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Mary Harney

From Academic Kids

Mary Harney (born March 11, 1953) is an Irish Progressive Democrats politician. First elected in 1981, she is currently a Teachta Dála for Dublin Mid West and Minister for Health & Children Harmey has served as Tánaiste since 1997 and leader of the Progressive Democrats since 1993. She has previously served as Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment (1997-2004) and has also served in Seanad Éireann (1977-1981).

Mary Harney was born in Ballinasloe, County Galway. Her parents were both farmers but her family moved to Newcastle, County Dublin shortly after her birth. She was educated in Clondalkin, Inchicore and Trinity College, Dublin. During her time at university she made history by becoming the first female auditor of the college's premier debating forum, the College Historical Society. In 1976 she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Studies. It wasn't long before her name was mentioned in political circles and in 1977 she stood for election to the Dáil as a Fianna Fáil candidate. She was unsuccessful; however, she was appointed to Seanad Éireann by Taoiseach Jack Lynch, becoming, at 24, the youngest Senator in Irish history.

In 1981 she contested the election again and was successful in the constituency of Dublin West. She has retained her seat at every election since then. Like many others Harney faced a number of problems from Charles Haughey as leader of Fianna Fáil. She was expelled from the Fianna Fáil Party after defying the party whip by voting in favour of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985. She went on the become a founder-member of the Progressive Democrats with Desmond O'Malley later that year. The new political party put the economic recovery of the country at the top of their political priorities.

In 1989 the Progressive Democrats entered into coalition government with Charles Haughey's Fianna Fáil. Harney was appointed Minister of State with responsibility for Environmental Protection. As Minister of State she banned the sale of bituminous coal in Dublin, thus eliminating the city's famous smog. In October 1993 she became the first woman to lead a political party when she succeeded Desmond O'Malley as leader of the Progressive Democrats.

In June 1997 following lengthy negotiations the Progressive Democrats entered into coalition government with Fianna Fáil. Harney was appointed the first female Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment. In November 2001 Harney married Brian Geoghegan, a business leader, in a low-key afternoon ceremony in Dublin on a day in which she attended to a number of other significant political meetings.

Following the 2002 general election Harney lead the Progressive Democrats, who had doubled their seats from four to eight, back into coalition with Fianna Fáil, the first time a government was re-elected since 1969. She was re-appointed Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment but was reported in 2003 as seeking a change. In the September 29 2004 reshuffle, she was appointed Minister for Health & Children.

Political career


Preceded by:
Ger Connolly
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment
1989–1992
Succeeded by:
Emmet Stagg

Template:Succession box two to one

Preceded by:
Richard Bruton
Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment
1997–2004
Succeeded by:
Micheál Martin
Preceded by:
Micheál Martin
Minister for Health & Children
2004–
Succeeded by:
Current Incumbent

Template:End box


Template:Tánaistithe na hÉireann

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