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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Members of the Fourteenth Dáil - Seán Flanagan

Seán Flanagan (26 January 1922 – 5 February 1993) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician and Gaelic footballer. He served under Taoiseach Jack Lynch as Minister for Health (1966–1969) and Minister for Lands (1969–1973).

Seán Flanagan was born in Aughnamore, Ballyhaunis, County Mayo in 1922. He was educated locally, then later at St. Jarlath's College in Tuam, County Galway, where he showed enthusiasm for sport. He won two Connacht championship medals with the college in 1939 and in 1940. He later studied at Clonliffe College in Dublin and then enrolled in University College Dublin where he studied law and qualified as a solicitor.

Flanagan also played senior Gaelic football for Mayo. He captained the All-Ireland final winning sides of 1950 and 1951 and won five Connacht senior championship medals in all. He also won two National Football League titles in 1949 and 1954. While still a footballer, Flanagan entered into a career in politics.

In recognition of his skills and long-running contribution to the sport, Flanagan was awarded the 1992 All-time all-star award as no GAA All Stars Awards were being issued at the time of his playing career. In 1984, the Gaelic Athletic Association centenary year he was honoured by being named on their Football Team of the Century. In 1999 he was again honoured by the GAA by being named on their Gaelic Football Team of the Millennium.

He came from a Fianna Fáil family and was recruited into the party in East Mayo. He was elected a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála (TD) for Mayo South at the 1951 general election. He would retain his seat at each subsequent election until he lost his seat at the 1977 general election.

Flanagan rose rapidly through the party ranks and was appointed a Parliamentary Secretary under Taoiseach Seán Lemass in 1959. In the Fianna Fáil leadership election, in 1966, Flanagan supported Jack Lynch. When Lynch became Taoiseach, Flanagan was promoted to the Cabinet as Minister for Health. 

Three years later in 1969 he became Minister for Lands. Flanagan lost his seat at the 1977 general election. He effectively retired from domestic politics; however, he was elected to the European Parliament in the first direct elections in 1979. He was re-elected in 1984 and retired from politics in 1989.

Seán Flanagan died on 5 February 1993, at the age of 71.

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