Love in the Houses of Oireachtas

Terry Prone today said in a piece for the Irish Examiner what the rest of the country was thinking about, when it came to the relationship between Mick Wallace and Clare Daly.

“Here, for example, is a radical feminist who stood silently by while her beloved bad-mouthed another woman for having the temerity to wear pink, which, coming from himself, did carry a sound effect as of the rattling of kettles and pots. However, many a woman in the first flush of love has jettisoned philosophical stances and the loyalties attendant thereon. There’s no talking to anyone in love for a while after it hits them, but they revert to normal a bit later on. In this case, Clare’s abandoned a whole political party.”  Irish examiner

Imagine the roles were reversed. Any man would be lauded for sticking by his lady despite the political ramifications. There is a nasty underlying current of sexism from some commentators about the whole affair (excuse the pun).

If what Terry prone is suggesting is correct, then they are not the first couple to be seated in the Houses of the Oireachtas, and wont be the last. Throughout the history of Oireachtas there have been many husbands and wives who became TD’s, usually after one one died and the partner in mourning inherited the seat . Some couples succeeded each other in same constituency seat. There was a trend for a while if the husband died while in office, his wife would run for the seat during by-election. Other couples in different constituencies at the same time. One imagines asking how each others day was, would be rather pointless.

Below is the list of couples that have served in the Houses of the Oireachtas either at the same time or separately.

Cathal Brugha (1874–1922): SF TD County Waterford 1918–1922  his wife Caitlín Brugha SF TD (1923-1927)

James Burke (died 1964): FG TD Roscommon 1951–1964
his wife Joan Burke (born 1928): FG TD Roscommon 1964–1981

Dan Desmond (1913–1964): Lab TD Cork South–East, 1948–1964
his wife Eileen Desmond (1932–2005): Lab TD Cork South–Central 1965–1987, MEP Munster 1979–1981

Olwyn Enright (born 1974): FG TD Laois–Offaly 2002–2011
her husband Joe McHugh (born 1971): FG Senator 2002–2007, FG TD Donegal North–East 2007–

John Galvin (1907–1963): FF TD Cork Borough 1956–1964
his wife Sheila Galvin (1914–1983): FF TD Cork Borough 1964–1965

Dermot Honan (died 1986): FF Senator 1965–1973
Dermot’s wife Tras Honan (born 1930): FF Senator 1977–1992

Noel Lemass, Jnr (1929–1976): FF TD Dublin South–West 1956–1976
Noel’s wife Eileen Lemass (born 1932): FF TD Dublin South–West 1977–1987, MEP Dublin 1984–1989

James B. Lynch (died 1954): FF TD Dublin South 1932–1948 Senator 1951–1954
his wife Celia Lynch (1908–1989): FF TD Dublin South–Central, Dublin North–Central 1954–1977

William Redmond (1886–1932): IPP/NLP/CnaG TD Waterford 1918–1932
William’s wife Bridget Redmond (1905–1952): CnaG TD Waterford 1932–1952

Patrick Reynolds (1887–1932): CnaG TD Leitrim–Sligo 1927–1932
his wife Mary Reynolds (1889–1974): FG TD Leitrim–Sligo 1932–1961

Eamon Rice (1873–1937): FF TD Monaghan 1932–1937
his wife Bridget Rice (1885–1967): FF TD Monaghan 1938–1954

Martin Ryan (1900–1943): FF TD Tipperary 1933–1943
his wife Mary Ryan (1898–1981): FF TD Tipperary 1948–1961

Michael O’Higgins (1917–2005): FG TD Dublin South–West, Wicklow 1948–1969
Michael’s wife Brigid Hogan O’Higgins (born 1932): FG TD Galway 1957–1977

Lucinda Creighton  (2007-) FG TD Dublin South East.                                                               Her husband Paul Bradford FG TD (1989-2002) FG Senator (2002-)

Mick Wallace (2007-) Ind TD Wexford. His alleged par amour Clare Daly (2007-) ULA TD Dublin North.

Of course family political dynasties run deep in Irish Politics and Johnny Fallon’s excellent book explores this strange quirk of Irish politics in his book Dynasties: Irish Political Families

About Paul Duggan

Politics, humour, Liberal, Curmudgeon, Rogue. Creator and author of Irish Shades of Grey.
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