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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Members of the Sixteenth Dáil - Pádraig Faulkner

Pádraig Faulkner

Pádraig Faulkner (12 March 1918 – 1 June 2012) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician. He was first elected in 1957 as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Louth constituency, serving until 1987. Faulkner also served as Minister for Lands, Minister for the Gaeltacht, Minister for Education, Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, Minister for Tourism and Transport, Minister for Defence and Ceann Comhairle.

Faulkner was born in Dundalk, County Louth in 1918. He was educated at Dundalk CBS and St Patrick's College of Education in Drumcondra, Dublin, where he qualified as a national school teacher. Faulkner grew up in Dunleer in South Louth, where his father was a strong supporter of Fine Gael, while his mother supported the more Republican Fianna Fáil party. He favoured his mother's political outlook and he joined Fianna Fáil. Faulkner unsuccessfully contested the Louth by-election in 1954, and at the 1957 general election he was finally elected to Dáil Éireann.

In 1965, Faulkner was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Gaeltacht by the Taoiseach, Seán Lemass. He was appointed to the Cabinet by the new Taoiseach, Jack Lynch in 1968 and served in every Fianna Fáil led government until 1980. During the Arms Crisis, he was a Lynch loyalist. He was one of a number of senior TDs who organised the assembly of TDs and Senators in Dublin Airport to welcome Lynch home from the United States after the defendants had been found not guilty at the Arms Trial. Nine years later in 1979, one of those defendants, Charles Haughey, was elected Taoiseach. Faulkner was retained in the cabinet until 1980 when he was elected Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann.

Following this appointment, he retired to the backbenches before retiring completely from politics at the 1987 general election. In a Dáil career that spanned 30 years, his most notable achievements include the introduction of the legislation to establish two commercial semi-State companies, An Post and Telecom Éireann. Faulkner was subsequently appointed to the Council of State by President Patrick Hillery in 1990.

He died at the age of 94 on 1 June 2012.

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