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Michael O’Kennedy, former Fianna Fáil politican, has died aged 86


Former Fianna Fáil politician Michael O’Kennedy has died aged 86.

Mr O’Kennedy served as an Oireachtas member for over 35 years, holding six different ministerial portfolios, including minister for labour, minister for agriculture and minister for finance. He was also European Commissioner.

Born in Nenagh, Co Tipperary in 1936, O’Kennedy studied in University College Dublin and qualified as a barrister before joining Fianna Fáil in the late 1950s. He served in the Seanad until 1969 and was first elected to the Dáil for Tipperary North.

He lost his seat in the Dáil in 1992 and returned to the Seanad.

His career in politics spanned five decades before O’Kennedy retired from national politics in 2002.

O’Kennedy then returned to practising as a barrister and was a member of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

In 2004, he received an honour from Queen Elizabeth for his work forging links between British and Irish parliaments.

Taoiseach’s tribute

In a statement, issued on Saturday afternoon, Taoiseach Micheál Martin paid tribute to the former minister saying he was “deeply saddened” by the news.

“Few people have left such a rich, or long, political legacy, or dedicated so much to Irish public life,” he said.

Mr O’Kennedy served in the Seanad until 1969 and was first elected to the Dáil for Tipperary North. From left: Senator Michael O’Kennedy.Mr Jim O’Keeffe,TD., Ms Kathleen Lynch TD., and Ms Frances Fitzgerald TD., Photograph: Matt Kavanagh.
Mr O’Kennedy served in the Seanad until 1969 and was first elected to the Dáil for Tipperary North. From left: Senator Michael O’Kennedy.Mr Jim O’Keeffe,TD., Ms Kathleen Lynch TD., and Ms Frances Fitzgerald TD., Photograph: Matt Kavanagh.

“A man of great integrity and friendly demeanour, Michael had a front row

seat for the formative years of modern Ireland.

“A Senior Counsel, he had a keen legal mind, and brought great wit, intelligence and determination to several ministerial roles spanning three decades.

“Michael was also a strong voice for Ireland on the international stage, serving as European Commissioner in the early 1980s, before returning to the Dáil to serve his beloved Tipperary North once again,” he added.

Mr O’Kennedy is survived by his wife Breda and children, Brian, Orla and Mary.

Details of his funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.



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