Frances Fitzgerald
Frances Fitzgerald 2016.jpg
Fitzgerald in 2016
Member of the European Parliament
Assumed office
2 July 2019
ConstituencyDublin
Tánaiste
In office
6 May 2016 – 28 November 2017
Taoiseach
Preceded byJoan Burton
Succeeded bySimon Coveney
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation
In office
14 June 2017 – 28 November 2017
TaoiseachLeo Varadkar
Preceded byMary Mitchell O'Connor
Succeeded byHeather Humphreys
Minister for Justice and Equality
In office
8 May 2014 – 14 June 2017
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byAlan Shatter
Succeeded byCharles Flanagan
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
In office
9 March 2011 – 7 May 2014
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byCharles Flanagan
Leader of Fine Gael in the Seanad
In office
30 July 2007 – 25 February 2011
LeaderEnda Kenny
Preceded byMichael Finucane
Succeeded byMaurice Cummins
Teachta Dála
In office
February 2011 – July 2019
ConstituencyDublin Mid-West
In office
November 1992 – June 2002
ConstituencyDublin South-East
Senator
In office
24 July 2007 – 25 February 2011
ConstituencyLabour Panel
Personal details
Born
Frances Ryan

(1950-08-01) 1 August 1950 (age 72)
Croom, County Limerick, Ireland
Political party Irish:
Fine Gael
 EU:
European People's Party
Spouse(s)Michael Fitzgerald (m. 1990)
Children3
EducationDominican College Sion Hill
Alma mater
Websitefrancesfitzgerald.ie

Frances Fitzgerald (née Ryan; born 1 August 1950) is an Irish politician who has been a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Ireland for the Dublin constituency since July 2019. She is a member of Fine Gael, part of the European People's Party. She previously served as Tánaiste from 2016 to 2017, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation from June 2017 to November 2017, Minister for Justice and Equality from 2014 to 2016, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs from 2011 to 2014 and Leader of Fine Gael in the Seanad from 2007 to 2011. She served as a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1992 to 2002 and 2011 to 2019. She was also a Senator for the Labour Panel from 2007 to 2011.[1][2]

She was the second Fine Gael politician to ever hold the office of Tánaiste, after Peter Barry in 1987.

Early and personal life

Born Frances Ryan, in Croom, County Limerick, she was educated at the Holy Family Secondary School Newbridge, the Dominican College Sion Hill, University College Dublin and the London School of Economics, where she studied a Masters in Social Administration and Social Work.[3] She is a former social worker.

She is married to Professor of Psychiatry Michael Fitzgerald, with whom she has three sons.[4][5]

Political career

Fitzgerald was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fine Gael TD for the Dublin South-East constituency, at the 1992 general election. She retained her seat at the 1997 general election. She lost her seat at the 2002 general election. She then stood for election to the 22nd Seanad, for the Administrative Panel, but was unsuccessful.

At the 1999 local elections, she was elected as a member of Dublin City Council for the Rathmines local electoral area, she sought to contest the 2004 local elections[6] for the Rathmines ward but was not selected[7] at the convention, losing out to Edie Wynne and Brian Gillen. She was not subsequently added to the ticket.

Before being elected a TD, she had been a high-profile Chair of the Council for the Status of Women from 1988 to 1992.

She was the Fine Gael candidate at the 2007 general election for the Dublin Mid-West constituency, but was not elected.[8] She was elected to the Seanad in July 2007. On 12 September 2007, she was appointed leader of the Fine Gael group in Seanad Éireann, and was also Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Health and Children, and a member of the Fine Gael Front Bench.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (2011–2014)

She was elected as a Fine Gael TD for the Dublin Mid-West constituency at the 2011 and 2016 general elections.[6] On 9 March 2011, she was appointed as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. In the role she spoke out forcefully against the Catholic Church's role in covering up child abuse.[9] She piloted the referendum on children's rights in 2012. As a result, Article 42a was inserted into the Constitution.[10] She enacted the Children First legislation, to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect and to improve child protection.[11]

Minister for Justice and Equality (2014–2017)

On 8 May 2014, Fitzgerald succeeded Alan Shatter as Minister for Justice and Equality.[12][13]

Fitzgerald has spoken out in support of young families, and believes the government should take a more proactive role in helping parents and children. "I feel so strongly about the State taking a more proactive role around childcare, paternity leave and parental leave," she noted. "I do want to see us getting to the place where the State is more supportive when it comes to childcare. We have been slow enough on that."[14]

In early 2016, when gangland activity became an issue in Dublin, Fitzgerald committed that there would be a permanent armed response unit in Dublin.[15]

On 6 May 2016, Fitzgerald was reappointed as Minister for Justice and Equality. She was also promoted to the position of Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister), by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.[16][17]

After the 2017 Fine Gael leadership election, brought about by Enda Kenny's resignation as party leader, Fitzgerald 'seriously considered' putting her name down as a candidate for leader but ultimately decided against it.[18]

After Leo Varadkar was elected Leader of Fine Gael, and by extension Taoiseach-designate, he was asked whether he would make his rival Simon Coveney Tánaiste. He confirmed Fitzgerald would remain as Tánaiste, saying 'we have a Tánaiste, it's Frances Fitzgerald and I think she's doing an excellent job'.[19] Upon his appointment as Taoiseach, Varadkar retained Fitzgerald as Tánaiste, but moved her from Justice and Equality to Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Charles Flanagan replaced her as Minister of Justice and Equality.[20]

Resignation

In November 2017, Fitzgerald was accused of interference in the case of a whistleblower, who had claimed widespread malpractice and corruption in the Garda Síochána.[21] She denied the allegation, Leader of the Opposition, Micheál Martin threatened a vote of no confidence, jeopardising the confidence and supply between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.[21] Whilst retaining support from many within her party, a number of Fine Gael deputies called on her to resign.[22] On 28 November 2017, Fitzgerald relented, offering her resignation to the Taoiseach, which he accepted.[23][22]

Fitzgerald was later cleared of blame by the Collins Report in March 2018.[24] In October 2018, the third interim report of the Disclosures Tribunal found that she had "selflessly" resigned in the national interest.[25]

European Parliament

On 4 March 2019, Fine Gael announced that Fitzgerald would be one of their two candidates for the Dublin constituency in the 2019 European Parliament election.[26] Former SDLP leader Mark Durkan, who joined Fine Gael to contest the election, was also announced as the second candidate.[27] She was elected as an MEP on the 14th count, with 16.23% of first preference votes.

References

  1. ^ "Frances Fitzgerald". Oireachtas Members Database. Archived from the original on 18 September 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  2. ^ "Ireland's deputy PM resigns amid crisis". BBC News. 28 November 2017. Archived from the original on 16 July 2018. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Lunch with... Frances Fitzgerald". Irish Independent. 1 March 2014. Archived from the original on 9 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Profile: Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald". Irish Times. 8 May 2014. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Frances Fitzgerald: From social worker to Justice Minister". The Journal. 8 May 2014. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Frances Fitzgerald". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  7. ^ "Fitzgerald expected to be added to FG ticket". Irish Times. Irish Times. Archived from the original on 23 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  8. ^ "General Election 2007 – Dublin Mid–West". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 8 September 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  9. ^ Ireland Confronts the Vatican Archived 7 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine The New York Times, 14 July 2011
  10. ^ McNamara,Maedhbh. A womans's place is in the Cabinet:women ministers in Irish governments 1919-2019. Drogheda, Sea Dog Books,2020.ISBN 978-1-913275-06-8
  11. ^ ibid.
  12. ^ "Frances Fitzgerald named as new Minister for Justice". Irish Independent. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  13. ^ "Frances Fitzgerald to replace Shatter as Minister for Justice". RTÉ News. 8 May 2014. Archived from the original on 9 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  14. ^ Frances Fitzgerald: Miscarriage is the last big taboo in Ireland Archived 31 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine The Examiner, 3 January 2016
  15. ^ 'Saturation policing' – Frances Fitzgerald to set up new, permanent armed response unit in wake of gangland murders Archived 27 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine The Independent, 9 February 2016
  16. ^ "New Irish government ministers appointed to Cabinet". BBC News. BBC. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  17. ^ "Frances Fitzgerald is Tánaiste in new Cabinet". RTÉ News. RTÉ. 6 May 2016. Archived from the original on 7 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  18. ^ "Richard Bruton rules himself out of FG leadership bid, says he will support Varadkar – Independent.ie". Independent.ie. Archived from the original on 23 May 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  19. ^ "Varadkar outlines his priorities after winning election". RTE.ie. 2 June 2017. Archived from the original on 15 April 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  20. ^ "Leo Varadkar's new Cabinet appointments". RTE.ie. 14 June 2017. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  21. ^ a b correspondent, Henry McDonald Ireland (27 November 2017). "Pressure grows on Irish deputy PM after police whistleblower claims". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 7 December 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  22. ^ a b correspondent, Henry McDonald Ireland (28 November 2017). "Irish government collapse averted as deputy PM resigns". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  23. ^ "Irish deputy PM to resign amid crisis". BBC News. 28 November 2017. Archived from the original on 16 July 2018. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  24. ^ Ireland Deputy Political Editor, Jennifer Bray (28 March 2018). "DoJ cleared of blame on Charleton". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 3 April 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018. ((cite news)): |last= has generic name (help)
  25. ^ Sinead Morris (11 October 2018). "Fitzgerald 'selflessly' resigned in national interest, tribunal report finds". RTE. Archived from the original on 11 October 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  26. ^ McQuinn, Cormac (4 March 2019). "Former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald set to be selected as Fine Gaels candidate to run in the European elections". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  27. ^ Gorman, Tommie (4 March 2019). "Former SDLP leader Durkan to contest European Elections for Fine Gael". RTÉ News. Archived from the original on 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
Oireachtas Preceded byGarret FitzGerald Fine Gael Teachta Dála for Dublin South-East 19922002 Succeeded byMichael McDowell Preceded byMary HarneyJohn CurranPaul GogartyJoanna Tuffy Teachta Dála for Dublin Mid-West 20112019 With: Joanna Tuffy (2011–2016)Derek Keating (2011–2016)Robert Dowds (2011–2016)Gino Kenny (from 2016)Eoin Ó Broin (from 2016)John Curran (from 2016) Succeeded byMark WardJohn CurranEoin Ó BroinGino Kenny Political offices New office Minister for Children and Youth Affairs 2011–2014 Succeeded byCharles Flanagan Preceded byAlan Shatter Minister for Justice and Equality 2014–2017 Preceded byJoan Burton Tánaiste 2016–2017 Succeeded bySimon Coveney Preceded byMary Mitchell O'Connoras Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation 2017 Succeeded byLeo Varadkar(acting)