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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Members of the Fifteenth Dáil - Noel Thomas Lemass Jr

Noel Thomas Lemass (14 February 1929 – 13 April 1976) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician and Teachta Dála (TD) for Dublin South–West from 1956 until 1976.

Born in Dublin in 1929, Lemass was the son of Seán Lemass, a Fianna Fáil TD, and Kathleen Lemass (née Hughes). He was named after his uncle, a victim of the Irish Civil War in the early 1920s. Lemass was educated at Catholic University School, Leeson Street in Dublin and later at Newbridge College in County Kildare. He didn't attend university, against his father's wishes, instead undertaking business training and later becoming an executive member and branch secretary of the Irish Commercial Traveller's Association.

Lemass followed his father into politics in 1955 when he was elected to Dublin City Council. He was elected to Dáil Éireann in a by-election in Dublin South–West the following year. In winning that by-election, Lemass delivered a blow to the ruling Fine Gael party whose TD had held the seat for a number of years.

Lemass had to wait until his father retired as Taoiseach for political preferment. In spite of this he was active in a number of political councils and other groupings. From 1966 to 1968 he was a member of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe. He was also a member of the Irish-British Parliamentary Group and the Irish-French Parliamentary Group.

Lemass was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, serving from 1969 until 1973 and holding responsibility for the Board of Works. In his first year at the Department, he served under his brother-in-law, Charles Haughey, and later under George Colley.

When Fianna Fáil lost power in 1973 Lemass was named on the front branch as spokesperson for physical planning and the environment. He held that position until January 1975 when he was dropped from the front bench.

Lemass's political career, a career in which he was invariably judged in comparison to his father, was cut short when he died suddenly in 1976.

Lemass married Eileen Delaney in 1950. The couple had four children. Lemass's wife became involved in politics herself when she became a member of Dublin Corporation. She also entered the Dáil following the death of her husband.

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