Minister for Social Protection, Éamon Ó Cuív.
She was first elected to Dáil Éireann in the Fianna Fáil landslide victory at the 1977 general election. She was elected for the Dublin County Mid constituency, which included the Tallaght area of County Dublin, being the youngest TD elected at that election. In June 1979 she was elected to the European Parliament for a five-year term. Later that year, she was one of the Fianna Fáil TDs who criticised the policies of Taoiseach Jack Lynch in relation to Northern Ireland and was a prominent supporter of Charles Haughey, who succeeded him as Taoiseach in December 1979. She was highly critical of Margaret Thatcher and became a noted supporter of the Anti H-Block movement. She called on nationalists to vote for Bobby Sands in the 1981 by-election which he won. She also called on Fianna Fáil voters to give preference votes for Anti H-Block candidates in the 1981 Election, a comment which caused controversy.
She held her Dáil seat until the 1981 general election, when the constituency boundaries were redrawn. She sought re-election in the new constituency of Dublin South. This caused tension within the Fianna Fáil party locally, as one of the other candidates, Séamus Brennan, was a prominent opponent of Haughey. De Valera polled relatively well at that election, but narrowly failed to get elected, losing to another Fianna Fáil candidate, Niall Andrews. She contested the constituency again at the February 1982 general election, but saw her vote drop and once again failed to be elected.
At the November 1982 general election she decided not to seek re-election in Dublin South, transferring instead to the Clare constituency, where one of the sitting TDs, Bill Loughnane (a fellow supporter of Haughey), had died. Clare was the constituency that her grandfather, Éamon de Valera, had represented from 1917 until 1959. Again, she narrowly failed to get elected, but remained living in the constituency, and at the 1987 general election she was elected TD for Clare and was re-elected at every election until her retirement in 2007.
De Valera resigned from briefly from Fianna Fáil in 1993 due to the removal of the 'stopover' at Shannon Airport. When she was persuaded to rejoin the party in 1994 the new leader, Bertie Ahern, appointed her to the front bench. In 1997 she became Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands. In 2002 she lost her place at the Cabinet table but became a Minister of State. Her final government office was Minister of State at the Department of Education and Science, with special responsibility for Adult Education, Youth Affairs and Educational Disadvantage.
On 11 November 2005, she announced her intention to stand down from Dáil Éireann at the following election. She resigned as a Minister of State on 8 December 2006 and was replaced by a member of another Irish political family, Seán Haughey.
|New constituency||Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Dublin County Mid
|Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Clare
Michael D. Higgins
|Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands
Éamon Ó Cuív
|Minister of State for Adult Education, Youth Affairs
and Educational Disadvantage
|Baby of the Dáil