Seán Dublin Bay Rockall Loftus

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Seán Dublin Bay Rockall Loftus
Teachta Dála
In office
June 1981 – February 1982
Constituency Dublin North-Central
Dublin City Councillor
In office
June 1974 – June 1999
Constituency Clontarf
Personal details
Born Seán Loftus
(1927-11-01)1 November 1927
Dublin, Ireland
Died 10 July 2010(2010-07-10) (aged 82)
Dublin, Ireland
Political party Independent
Occupation Barrister

Seán Dublin Bay Rockall Loftus (1 November 1927 – 10 July 2010) was an Irish environmentalist, barrister and politician who drew attention to his campaign issues by changing his name. He was often known as "Dublin Bay Loftus".[1] He was a member of Dublin City Council for 25 years, an alderman for much of that time, and a member of the Council's Planning and Development Committee. He was a member and honorary legal advisor of the Dublin Bay Preservation Association (later Dublin Bay Watch).

Background[edit]

Born Seán D. Loftus in Dublin in 1927, he was educated in Coláiste Mhuire primary school on Parnell Square and received his secondary education at Catholic University School. His father was a doctor and Loftus attended medical school at University College Dublin but did not enjoy it, leaving before graduating. He moved to England in the late 1940s, where he worked as a builder. After 6 years, he returned to Ireland to attend King's Inns, qualifying as a barrister. He returned to England for several years before moving to the United States, where he worked and lectured. He moved back to Ireland in 1961.[2] Loftus specialised in town planning law, lecturing in law at Bolton Street College of Technology (later the Dublin Institute of Technology). A resident of Clontarf, he campaigned for the sustainable development of Dublin Bay. Loftus was a devout Catholic. While he lived in the United States, he was an active member of the Montclair, New Jersey branch of an Irish-American Catholic fraternal organisation, the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH). He was guest of honor at the 1960 AOH National Convention by invitation of the National President, Jeremiah J. O’Callaghan. Loftus moved back to Ireland in 1961.[3]

Political career[edit]

In 1961, Loftus founded the Christian Democrat Movement of Ireland and stood for election to Dáil Éireann at the 1961 general election in the Dublin North-East constituency, the first of sixteen attempts.[4][5][6]

In 1972 the Dublin Port and Docks Board proposed the building of an oil refinery in Dublin Bay. The plan was vigorously opposed by environmentalists, including Loftus, on the grounds that it posed a serious risk of pollution. At the 1973 general election, Loftus stood for election to the Dáil in the Dublin North-Central constituency as a Christian Democrat on the issue of Dublin Bay. Because the party was too small to be registered under the 1963 Electoral Act, meaning Loftus would be listed as 'Independent', he changed his name by deed poll to "Seán D. Christian Democrat Dublin Bay Loftus" in order that his political affiliation and campaign issue would appear on the ballot paper.[4][7] Although he was not elected, he succeeded in highlighting the issue and the proposal was eventually turned down by the Minister for Local Government, James Tully. He was elected to Dublin Corporation in 1974.[8]

In the following years Loftus changed his name by deed poll several times more, to "Seán Dublin Bay Loftus", "Seán Dublin Bay Rockall Loftus" (as part of a campaign to press the Irish Government to make a territorial claim to the Rockall islet 424 kilometres off the coast of County Donegal)[9] and "Seán Alderman Dublin Bay Rockall Loftus",[10] among others. It was under this last name that he was finally elected to the 22nd Dáil for the Dublin North-East constituency at the 1981 general election.[11] This Dáil was short-lived, however, and he himself contributed to the end of his Dáil career when he voted against John Bruton's 1982 budget.[8] At the February 1982 general election he stood in two constituencies, Dublin North-East and Dublin North-Central, but failed to win a seat in either. He continued to contest Dáil and European Parliament elections until 1997.[5] He remained on Dublin City Council, and served as Lord Mayor of Dublin from 1995 to 1996.

Loftus remained active as a member and honorary legal advisor of Dublin Bay Watch, and led opposition to the 2002 application by the Dublin Port Company to fill in 52 acres (210,000 m2) of Dublin Bay. The application was rejected in June 2010 by the planning board, An Bord Pleanála, while Loftus was in hospital, having undergone brain surgery. Local councillor Gerry Breen said its rejection was a "fitting tribute" to Loftus.[12]

Personal life[edit]

In 1962, Loftus married Úna Uí Lachtnáin (O'Loughnane), a home economics teacher from Cootehill, County Cavan. They had 3 children: daughters Muireann and Fiona, and a son Ruairí. Uí Lachtnáin taught in schools in Glasnevin and Churchtown. A committed Gaeilgeoir, she became heavily involved in Oireachtas na Gaeilge, serving as National Committee Chairperson, Arts Committee Chairperson and Dublin Branch Chairperson. In 2011, she was elected President of Oireachtas na Gaeilge after almost 50 years in the organisation. Uí Lachtnáin also served several years as Chairperson of the Dublin City Community Forum and was a founding member of the Bull Island Action Group. Uí Lachtnáin died on 1st April 2014.[13] [14][15][16]

Death[edit]

Loftus died on 10th July 2010 at the Mater Private Hospital. His funeral mass took place at St Gabriel's parish, Dollymount in Dollymount and he was interred at St. Fintan's Cemetery, Sutton on 12th July 2010.[8][17][18]

See also[edit]

  • Pro-Life – An American politician who changed his name to reflect his political views

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Carmencita Hederman speaking in Seanad debate". Houses of the Oireachtas. 10 June 1992. 
  2. ^ http://canadafreepress.com/article/the-late-sean-d.-dublin-bay-rockall-loftus-a-tribute
  3. ^ http://canadafreepress.com/article/the-late-sean-d.-dublin-bay-rockall-loftus-a-tribute
  4. ^ a b Coakley, John (April 1990). "Minor Parties in Irish Political Life 1922-1989" (PDF). Economic and Social Review. 21 (3): 291. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Seán "Dublin Bay" Loftus". Electionsireland.org. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  6. ^ http://canadafreepress.com/article/the-late-sean-d.-dublin-bay-rockall-loftus-a-tribute
  7. ^ "Irish Are Ready for Poll". The Guardian. 15 February 1973. p. 8. Retrieved 3 July 2010. ; "Objection to A.I.B. project". The Irish Times. 14 March 1973. p. 29. Retrieved 3 July 2010.  (require registration)
  8. ^ a b c "Campaigning TD Sean Loftus dies". The Irish Times. 10 July 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2010. 
  9. ^ "Front page picture". The Irish Times. 13 May 1978. p. 1. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  10. ^ See Nealon's Guide to the 22nd Dáil and Seanad, below
  11. ^ "Alderman Seán D. Loftus, Dublin Bay Rockall". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 10 July 2010. 
  12. ^ "Residents' groups celebrate bay victory". Dublin People. 17 June 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  13. ^ http://www.clontarf.ie/news/141-clontarf-resident-na-u-lachtnin-is-the-new-president-of-oireachtas-na-gaeilge
  14. ^ http://www.clontarf.ie/news/obituary-una-i-lachtninloftus
  15. ^ https://rip.ie/showdn.php?dn=221804
  16. ^ http://canadafreepress.com/article/the-late-sean-d.-dublin-bay-rockall-loftus-a-tribute
  17. ^ https://rip.ie/showdn.php?dn=109669
  18. ^ http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0710/133196-loftuss/

Notes[edit]

  • Nealon's Guide to the 22nd Dáil and Seanad, Ted Nealon and Séamus Brennan, 1981.

External links[edit]

Civic offices
Preceded by
John Gormley
Lord Mayor of Dublin
1995–1996
Succeeded by
Brendan Lynch