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John O'Donoghue (politician)

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John O'Donoghue (born May 1956) is a senior Irish Fianna Fáil politician. he is currently a Teachta Dála (TD) for Kerry South and Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism. He has previously served as Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform (1997-2002).

O'Donoghue was born in Caherciveen County Kerry and was educated locally at Caherciveen Christian Brothers School and University College Cork. He qualified from the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland with a degree in law. He established himself as a solicitor in his home town before getting involved in local politics. In 1985 he was elected to Kerry County Council, serving as Chairman in 1990 until his retirement from local politics in 1991. In 1987 O'Donoghue was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil TD on his fourth attempt. He was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Finance in 1991. During his tenure there he had special responsibility for the Office of Public Works. However, since O'Donohue was a supporter of Charles Haughey he returned to the backbenches when Albert Reynolds became Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader in 1992.

In 1994 Bertie Ahern became leader of Fianna Fáil. When he named his Front Bench in early 1995 O'Donoghue was appointed Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Justice. As spokesman for Justice he constantly critiscised the Fine Gael Minister for Justice, Nora Owen. He demanded zero tolerance and campaigned for harsher sentencing and increased prison places. In 1997 Fianna Fáil returned to power and O'Donoghue joined the Cabinet as Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform. In that portfolio he received criticism for his Department's poor handling of the ever-increasing rise in asylum seekers. This position also led to his involvement in the British-Irish negotiations leading to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998

In 2002, in what was seen as a demotion, he was appointed Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism. He has worked hard and well in this portfolio and although mentioned as a contender for Foreign Affairs, he retained his position following the Cabinet reshuffle of September 29, 2004. This was mostly welcomed by the industry.


Preceded by:
Vincent Brady
Minister of State at the Department of Finance
1991–1992
Succeeded by:
Noel Treacy
Preceded by:
Nora Owen
Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform
1997–2002
Succeeded by:
Michael McDowell
Preceded by:
Jim McDaid
Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism
2002–
Succeeded by:
Current Incumbent

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