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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Members of the Fourth Dáil - William Norton

William Norton (1900 – 4 December 1963) was an Irish Labour Party politician, and leader of the party from 1932 to 1960.

Norton was born in Dublin in 1900. He joined the postal service in 1916. By 1920 he was a prominent member in the trade union movement in Ireland. From 1924 to 1948 he served as secretary of the Post Office Workers' Union. He was elected as a Teachta Dála (TD) for Dublin County at a by-election in 1926, but was defeated at the June 1927 general election. In Professor Tom Garvin's review of the 1950s 'News from a New Republic', he comes in for praise as a moderniser. Garvin places him with a cross party group including Gerard Sweetman and Daniel Morrissey of Fine Gael as well as Sean Lemass of Fianna Fail who were pushing a modernising agenda. He represented Kildare from 1932 until his death.

In 1932 he became leader of the Labour Party. In the First Inter-Party Government (1948–1951), Norton became Tánaiste and Minister for Social Welfare. In the Second Inter-Party Government (1954–1957), Norton served as Tánaiste and Minister for Industry and Commerce.

William Norton died in Dublin in 1963. His son Patrick Norton served as a TD for Kildare from 1965 to 1969.

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