Michael O'Kennedy

From Academic Kids

Michael O'Kennedy, (born February, 1936) was a senior Irish Fianna Fáil politician. He served in Seanad Éireann from 1965 until 1969 and again from 1992 until 1997. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil TD in 1969 serving until 1992. He was re-elected again in 1997, serving until 2002.

Michael O'Kennedy was born in Nenagh, County Tipperary in February 1936. He was educated at St. Flannan's, Ennis, St. Patrick's College, Maynooth and University College Dublin. He qualified as a barrister from Kings Inns in Dublin. In 1965 he was unsuccessful in his bid to win a Dáil seat for Fianna Fáil. He was, however, appointed to Seanad Éireann. In 1969 he was elected to the Dáil Éireann and became Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education the following year. He was appointed to the government as Minister without Portfolio in 1972 before becoming Minister for Transport and Power in January 1973. His period as Minister was short-lived because Fianna Fáil lost power in March of the same year.

During Fianna Fáil's period in opposition O'Kennedy revealed his leadership aspirations. In 1975 he became associated with a hardline policy document regarding Northern Ireland. The document called for a withdrawal of the British Government from Northern Ireland. This was against the wishes of the party and was against Fianna Fáil party policy. In 1977 Fianna Fáil returned to power and O'Kennedy was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs.

In 1979 Jack Lynch resigned as Taoiseach and leader of Fianna Fáil. Charles Haughey faced George Colley in the race to succeed Lynch. O'Kennedy was the only Cabinet Minister to publicly support Haughey for Taoiseach. Many believe that it was because of this support that Haughey was successful in becoming Taoiseach. O'Kennedy's loyalty was rewarded when he was appointed Minister for Finance in Haughey's first government. In 1981 O'Kennedy became Ireland's European Commissioner.

O'Kennedy returned to Ireland in 1982 to contest the general election. Haughey returned to power and O'Kennedy demanded a senior government position, however, his request was refused. Haughey did offer him the post of Attorney-General but O'Kennedy declined. As a result he was left out of the short-lived administration. In 1987 O'Kenendy returned to the Cabinet when he became Minister for Agriculture and Food.

O'Kennedy was an important part of the Haughey camp until Albert Reynolds became Taoiseach in 1992. O'Kennedy was one of the few Haughey-ites to remain in the government. He was appointed Minister for Labour in what was generally seen as a demotion. Worse was to come when he failed to retain his Dáil seat in the 1992 general election. He once again returned to Seanad Éireann. O'Kennedy was re-elected in the 1997 general election. That same year he sought the Fianna Fáil nomination for President of Ireland but only received a mediocre 21 votes out of a total of 112. After the 2002 general election he resigned from national politics.

Cabinet Positions

Preceded by:
Bobby Molloy
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education
Succeeded by:
Jim Tunney
Preceded by:
Minister without Portfolio
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Brian Lenihan
Minister for Transport & Power
Succeeded by:
Peter Barry
Preceded by:
Garret FitzGerald
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by:
Brian Lenihan

Template:Succession box two to two

Preceded by:
Richard Burke
Irish European Commissioner
Succeeded by:
Richard Burke
Preceded by:
Austin Deasy
Minister for Agriculture & Food
Succeeded by:
Joe Walsh
Preceded by:
Bertie Ahern
Minister for Labour
Succeeded by:
Brian Cowen

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