Ireland, Land of Magical Thinking

Some years ago, American writer Joan Didion wrote a memoir called The Year of Magical Thinking. It detailed a year of her life in which her husband died suddenly, and her daughter developed an ultimately fatal illness. For months after her husband died, Didion refused to throw out any of his clothes, did whatever she could to keep her life and living arrangements identical to what they had been when her husband was alive. This, she came to realise, was magical thinking. At some level she thought that her husband would return, but that in order for this to happen she needed to have constant faith. Throwing away his clothes would signify bad faith, and thus ensure that he never came back. Only when she accepted the reality and permanence of her situation was she able to leave behind the magical thinking, the sense that reality could be altered simply by wishing.


Magical Thinking, or wish thinking, is a comforting, basically childish way of thinking about the world. It comes about in times of stress. And it is everywhere these days. We are a year into the worst recession in living memory and still people are in denial. Even as they call for drastic cuts in public services, many of us, especially those who at first denied the recession was even happening, are acting like we can simply wish ourselves out of recession.

“”If you believe,” he shouted to them, “clap your hands; don’t let Tink die.”

The clapping stopped suddenly; as if countless mothers had rushed to their nurseries to see what on earth was happening; but already Tink was saved. First her voice grew strong, then she popped out of bed, then she was flashing through the room more merry and impudent than ever”

– J. M Barrie, Peter Pan.

Substitute the Celtic Tiger for Tinkerbell, and you will have some idea of what I am talking about. Yes, consumer confidence is essential to an economy. Yes, you need a can-do attitude to get anywhere as an entrepreneur. But you also need a good product, a line of credit, skill, connections and many other things, many of which are in the shortest of supply these days. Confidence can only bring you so far, and if unaccompanied by any of the other requirements of a successful business, it will bring you to financial ruin. Sure, every success story involves people taking risks and defying the odds. But so does every one of the far more common, but less often heard stories of failure.

One of the new clichés bequeathed to us by the Celtic Tiger is that “Our Greatest Natural Resource is our People”. This has its origin in the rhetoric of Mary Robinson’s Presidency. Robinson came to office at a time when Ireland was still drab, depressed, and exporting many of its young people abroad. Audaciously, Robinson began telling us that we were young, dynamic and energetic. It wasn’t true. But it became true. Confidence increased in Ireland throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s, until we became the insufferable boors of today. For decades we thought of ourselves as lovable losers. We weren’t rich, but we were charming, quaint and artistic. Now we think we are lovable winners. Even now that we’re not winning, we seem to have to decided that if we act as if we are, things will soon work out.

Magical thinking in its current form is fixated on the notion that the problems we find ourselves in are simply fixed. All that is needed is goodwill and collective effort. A key motif is that the resources are “out there”, they need only to be “harnessed”. Hence, the preponderance of people starting a website and simply waiting for the problem to be solved by wishing it so. This tendency is demonstrated by a range of initiatives launched by public and private sectors, as well as by concerned citizens. The recurring thought that comes to me upon reading the content of all of these sites is “As if it were that simple”. Nothing much will come of any of these projects. I would lay money on it. But let’s look at a few of them:


Let’s look, for example, at Amhrán Nua. It announces itself a new political movement. Their website ticks all the usual magical thinking boxes. It calls for patriotism, an end to partisan bickering, a general pulling together of the nation. As with the name, visually, it harks back to the fresh, hopeful style of the early days of the Celtic Tiger. Celtic mysticism with a modern hi-tech sheen. Blue skies, green fields, a fresh breeze blowing from off the Atlantic. It is somewhere between a mid-90’s Bord Fáilte ad and a Corrs video. The policy pages have nothing controversial to say. Cut public spending, increase revenue, slim down the public sector, the usual. It is interesting to note that the recession has turned Fine Gael economic policy into the new, unquestioned conventional wisdom.

There is no evidence that I can find on the site that Amhrán Nua has any members beyond those involved in setting up the website. I can also find no evidence that they have registered themselves as a political party. Indeed, I strongly suspect that those involved are not aware of the requirement to do so. Schemes like this are hatched in great enthusiasm, often in the pub. Following through is not really the point. Other than talking vaguely of fresh starts and pulling together, what are Amhrán Nua actually doing? Their “Events and Activities” page is blank.

Here’s a post on, also proposing a new party. You can read the ten point plan if you like, but the first sentence sets the tone:

“Have a political system where the government is made up off (sic) top experts in their field, not TDs.”

OK, an unelected government. Thanks for your suggestion. We’ll get back to you. This guy suggests that his movement will have great appeal to the intelligentsia, by the way.

Reclaim Ireland: A cheaper looking site, with slightly more edgy, combative language. “Reclaim” suggests that Ireland is in the hands of others, and must be taken back. The slogan meanwhile, urges us to “Vote for Revolt”. It is not made clear whether Reclaim Ireland are a party for whom we can vote. They state they are not allied to any existing parties. Anyone on the way to the polls to “vote for revolt” could be forgiven some confusion as to how to go about it. Inevitably, a cut on wasteful spending is recommended. But as Bord Snip makes clear, answering the question of what is wasteful is not straightforward. The Agenda page commences by calling for a national government, and then goes on to call for universal education and healthcare. Fair enough, but what about the sizeable chunk of the national government, and indeed the electorate, that is dead set against such lefty policies? That difficulty can apparently be wished away, because

a power shared government might just get the job done if we are all on the same side

Hmm, one-party government. I see a theme developing here. Again, no actual activities have been undertaken.


So much for politics. How about the private sector? First, the now rather celebrated Spirit of Ireland project. The website again is decked out in circa-1997 imagery of fluffy clouds against blue skies, waves frothing off the Cliffs of Moher and emerald green fields. This is apparently Riverdance: The Energy Company. Spirit of Ireland’s plan is all about renewable energy. I will leave it to the experts to demonstrate that the entire plan is guff and limit myself to the magical aspects. Spirit of Ireland announce

Ireland has some the very best wind resources in Europe – an enormous natural asset with revenue potential of tens of billions of Euros per year.

Wind, previously just a meteorological phenomenon and means of drying clothes, is now an asset. Billions of Euros a year have been brought into existence, simply by saying so. Renewable energy is the perfect magical thinking project. It has no actual tangible products. Rather it is a matter of “harnessing” something that is already there. As my researches for this post have shown, Ireland is not short of wind.

The Ideas Campaign is the government’s own approved harnessing exercise. There is, it seems, a genius for innovation and initiative residing every one of us. Never mind that it didn’t make its self shown for centuries, it exists, and is quintessentially Irish. The Ideas Campaign set out to tap that genius, which, like wind, is just lying around, being wasted. We were sitting on a goldmine all this time, and we didn’t even know it! Having harvested the sweet, sweet ideas from the brains of the nation, the Ideas Campaign produced a report. The other day, they announced that they were immediately implementing 17 of the ideas produced by their brain-farming. I will confess, even I was nonplussed at 17 ideas. I’ve come up with more than that myself on a night on the pub. But who knows, maybe they are all pure gold, sure-fire recession-busters:

Facilitate career breaks and shorter working week in public sector

This has been happening for, literally, decades.

Encourage schools to organise transition year trips within Ireland to assist tourism

I imagine the recession will take care of most parent’s urges to send their kids away on expensive school trips abroad.

Develop a coherent ‘Ireland’ brand for education in order to draw more international students to our third-level institutions

I’m not sure I even know what this means, but it smells like an excuse for a big PR spend.

It is clear that is happening here is that the government, having vocally supported the campaign, are now humouring it by officially adopting some of the ideas that require no change from current practices. Well done all. I hope you didn’t spend too much on that. Oh, and the “no whinging” sign on your site? I’d hide that if someone who’s lost his job comes around. It might come off as a little insensitive.

Some will no doubt take offence to this post, or say “At least they’re doing something instead of complaining”. But my point is that these projects aren’t doing anything either. If you are starting a company or other venture, I genuinely wish you luck. All of the projects I’ve outlined above were launched with greater or lesser degrees of ballyhoo before petering out, because underneath the enthusiasm, there was nothing there. If these projects have any success whatsoever, it will be on their merits. If they fail, it will also be on their merits. My criticisms will not have any effect on them either way. To think otherwise is to think, like Peter Pan, that the Celtic Tiger can be brought back to life simply by believing and clapping your hands.


  • MJ says:

    Just wanted to say – that is the best blogpost I have read in a long time.
    That is all,

  • James says:

    Great post, required reading

  • […] points out this is a time of magical thinking. And magical solutions. Many magic purveyors charge fantastic […]

  • Eolaí says:


    While walking the dog the other day I met someone who complained that we had to pay not only “the government who were elected but also the others” – “why do we have to pay for an opposition? – they don’t even do anything.” I said nothing and continued on with the dog.

  • Wally Burns says:

    Have you trawled around religious blogs to see if groups have launched prayer vigils, pilgrimages and novenas aimed at getting the recession off our backs? Pray up, pay up and rise up. Levitation could become a new craze.

  • Eoin says:

    Great article – refreshingly sane

  • Eoin says:

    As stated required reading. Sooner people get the stars out of their eyes and see reality the better.

    One of the best posts I’ve read


  • Paul Moloney says:

    If you look at the Ideas Campaign as a job initative scheme, it’s bizarre. If you look at it as a quango-formation scheme, it all makes sense.

    As a complete aside, see:


  • Nicely put Fergal. An idea or a belief without energy, people and resources behind it is worth precisely nothing – “How many divisions does the Pope have?” My favourite belief quote comes from James Randi: “Would anyone here who believes in telekinesis … please raise my hand.”

    But you’re not going to progress very far as a society without ideas and convictions either. The single most common complaint I’ve been hearing since the mess reared its ugly head is that we have no cohesive vision for the country. It’s not that we’re rudderless, leaderless, or being led by the clueless – it’s that we have nothing to aim for (or perhaps to believe in). Moses might have got sidetracked for 4 decades in the desert, but everyone in the group knew that the Promised Land was what they were looking for …

  • […] Tuppenceworth | Ireland, Land of Magical Thinking […]

  • You are talking about hope and false prophets. Hope is important, but giving people false hope is just irresponsible. I wrote something about this months ago.

    You need a special licence in this country to sell reading glasses, install a video camera or operate a metal detector in this country.

    Maybe you should need a licence before you are allowed offer people hope? You can cause a lot more hurt and damage with hope.

    It isn’t that people aren’t sincere, it’s that in their enthusiasm they are making complicated, hard things seem over-simple and far too easy.

  • Ronan Burke says:

    Hello, I would like to respond to your comments on the Amhrán Nua group there, being one of the members that helped to found it. My name is Ronan Burke, and while I’d take as a compliment your comments on the fresh look of the site, I find the rest of the commentary somewhat jaded.

    There are at this time five central members and over sixty registered members of AN (which can be observed to an extent in the forum, which is growing daily), since its humble beginnings in the borderlands of the forum, and we are aiming for a mass media launch in hopefully September or October, and have already held meetings with various political editors of regional papers.

    All of our contributors, to the best of my knowledge, hold full time employment and many of us have young families, added to which the project is being run on a shoestring budget, so if progress is a bit slow for some tastes, please do come on board and help out.

    We’re engaging in a process of getting the word out online at first, and so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive I’m happy to say, with some well aimed criticism which is taken on board. Hopefully that settles your “what are we doing” question.

    The lack of groundbreaking policies is more due to the lack of the blogger’s patience in working through all of the policies laid out, perhaps understandable – in particular the political reform page which would in effect debar the relatives of public representatives from holding public office, essentially putting most of the dynasties in the cumanns out of business, not that anyone will miss them. Thats goodbye Cowen and Kenny, and Bertie wouldn’t fare much better. The recovery page outlines a radical restructuring of the banking system. There are many unique policies in there (free municipal wireless?), but they need to be read and understood, which is why we have the forum for clarification as well as listening to what people have to say.

    Your suspicion that we are not aware of the need to register the party is ill founded, we are quite aware of the 300 signatures and the thumbs up from a sitting TD. Its more politic at this point to refer to ourselves as a political party, although we aren’t there yet. A similar situation applies to the representatives page.

    I’m not at all sure what is expected by some people, that a new organisation will leap wholesale out of the aether to the thunderous applause of legions of followers – this is not how it works. It takes time, patience, and a few dedicated individuals to make anything happen, especially when you see the problems afflicting the country but haven’t the resources to do much about it.

    Yes we’re not much to look at. Three months ago we weren’t there at all. Think about it.

  • Ronan Burke says:

    If you want to contact me directly Fergal I’ll be delighted to expand on whats going on and answer any questions you might have.

  • heather says:

    they should all join up together around one table and share their resources 🙂

  • Ronan Burke says:

    We’re actually working on that too. 😀

  • Fergal Crehan says:

    Ronan, thanks for your comment. As I say in the post, the success or failure of your venture will not be effected either way by my view. But I will confess I am not entirely convinced you’ve thought a lot of this through.

    To take an example, are you aware that your proposal to debarr relatives of public representatives from themselves holding office is unconstitutional in more than half a dozen different ways? At the very least, you’d need a referendum, and even then we’d have the European Court of Human Rights all over us. The referendum in turn raises the question of why people would vote for such a measure when they could alternatively just impose their own, personal ban, by choosing not to vote for dynasty candidates in elections.
    What degree of relationship will be proscribed, immediate family or extended? Does the fact that my uncle who I never see was once a TD rule me out of politics? Will it be blood relatives only, or are relatives by marriage also included? If so, what of unmarried partners? How many generations will be taken into account – if I sit for a single term as a county councillor or backbench TD, are my kids and grandkids denied the right to participate in the political life of the nation? What about political marriages – will they be able to keep their jobs if they get divorced, or will a judicial seperation suffice? What happens when two relatives get elected in the same general election? Are they both allowed to serve the terms to which they were democratically elected? These are all just off the top of my head, the product of about 10 minutes thought. I am concerned that none of these problems appear to have occurred to you.

  • Ronan Burke says:

    Thanks for responding Fergal, on the familial relationships being debarred, the problem is that it confers an unfair advantage on those who have these relationships, and stops just anyone getting into politics. It is very difficult to get any airtime without being associated with one of the big three (or four), and they have resources that no small group starting off would have. In a similar fashion, you could say that anyone can write an operating system and compete with microsoft, but there are further considerations than the ability to write software, including prior arrangements MS has with OEMs.

    The EU has fined and is continuing to fine MS for abuse of its monopoly position, and as such should have no difficulty in comprehending the stance being taken by this party in order to ensure a healthy democratic process and meritocratic society.

    What we’re talking about is bald and open nepotism, plain and simple, leading to a situation whereby the politicians have begun to form a class unto themselves, a nascent aristocracy, a process which must be stopped immediately.

    The constitution protects various professions in society, notably judges and the civil service, and makes possible special dispensation for others, for example teachers, who can go on sabbatical as long as they want to pursue other careers and still have their permanent jobs held open for them, to the great detriment of the profession as a whole, and young teachers trying to get permanent jobs. Enda Kenny is one such. If such constitutional and legal protection can exist for these groups, why would it not exist for that most important group, the leaders of the country.

    That said protections might not benefit the ruling cadre is irrelevant in the larger picture.

    The degree of relationship could be determined by the potential for advancement that a relationship could confer. For example, a man would not be able to run in the same constituency as his brother, unless he was running for another party, if you get me. Its not the relationship itself thats the problem, its the abuse of the relationship, and while it can never be fully removed, its effects can be minimised so that we aren’t left with the current situation, painfully illustrated by both the social and economic progress of the country, and if you want to look it up the list of family run franchises in the Dáil, on wikipedia there. Yes, it has its own article.

    Its a good point that people could self-select the politicians to avoid these familial cabals, but let me put it like this. One local and recently elected councillor in my area held free drinks nights in his pub for three days running just before the elections. People could self select to not break the speed limits either, but we still have a law for their own and everyone else’s protection.

    There’s a lot more depth to the policies than is immediately visible on the site, but laying it all out in so many words would make an already lengthy document difficult for all but the most interested to read. Some people are crying out for more detail, some want it simplified to plain English, we’ve tried to strike a balance for now.

    Unfortunately we don’t have a team of solicitors to rattle off a 200 page document for each policy (yet!), but dicussions like these will help to clarify what we are doing, as well as discussions on the site itself.

    In good time we will produce more in-depth documentation linked to the articles, but for now getting across the broad gist is more important.

  • Ronan Burke says:

    And whatever about Berlin, Boston is definetely on our side in this:

    Anti-Nepotism Rules: the Legal Rights of Married Co-Workers

    Anti-nepotism rules in public organizations have led to law suits based on anti-discrimination statutes and the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiffs claim they are entitled to work with their spouses if they are qualified employees.

    Employers, on the other hand, defend anti-nepotism rules as a business necessity, arguing that married co-workers are a potentially disruptive influence in the office. A review of federal and state court decisions suggests that married co-workers rarely prevail in such cases. In this area of civil and constitutional litigation, public employer liabilities appear to be limited to situations where restrictions are unreasonably broad.

    Many public sector organizations restrict working relationships between family members by means of anti-nepotism rules. Restrictions may be relatively narrow in some agencies, only forbidding public officials to appoint their own relatives or spouses to offices or positions. In other agencies, restrictions are much broader, prohibiting family members from working in the same department or even in the same organization.

  • Simon McGarr says:


    Fergal’s much nicer than I am.

    What you’re proposing (in just this one area) is
    a) illegal and
    b) undemocratic.

    Which is fine. Because it just illustrates Fergal’s point- the fact that you can’t grasp this reaffirms that your website has absolutely no possibility of effecting society.

    You may hold any opinions you want- regardless of how poorly you are able to express them.

    But until you can engage with the world as it is, rather than how you might wish or imagine it to be, you’re just clapping for Tinkerbell.

    And at the moment, the only solid thing you’re offering us is an opportunity to assess Amhran Nua’s capacity for thought.

  • Ronan Burke says:

    To be honest Simon your inability to comprehend what has been put forward on even the most basic level, as indicated by your limp riposte, is neither an indictment of Fergal or this site, so I’ll stick around a bit longer. Ta though.

  • Ronan Burke says:

    And its Affecting, with an A. See, other people can do passive aggression as well! 😀

  • Fergal Crehan says:

    Actually I think Simon was being agressive-agressive.

  • Ronan Burke says:

    So does that put me on the higher or lower moral ground? 😀

    Meh, par for the course, in any case. As soon as a legitimate objection is raised, I’ll be happy to respond to it. That doesn’t mean its open season.

  • Hmm… I’ve read Ronan’s proposal re: “Family Businesses”. While a gut reaction might be that that makes sense (“down with this sort of thing”), thinking through the implications raises a few questions which force me to pour the penicillin of rationalism on poor Tinkerbell’s clap.

    1) What if there are two siblings, both skilled in different aspects of business and life, both of whom wish to make a contribution to the greater good? Do we deprive the nation of the combined contributions of these people?

    2) At what level do you decide that public office ends? For example, if I was in the running for Secretary General of a Government Department but my nephew had just joined a different department as a Clerical Officer would that mean that I’d have to resign entirely? After all, it is the “grey men” of the Service who advise ministers on policy, and then implement the policy the Ministers decide upon. And they have significantly longer tenure than a Minister (for information on how the Civil Service works with Ministers, watch Yes Minister. I’m told it is still painfully accurate).

    3) Perhaps Ronan doesn’t remember the situation in the Civil Service (indeed the wider public sector) pre 1973 when women had to resign from their civil service jobs once they married. Luckily we changed that situation. Rather than drawing a broad conclusion based on a US situation, perhaps Ronan might enquire from the Civil Service how many spouses or siblings work in the same department as each other and whether that has caused any ACTUAL (not alleged) disruption to the operation of the Civil Service. Bear in mind that the scope of relationship to examine would need to be quite broad to encompass spouses, children, nephews/nieces, cousins, step-children, children of unmarried partners, parents of unmarried co-habiting couples….


    Add into the mix the need that would arise for applicants for candidacy for political office to disclose details of personal relationships which would fall under the remit of the Data Protection Act (and as a result EC Directive 95/46/EC, the Article 29 Working Group, and the European Court of Justice) and then think through the implications of disclosure of personally identifying information about private citizens who are distantly related to current or former politicians on the off chance that they might run for office.

    A key component of Data Protection law is the consent of the person the data relates to to the processing. What if Fergal doesn’t want to give consent to his “arms-length uncle” passing on personally identifying information about him? What if Fergal’s uncle objects to Fergal identifying his relationship with him in an official document?

    Fergal and Simon have both raised clear grounds why the proposal Ronan is putting forward is a non-starter. It is illegal. It is unconstitutional. It is contrary to the European Charter on Human Rights (which is enshrined in Irish law since 2003 – it only took us 53 years to do it!). In practice, it would in all probability raise not insignificant Data Protection and privacy issues, to the extent of being unworkable.

    If Ronan’s definition of a “legitimate objection” is something other than “your idea is illegal and unworkable” then I’m at a loss. Perhaps Ronan can share the parameters he uses to define “legitimate” in this context?

    Yes, the political system needs fresh blood and new ideas. Ronan and his colleagues might formulate some valid policies for economic reform and recovery, social inclusion, or promoting an alternative focus for our culture than the pursuit of fresh Celtic Tiger riches. Put those ideas together and then put them into action.

  • Ronan Burke says:

    So we have two individuals in favour of blatant nepotism. Only in Ireland.

    Lets clarify things a bit for the hard of reading. The example of the US applies to their beaurocratic machinery, and I wouldn’t advocate a similar approach here unless it was clearly becoming a problem. It obviously did become a problem in the US hence those rules.

    Civil servants don’t make decisions, its the ministerial level that makes decisions, and thats the level we are targetting with this policy.

    So thats about half of Daragh’s rant gone in a puff of strawmen.

    Whatever losses might be made to the nation by the loss of one “super special” sibling (and hey, since we’re writing a blank cheque for unfair advantages, lets make steroids legal in sporting events, why let actual merit get in the way) is more than balanced out by the restoration of true meritocracy, which is put in place to ensure that everyone that wants to gets a fair crack. If you think its not a problem, take a look here, and this is by no means a comperhensive list:

    * Bertie Ahern (born 1951): FF TD Dublin Central 1977–
    o his brother Noel Ahern (born 1944): FF TD Dublin North West 1992–
    * Kit Ahern (1915–2007): FF Senator 1965–1977, FF TD Kerry North 1977–1981
    o her cousin Ned O’Sullivan: FF Senator 2007–
    * David Andrews (born 1936): FF TD Dún Laoghaire 1965–2002 (son of Todd Andrews, a FF founder)
    o his son Barry Andrews (born 1967): FF TD Dún Laoghaire 2002–
    o his brother Niall Andrews (1937–2006): FF TD Dublin South 1977–1987
    + Niall’s son Chris Andrews (born 1964): FF TD Dublin South East 2007–
    * Bob Aylward (1911–1974): FF Senator 1973–1974
    o his son Liam Aylward (born 1952): FF TD Carlow-Kilkenny 1977–2007
    o his son Bobby Aylward (born 1955): FF TD Carlow-Kilkenny 2007–

    [edit] B

    * Anthony Barry (1901–1983): FG TD/Senator Cork Borough 1954–1965
    o his son Peter Barry (born 1928): FG TD Cork City South East/Cork City/Cork South Central 1969–1997
    + Peter’s daughter Deirdre Clune (born 1959): FG TD Cork South Central 1997–2002, 2007–
    * Richard Barry (born 1919): FG TD Cork East/Cork North East 1953–1981
    o his daughter Myra Barry (born 1957): FG TD Cork North East/Cork East 1979–1987
    * John Beirne, Snr (1893–19??): CnaT TD Roscommon 1943–1948
    o his son John Beirne, Jnr (died 1967): CnaT TD Roscommon 1948–1961
    * Patrick Belton (1885–1945): FF TD Dublin County 1927, CnaG/FG TD Dublin North 1933–1937, FG TD Dublin County 1938–1943
    o his son Richard Belton (1913–1974): FG Senator 1969–1973
    + his daughter Avril Doyle (born 1949): FG TD/Senator Wexford 1982–2002, MEP 1999–2009
    o his son Jack Belton (died 1963): FG TD Dublin North East 1948–1963
    o his son Paddy Belton (1926–1987): FG TD Dublin North East 1963–1977
    o his nephew Luke Belton (1918–2006): FG TD/Senator Dublin North Central 1965–1987
    o his nephew ? Louis Belton (born 1943): FG TD/Senator Longford-Westmeath/Longford-Roscommon 1989–2002
    * Neal Blaney (1893–1948): FF TD Donegal 1927–1937, Donegal East 1937–1938 and 1943–1944, FF Senator 1938–1943
    o Neal’s son Neil Blaney (1922–1995): FF/IFF TD Donegal East/Donegal North East/Donegal 1948–1995
    o Neal’s son Harry Blaney (born 1928): IFF TD Donegal North East 1997–2002
    + Harry’s son Niall Blaney (born 1974): IFF/FF TD Donegal North East 2002–
    * Harry Boland (1887–1922): SF TD South Roscommon 1918–1922
    o his brother Gerald Boland (1885–1973): FF TD/Senator Roscommon 1926–1961
    + Gerald’s son Kevin Boland (1917–2001): FF TD Dublin County 1957–1970
    * Philip Brady (1898–1995): FF TD Dublin South Central 1951–1977
    o his son Gerard Brady (born 1936): FF TD Dublin Rathmines West/Dublin South East 1977–1992
    * Thomas Brennan (died 1953): FF TD Wicklow 1944–1954
    o his son Paudge Brennan (1922–1998): FF TD Wicklow 1954–1973, 1981–1982, 1982–1987, Senator 1982[1]
    * Martin Brennan (1903–1956): FF TD Sligo 1938–1948
    o his nephew Matt Brennan (born 1936): FF TD Sligo-Leitrim 1982–2002
    * Robert Briscoe (1894–1969): FF TD Dublin South/Dublin South West 1927–1965
    o his son Ben Briscoe (born 1934): FF TD Dublin 1965–2002
    * John Browne (born 1936): Senator 1983–1987, TD Carlow-Kilkenny 1989–2002
    o his son Fergal Browne (born 1973): Senator 2002–2007
    * Seán Browne (born 1916): FF TD Wexford 1957–1961, 1969–1981, 1982
    o his nephew John Browne (born 1948): TD Wexford 1982–
    * Cathal Brugha (1874–1922): SF TD County Waterford 1918–1922
    o his wife Caitlín Brugha (1879–1959): SF TD Waterford 1923–1927
    o his son Ruairí Brugha (1917–2006): FF TD Dublin County South 1973–1977
    + his father-in-law Terence MacSwiney (1879–1920): SF TD Cork Mid 1918–1920
    * John Bruton (born 1947): FG TD Meath 1969–2004
    o his brother Richard Bruton (born 1953): FG Senator 1981–1982, TD Dublin North Central 1982–
    * Patrick Burke (1904–1985): FF TD Dublin County/Dublin County North 1944–1973
    o his son Ray Burke (born 1943): FF TD Dublin County North/Dublin North 1973–1997
    * James Burke (died 1964): FG TD Roscommon 1951–1964
    o his wife Joan Burke (born 1928): FG TD Roscommon 1964–1981
    * John Butler (1891–1968): Lab TD Waterford-Tipperary East 1922–1923, Waterford 1923–1927, Senator 1938–1965
    o his son Pierce Butler (1922–1999): FG Senator 1969–1983
    * Alfred Byrne (1882–1956): IPP MP Dublin Harbour 1915–1918, Ind TD Dublin Mid/Dublin North 1922–1928, Ind Senator 1928–1931, Ind TD Dublin North/Dublin North East 1932–1956
    o his son Alfred P. Byrne (1913–1952): Ind TD Dublin North West 1937–1944, 1948–1952
    o his son Thomas Byrne (1917–1978): Ind TD Dublin North West 1952–1961
    o his son Patrick Byrne (born 1925): Ind TD Dublin North East 1956–1957, FG TD Dublin North East 1957–1969


    * Johnny Callanan (1910–1982): FF TD Clare-Galway South/Galway/Galway East 1973–1982
    o his nephew Joe Callanan (born 1949): FF TD Galway East 2000–2007
    * Phelim Calleary (1895–1974): FF TD Mayo North 1952–1969
    o his son Seán Calleary (born 1931): FF TD Mayo 1973–1992
    + Seán’s son Dara Calleary (born 1973): FF TD Mayo 2007–
    * Donal Carey (born 1937): FG TD Clare 1982–2002
    o His son Joe Carey (born 1975): FG TD Clare 2007–
    * Erskine Childers (1870–1922): SF TD Wicklow 1919–22
    o his son Erskine H. Childers (1905–1974): FF TD Wicklow 1938–73, President 1973–74
    + his granddaughter Nessa Childers: Lab MEP East 2009–
    * James Coburn (1889–1953): NLP/Ind/FG TD Louth 1927–1953
    o his son George Coburn (1920–2009): FG TD Louth 1953–1961
    * Harry Colley (1891–1972): FF TD Dublin North East 1944–1957
    o his son George Colley (1925–1983): FF TD Dublin North East/Dublin North Central/Dublin Clontarf/Dublin Central 1961–1983
    + his granddaughter Anne Colley (born 1951): PD TD Dublin South 1987–1989
    * James Collins (1900–1967): FF TD Limerick 1948–1967
    o his son Gerry Collins (born 1938): FF TD Limerick 1967–1997
    o his son Michael Collins (born 1940): FF TD Limerick West 1997–2007
    o his grandson Niall Collins (born 1973): FF TD Limerick West 2007–
    * Michael Collins (1890–1922): SF TD Cork South 1918–1921, Cork Mid, North, South, South East and West 1921–1922
    o his sister Margaret Collins-O’Driscoll (1878–1945): CnaG TD Dublin North 1923–1933
    o his grandniece Nora Owen (born 1945): FG TD Dublin North 1981–2002
    o his grandniece Mary Banotti (born 1939): FG MEP Dublin 1984–2004
    * Johnny Connor (died 1955): CnaP TD Kerry North 1954–1955
    o his daughter Kathleen O’Connor (born 1934): CnaP TD Kerry North 1956–1957
    * Roddy Connolly (1901–1980): Lab TD Louth 1943–1944, 1948–1951, Senator 1975–1977 (Son of James Connolly)
    o his sister Nora Connolly O’Brien (1893–1981): Senator 1957–1969
    * Fintan Coogan, Snr (1910–1984): FG TD Galway West 1954–1977
    o his son Fintan Coogan, Jnr (born 1944): FG TD Galway West 1982–1987, Senator 1997–2002
    * Richard Corish (1889–1945): Lab TD Wexford 1921–1945
    o his son Brendan Corish (1918–1990): Lab TD Wexford 1945–1982
    * W. T. Cosgrave (1880–1965): CnaG/FG TD Carlow-Kilkenny 1919–1927, Cork Borough 1927–1944
    o his brother Philip Cosgrave (died 1923): CnaG TD Dublin North West 1921–1923: Dublin South 1923
    o his son Liam Cosgrave (born 1920): FG TD Dublin County 1943–1948, Dún Laoghaire 1948–1981
    + Liam’s son Liam T. Cosgrave (born 1956): FG TD Dún Laoghaire 1981–1987, FG Senator 1989–2002
    * John A. Costello (1881–1976): FG TD Dublin Townships 1933–1943, 1944–1969
    o his son Declan Costello (born 1926): FG TD Dublin North West 1951–1969, Dublin South West 1973–1977
    * Clement Coughlan (1942–1983): FF TD Donegal South West 1980–1983
    o his brother Cathal Coughlan (1937–1986): FF TD Donegal South West 1983–1986
    + Cathal’s daughter Mary Coughlan (born 1965): FF TD Donegal South West 1987–
    * Hugh Coveney (1935–1998): FG TD Cork South Central 1981–1998
    o his son Simon Coveney (born 1972): FG TD Cork South Central 1998–
    * Bernard Cowen (1932–1984): FF TD Laois-Offaly 1969–1984
    o his son Brian Cowen (born 1960): FF TD Laois-Offaly 1984–
    * Donal Creed (born 1924): FG TD Cork North West 1965–1989
    o his son Michael Creed (born 1963): FG TD Cork North West 1989–2002, 2007–
    * Patrick Crotty (1902–1970): FG TD Carlow-Kilkenny 1948–1969
    o his son Kieran Crotty (born 1930): FG TD Carlow-Kilkenny 1969–1989
    * Frederick Crowley (died 1945): FF TD Kerry South 1927–1945
    o his wife Honor Crowley (1903–1966): FF TD Kerry South 1945–1966
    * Flor Crowley (1934–1997): FF TD Cork Mid/Cork South West 1965–1982, Senator
    o his son Brian Crowley (born 1964): FF Senator 1992–1994 MEP Munster/South 1994–


    * Michael D’Arcy (born 1934): FG TD Wexford 1977–1987, 1989–1992, 1997–2002
    o his son Michael W. D’Arcy (born 1970): FG TD Wexford 2007–
    * Michael Davern (1900–1973): FF TD Tipperary South 1948–1965
    o his son Don Davern (1935–1968): FF TD Tipperary South 1965–1968
    o his son Noel Davern (born 1945): FF TD Tipperary South 1969–2007
    * Dan Desmond (1913–1964): Lab TD Cork South East, 1948–1964
    o his wife Eileen Desmond (1932–2005): Lab TD Cork South Central 1965–1987
    * Éamon de Valera (1882–1975): FF TD Clare 1919–1959, President 1959–73, (also FF MP Parliament of Northern Ireland 1921–37)
    o his son Vivion de Valera (1910–1982): FF TD Dublin North West 1944–1981
    o his granddaughter Síle de Valera (born 1954): FF TD Dublin County Mid 1977–1981, Clare 1987–2007
    o his grandson Éamon Ó Cuív (born 1950): FF Senator 1989–1992, FF TD Galway West 1992–
    * Austin Deasy (born 1936): FG TD Waterford 1977–2002
    o his son John Deasy (born 1967): FG TD Waterford 2002–
    * James Devins (1873–1922): SF TD Sligo-Mayo East 1921–22
    o his grandson Jimmy Devins[2] (born 1948): FF TD Sligo-Leitrim 2002–
    * John Dillon (1851–1927): IPP MP East Mayo 1880–1918
    o his son James Dillon (1902–1986): NCP TD Donegal 1932–1937, FG TD Monaghan 1937–1969
    * John Dinneen (1867–1942): FP TD Cork East 1922–1927
    o his nephew Liam Ahern (1916–1974): FF Senator 1957–1973, FF TD Cork North East 1973–1974
    + Liam’s son Michael Ahern (born 1949): FF TD Cork East 1982–
    * Sir Maurice Dockrell (1850–1929): IUA MP Dublin Rathmines 1918–1922
    o Maurice’s son Henry Morgan Dockrell (1880–1955): FG TD Dublin County 1932–1948
    + Henry’s son Maurice E. Dockrell (1908–1986): FG TD Dublin South/Dublin South Central/Dublin Central 1943–1977
    + Henry’s son Percy Dockrell (1914–1979): FG TD Dún Laoghaire 1951–1957, 1961–1977
    * Michael Donnellan (1900–1964): CnaT TD Galway 1938–1964
    o his son John Donnellan (born 1937): FG TD Galway 1964–1989

    [edit] E

    * Tom Enright (born 1940): FG TD Laois-Offaly 1969–1992, 1997–2002, FG Senator 1993–1997
    o his daughter Olwyn Enright (born 1974): FG TD Laois-Offaly 2002–
    + her husband Joe McHugh (born 1971): FG Senator 2002–2007, FG TD Donegal North East 2007–
    * Sir Thomas Esmonde (1862–1935): IPP MP 1885–1918, Ind Senator 1922–1934
    o his cousin John Joseph Esmonde (1862–1915) IPP MP North Tipperary 1910–1915
    o Thomas’s son Sir Osmond Esmonde (1896–1936): CnaG TD Wexford 1923–1936
    o John Joseph’s son Sir John Lymbrick Esmonde (1893–1958): FG TD Wexford 1937–1951
    o John Lymbrick’s brother Sir Anthony Esmonde (1899–1981): FG TD Wexford 1951–1973
    o Anthony’s son Sir John Grattan Esmonde (1928–1987): FG TD Wexford 1973–1977
    * James Everett (1894–1967): Lab TD Wicklow 1923–1967
    o his nephew Liam Kavanagh (born 1935): Lab TD Wicklow 1969–1997

    [edit] F

    * Alexis FitzGerald, Snr (1916–1985): FG Senator 1969–1981
    o his nephew Alexis FitzGerald, Jnr (born 1945): FG Senator 1981–1982, 1982–1997, FG TD Dublin South East 1982
    o Alexis Jnr’s wife Mary Flaherty (born 1953): FG TD Dublin North West 1981–1997
    * Desmond FitzGerald (1888–1947): CnaG TD 1919–1937, Senator 1938–1943
    o his son Garret FitzGerald (born 1926): FG Senator 1965–1969, FG TD Dublin South East 1969–1992
    o Garret’s cousin James Dooge (born 1922): FG Senator 1969–1987
    o Garret’s daughter-in-law Eithne FitzGerald (born 1950): Lab TD Dublin South 1992–1997
    * Oliver J. Flanagan (1920–1987): FG TD Laois-Offaly 1943–1987
    o his son Charles Flanagan (born 1956): FG TD Laois-Offaly 1987–2002, 2007–
    * Pádraig Flynn (born 1939): FF TD Mayo West 1977–1993
    o his daughter Beverley Flynn (born 1966): FF/Ind TD Mayo 1997–
    * Johnny Fox (1948–1995): Ind TD Wicklow 1992–1995
    o his daughter, Mildred Fox (born 1971): Ind TD Wicklow 1995–2007


    * John Galvin (1907–1963): FF TD Cork Borough 1956–1964
    o his wife Sheila Galvin (1914–1983): FF TD Cork Borough 1964–1965
    * Johnny Geoghegan (1913–1975): FF TD Galway West 1954–1975
    o his daughter Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (born 1950): FF TD Galway West 1975–1997
    * Seán Gibbons (1883–1952): CnaG TD Carlow-Kilkenny 1923–1924, FF TD Carlow-Kilkenny 1932–1937, FF Senator 1938–1951
    o his nephew Jim Gibbons (1924–1997): FF TD Carlow-Kilkenny 1957–1981, 1982
    + Jim’s son Martin Gibbons (born 1953): PD TD Carlow-Kilkenny 1987–1989
    + Jim’s son Jim Gibbons, Jnr (born 1954): PD Senator 1997–2002
    * T. P. Gill (1858–1931): IPP/INF MP South Louth 1885–1892
    o his nephew Tomás Mac Giolla (born 1924): WP TD Dublin West 1982–1992
    * Henry Guinness (1858–1945): Ind Senator 1922–1923
    o his cousin Benjamin Guinness (1937–1992): FG Senator 1973–1977


    * Sean Hales (died 1922): SF TD Cork Mid, North, South, South East and West 1921–1922
    o his brother Tom Hales (1892–1966): FF TD Cork West 1933–1937
    * Des Hanafin (born 1930): FF Senator 1965–1993, 1997–2002
    o his daughter Mary Hanafin (born 1959): FF TD Dún Laoghaire 1997–
    o his son John Gerard Hanafin (born 1960): FF Senator 2002–
    * Haughey, see Lemass
    * Sir William Bernard Hickie (1865–1950): Senator 1925–1936
    o his grandnephew Maurice O’Connell (born 1936): Senator 1981–1983
    * Michael Hilliard (1903–1982): FF TD Meath-Westmeath 1943–1948, Meath 1948–1973
    o his son Colm Hilliard (1936–2002): FF TD Meath 1982–1997
    * T. V. Honan (died 1954): FF Senator 1934–1936, 1938–1954
    o his son Dermot Honan (died 1986): FF Senator 1965–1973
    + Dermot’s wife Tras Honan (born 1930): FF Senator 1977–1992
    # Tras’s sister Carrie Acheson (born 1934): FF TD Tipperary South 1981–Feb. 1982
    * Ralph Howard (1877–1946): Ind Senator 1922–1928
    o his daughter-in-law Eleanor Butler (1915–1997): Lab Senator 1948–1951

    [edit] K

    * William Kenneally, Snr (died 1964): FF TD Waterford 1952–1961
    o his son William Kenneally, Jnr (born 1925): FF TD Waterford 1965–1982, Senator 1982–1983
    + his grandson Brendan Kenneally (born 1955): FF TD Waterford 1989–2002, 2007–, Senator 2002–2007
    * Paddy Keaveney (1929–1995): IFF TD Donegal North East 1976–1977
    o his daughter Cecilia Keaveney (born 1968): FF TD Donegal North East 1996–2007, FF Senator 2007–
    * Henry Kenny (1913–1975): FG TD Mayo South 1954–1969, Mayo West 1969–1975
    o his son Enda Kenny (born 1951): FG TD Mayo West 1975–1997, Mayo 1997–
    * David Kent (died 1930): SF TD Cork East/Cork East and North East 1918–1927
    o his brother William Kent: FF TD Cork East 1927–1932, NCP/FG TD Cork East 1933–1937
    * Mark Killilea, Snr (1896–1970): FF TD Galway/Galway East/Galway North 1927–1932, 1933–1961, FF Senator 1961–1969
    o his son Mark Killilea, Jnr (born 1939): FF TD 1977–1982, FF Senator 1969–1977, 1982–1987, MEP 1987–1999
    * Michael F. Kitt (1914–1974): FF TD 1948–1951, 1957–1975
    o Michael F.’s son Michael P. Kitt (born 1950): FF TD Galway North East 1973–1977, Galway East 1981–2002, 2007–, FF Senator 1977–1981, 2002–2007
    o Michael F.’s son Tom Kitt (born 1952): FF TD 1987–
    o Michael F.’s daughter Áine Brady (born 1954):[3] FF TD Kildare North 2007–
    + her husband Gerry Brady (born 1948): FF TD Kildare 1982


    * James Larkin (1874–1947): IWL TD Dublin North 1927, Ind TD Dublin North East 1937–1938, Lab TD Dublin North East 1943–1944
    o his son James Larkin, Jnr (1904–1969): Lab TD Dublin South 1943–1948, Dublin South Central 1948–1954
    * Seán Lemass (1899–1971): FF TD/Taoiseach Dublin 1924–1969
    o his son Noel Lemass, Jnr (1929–1976): FF TD Dublin South West 1956–1976
    + Noel’s wife Eileen Lemass (born 1932): FF TD Dublin South West 1977–1987
    o his son-in-law Charles Haughey (1925–2006): FF TD/Taoiseach Dublin North East/Dublin (Artane)/Dublin North Central 1957–1992
    + his son Seán Haughey (born 1961): FF Senator 1989–1992, FF TD Dublin North Central 1992–
    * Patrick Lenihan (1902–1970): FF TD 1965–1970
    o his son Brian Lenihan (1930–1995): FF Senator 1957–1961, 1973–1977, FF TD Roscommon 1961–1969, Roscommon-Leitrim 1969–1973, Dublin West 1977–1997
    + Brian’s son Brian Lenihan, Jnr (born 1959): FF Dublin West 1996–
    + Brian’s son Conor Lenihan (born 1963): FF TD Dublin South West 1997–
    o his daughter Mary O’Rourke (born 1937): FF Senator 1981–1982, 2002–2007, FF TD Longford-Westmeath 1982–1997, 2007–, Westmeath 1997–2002
    * Jimmy Leonard (born 1927): FF TD Cavan-Monaghan 1973–1981, Feb 1982–1997, Senator 1981–1982
    o his daughter Ann Leonard (born 1969): FF Senator 1997–2002
    * Patrick Little (1884–1963): FF TD Waterford 1927–1954
    o his grandnephew Ciarán Cuffe (born 1963): GP TD Dún Laoghaire 2002–
    * James B. Lynch (died 1954): FF TD Dublin South 1932–1948 Senator 1951–1954
    o his wife Celia Lynch (1908–1989): FF TD Dublin South Central, Dublin North Central 1954–1977
    * Kathleen Lynch (born 1953): DL/Lab TD Cork North Central 1994–1997, 2002–
    o her brother-in-law Ciarán Lynch (born 1964): Lab TD Cork South Central 2007–

    [edit] M

    * Timothy McAuliffe (1909–1985): Lab Senator 1961–1969, 1973–1983
    o his daughter Helena McAuliffe-Ennis (born 1951): Lab (then PD) Senator 1983–1987
    * Joseph MacBride (died 1938): SF TD Mayo West 1919–1921, Mayo North and West 1921–1923, CnaG TD Mayo South 1923–1927
    o his nephew Seán MacBride (1904–1988): CnaP TD Dublin County 1947–1948, Dublin South-West 1948–1957
    * Seán MacEntee (1889–1984): SF TD Monaghan 1919–1922, FF TD Dublin County/Townships/South East 1927–1969
    o his son-in-law Conor Cruise O’Brien (1917–2008): Lab TD Dublin North East 1969–1977, Senator 1977–1979
    o Conor’s cousin Owen Sheehy-Skeffington (1901–1970): Ind Senator 1954–1957, 1965–1970
    * Eoin MacNeill (1867–1945): SF/CnaG TD National University of Ireland 1919–1927
    o his son-in-law Michael Tierney (1894–1975): CnaG TD Mayo North 1925–1927, NUI 1927–1932, Senator 1938–1944
    o his grandson Michael McDowell (born 1951): PD TD Dublin South East 1987–1989, 1992–1997, 2002–2007
    * Tom McEllistrim (1894–1973): FF TD Kerry/Kerry North 1923–1969
    o his son Tom McEllistrim (1932–2000): FF TD Kerry North 1969–1987, Senator 1987–1989, 1989–1992
    + his grandson Tom McEllistrim (born 1968): FF TD Kerry North 2002–
    * Ray MacSharry (born 1938): FF TD Sligo-Leitrim 1969–1988
    o his son Marc MacSharry (born 1973): FF Senator 2002–
    * Terence MacSwiney (1879–1920): SF TD Cork Mid 1919–1920
    o his sister Mary MacSwiney (1872–1942): SF TD Cork Borough 1921–1927
    o his brother Seán MacSwiney: SF TD Cork Mid, North, South, South East and West 1921–1922
    o his son-in-law Ruari Brugha (1917–2006): FF TD Dublin County South 1973–1977
    * Tadhg Manley (1893–1976): FG TD Cork South 1954–1961
    o his nephew Liam Burke (1928–2005): FG TD Cork City 1969–1977, 1979–1981, TD Cork North Central 1981–1989, 1992–2002
    * John Mannion, Snr (1907–1978): FG TD Galway West 1951–1954, Senator 1954–1957, 1961–1969
    o his son John Mannion, Jnr (1944–2006): FG TD Galway West 1977–1981, Senator 1969–1977, 1981–1983
    * Con Meaney (died 1970): FF TD Cork North 1937–1943, Cork Mid 1961–1965
    o his son Thomas Meaney (born 1931): FF TD Cork Mid/Cork North West 1961–1982
    * Jim Mitchell (1946–2002): FG TD Dublin Ballyfermot/Dublin West/Dublin Central 1977–2002
    o his brother Gay Mitchell (born 1951): FG TD Dublin South Central 1981–2007, MEP 2004–
    * Joe Mooney (died 1988): FF Senator 1961–1965
    o his son Paschal Mooney (born 1947): FF Senator 1987–2007
    * Michael Moynihan (1917–2001): Lab TD Kerry South 1981–1992
    o his daughter Breeda Moynihan-Cronin (born 1953): Lab TD Kerry South 1992–2007
    * Michael Pat Murphy (1919–2000): Lab TD Cork South West 1951–1981
    o his son-in-law John O’Donoghue (born 1956): FF TD Kerry South 1987–


    * Liam Naughten (1944–1996): FG Senator 1981–1982, 1989–1996, FG TD Roscommon 1982–1989
    o his son Denis Naughten (born 1973): FG Senator 1997, FG TD Longford-Roscommon 1997–2007 Roscommon-South Leitrim 2007–
    * Tom Nolan: (1921–1992): FF TD Carlow-Kilkenny 1965–1982
    o his son M. J. Nolan (born 1951): FF TD Carlow-Kilkenny 1982–
    * William Norton: (1900–1963): Lab TD Dublin County 1923–1927, Kildare / Carlow-Kildare / Kildare 1932–1963
    o his son Patrick Norton (born 1928): Lab TD Kildare 1965–1969, Senator 1969–1973


    * Richard O’Connell (1892–1964): CnaG TD Limerick 1923–1932
    o his nephew Tom O’Donnell (born 1926): FG TD Limerick East 1961–1987
    + Tom’s nephew Kieran O’Donnell (born 1963): FG TD Limerick East 2007–
    * O’Connor – see Connor above
    * Kevin O’Higgins (1892–1927): FG TD Laois-Offaly 1918–1927 (nephew of Tim Healy)
    o his daughter Una O’Higgins O’Malley’s son Chris O’Malley (born 1959): FG MEP 1986–1988
    o his brother Thomas F. O’Higgins (died 1953): FG TD Dublin, Laois-Offaly, Cork 1929–1953
    + Thomas’s son Tom O’Higgins (1916–2003): FG TD Laois-Offaly, 1943–1973
    + Thomas’s son Michael O’Higgins (1917–2005): FG TD Dublin South West, Wicklow 1948–1969
    # Michael’s wife Brigid Hogan O’Higgins (born 1932): FG TD Galway 1957–1977
    * her father Patrick Hogan (1891–1936): FG TD Galway 1921–1936
    * Donogh O’Malley (1921–1968): FF TD Limerick East 1954–1968
    o his nephew Desmond O’Malley (born 1939): FF/PD TD Limerick East 1968–2002
    + Desmond’s daughter Fiona O’Malley (born 1968): PD TD Dún Laoghaire 2002–2007, Senator 2007–
    + Desmond’s cousin Patrick O’Malley (born 1943): PD TD Dublin West 1987–1989
    + Desmond’s first cousin Tim O’Malley (born 1944): PD TD Limerick East 2002–2007
    * Timothy O’Sullivan (1899–1971): FF TD Cork West 1937–1954, Senator 1957–1959
    o his niece[4] Peggy Farrell (1920–2003): FF Senator 1969–1973


    * James Pattison (1886–1963): Lab TD Carlow-Kilkenny 1933–1957
    o his son Séamus Pattison (born 1936): Lab TD Carlow-Kilkenny 1961–2007
    * Margaret Pearse (1857–1932): SF TD Dublin County 1921–1922 (mother of Patrick Pearse)
    o her daughter Margaret Mary Pearse (1878–1968): FF TD Dublin County 1932–1937, Senator 1938–1968.
    * Paddy Power (born 1928): FF TD Kildare 1969–1989
    o his son Seán Power (born 1960): FF TD Kildare/Kildare South 1989–


    * Ruairi Quinn (born 1946): Lab TD/Senator Dublin South East 1977–1981, 1982–
    o his first cousin Feargal Quinn (born 1936): Ind Senator 1993–


    * William Redmond (1886–1932): IPP/NLP/CnaG TD Waterford 1918–1932 (son of John Redmond)
    o his wife Bridget Redmond (1905–1952): CnaG TD Waterford 1932–1952
    * Patrick Reynolds (1887–1932): CnaG TD Leitrim-Sligo 1927–1932
    o his wife Mary Reynolds (1889–1974): FG TD Leitrim-Sligo 1932–1961
    + Their son Patrick J. Reynolds (1920–2003): FG TD Roscommon 1961–1969, Roscommon-Leitrim 1973–1977, Senator 1969–1973, 1977–1987 (Cathaoirleach 1983–1987)
    # Patrick J.’s son Gerry Reynolds (born 1961): FG TD Sligo-Leitrim 1989–1992 and 1997–2002, Senator 1987–1989 and 1993–1997
    * Eamon Rice (1873–1937): FF TD Monaghan 1932–1937
    o his wife Bridget Rice (1885–1967): FF TD Monaghan 1938–1954
    * James Ryan (1891–1970): SF TD 1918–1922, Republican TD 1923–1926, FF TD 1926–1965
    o his son Eoin Ryan, Snr (1920–2001): FF Senator 1957–1987
    + his grandson Eoin Ryan, Jnr (born 1953): FF Senator, MEP, TD Dublin South East 1992–2007
    o his brother-in-law Seán T. O’Kelly (1882–1966): SF & Republican TD 1918–1932, FF Minister 1932–1945, 2nd President 1945–1959
    o his brother-in-law Richard Mulcahy (1886–1971): SF, CnaG & FG TD, Minister and Senator 1918–1961
    * Martin Ryan (1900–1943): FF TD Tipperary 1933–1943
    o his wife Mary Ryan (1898–1981): FF TD Tipperary 1948–1961
    * Seán Ryan (born 1943): Lab TD Dublin North 1989–1997, 1998–2007
    o his brother Brendan Ryan: Lab Senator 2007–

    [edit] S

    * Dan Spring (1910–1988): Lab TD Kerry North 1943–1981
    o his son Dick Spring (born 1950): Lab TD Kerry North 1981–2002
    * Joe Sherlock (1935–2007): SFWP TD Cork East 1981–1982, WP TD 1987–1992, Lab TD 2002–2007, Seanad 1993–1997
    o his son Seán Sherlock (born 1972): Lab TD Cork East 2007–

    [edit] T

    * Frank Taylor (1914–1989): FG TD Clare 1969–1981
    o his daughter Madeleine Taylor-Quinn (born 1951): FG TD Clare 1981–1982, 1982–1992, FG Senator 1982, 1993–2002
    * Godfrey Timmins (1927–2001): FG TD Wicklow 1965–1997
    o his son Billy Timmins (born 1959): FG TD Wicklow 1997–


    * Pat Upton (1944–1999): Lab Senator 1989–1992, Lab TD Dublin South Central 1992–1999
    o his sister Mary Upton (born 1946): Lab TD Dublin South Central 1999–


    * John Wilson (1923–2007): FF TD Cavan 1973–1977, Cavan-Monaghan 1977–1992
    o his nephew Diarmuid Wilson (born 1965): FF Senator 2002–


    * William Butler Yeats (1865–1939): Ind Senator 1922–1928
    o his son Michael Yeats (1921–2007): FF Senator 1951–1977

    Secondly, to quote myself again, the degree of relationship could be determined by the potential for advancement that a relationship could confer. For example, a man would not be able to run in the same constituency as his brother, unless he was running for another party, if you get me. Its not the relationship itself thats the problem, its the abuse of the relationship.

    So there is nothing to stop your “special sibling” running for a different party, and nothing to stop your nephew in point 2 joining up in a different branch.

    There would be no reason to check that someone might have an unfair advantage unless they actually began to run for office, so there goes the DPA objection.

    Again, as already pointed out, the constitution already provides protection for various classes of profession, so protestions of “illegality” and “unconstitutionality” are fruitless wear and tear on keyboards. I would postulate that not only would the court of human rights support our process, it would in fact become a model for other nations to follow.

  • Ronan Burke says:

    And hands up anyone who thought that it was a good idea for Bush junior to follow in the footsteps of Bush senior.

  • Ronan Burke says:

    Fergal, just a thought, you might want to retract that “The policy pages have nothing controversial to say” statement above.


    Dig a bit deeper lads, theres plenty more.

  • Longman Oz says:

    Fergal, I find myself at odds with your remarks.

    I am not denying their validity. On the contrary, they clearly do. Yet, I think that you overstate your case in several ways.

    Firstly, if you follow the money, I think that the services sector will quickly disagree with your contention about many people being in denial. Rather, customers have tighened their belts in 2009 and the economy is tipped for another huge decline next year.

    Equally, your article ignores the many innovations and other ways to keep businesses going since the recession started, e.g. I know of a Dublin pub that now provides a bus service to drive patrons home at night for free. Other pubs have slashed their prices, offer live music, complimentary snacks, etc. You can find similar developments in shops, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, sports events, etc.

    In other words, there is no hand clapping here!

    Finally, I am not too sure what picking on a few dreamers with some harmless but grandiose aspirtaions is meant to achieve. Most of them are not even running commercial businesses with what they do. They’re just ideas forums like this one.

    In fact, what I ended up thinking was that you really just wanted to give those websites a bit of a shoeing, but dressed it up in the clothes of a state-of-the-nation-style argument when you did so. I know that you may not appreciate such a remark, but it was the only way that I could reconcile the quite general nature of your opening few paragraphs with the highly specific nature of the body of your article.

    Anyway, I don’t have a glass chin, so punch back on that by all means! 🙂

  • Fergal Crehan says:


    Thanks for your comments. The post above was written to illustrate a phenomenon which I think actually exists. I don’t argue that it is overwhelmingly the case, to the exclusion of all other attitudes. I don’t even argue that it is the dominant attitude. The examples you give of people adjusting to, rather than denying the new reality are real, and laudable. But there are plenty of people doing the opposite. Not everyone, but a significant amount. When I said that denial is “everywhere” I meant it can be seen all over the place, not that it is literally everywhwere, like God. Perhaps I was careless in my choice of words. Perhaps you are over-literal in your interpretation. Perhaps both. But its a straw man to suggest that I said every single person in the country was in denial, and then proclaim victory by pointing out some people who aren’t.

    What is the post meant to achieve? It’s a blog post. It is meant to achieve nothing at all. There is no grand plan here. I just expressed an opinion. I believe that is allowed.

    There is, in fact, plenty of hand clapping going on. The examples in the post are, indeed, the more easily mockable of those I have noticed, but far from the only ones. I wrote a post a while back (Here about the new tendancy amongst media figures to urge a putting aside of politics in favour of a vague notion of “pulling together”. That, to me is magical thinking, and it is coming, not from a few fringe cranks, but from people who would consider themselves prominent opinion-formers. Having written about the phenomenon before, I saw little reason to recapituate in this post.

    Were I writing the post again today, I would spend some time on NAMA. For the past week we’ve heard people saying that we must at all costs avoid a “Fire Sale” which would indicate to us the truth about property values. But by saying that, aren’t they admitting that they know the truth but are trying to deny it, conspiring, in fact, to maintain notional property values that are pure fiction? Clap, Clap, Clap…

  • Longman Oz says:

    Thks for the reply, even though I read it with a wry smile. In other words, I am to be charged with being too literal when understanding your point, then to interpret my point as merely drilling into philosophy of expressing opinions is to definitely join me in the dock!

    I know that you did not mean everyone, everywhere. That was abundantly clear from what you wrote!! However, I was taking issue in particular with this phrase:

    “…many of us, especially those who at first denied the recession was even happening, are acting like we can simply wish ourselves out of recession…”

    There will always be turn-that-frown-upside-down merchants out there, but they are a small minority to my mind. Not a scientific observation, but for every cheery we-can-do-it lunatic that accosts us, there is sure to be an end-of-the-world space cadet to be found on the next street corner. The rest of us just try to dodge our way past the lot of them.

    I am going to keep this next point shorter than a proper explanation of it requires, but many people are not in denial, they are just weary, anxious, and struggle to properly understand why everything has gone to pot. One could even say that it is what comes of having such a weak form of representative democracy! However, that is a personal bugbear and I will keep it out of this discussion!

    Before I go, I remember writing in early October 2008 about how the government were praying for a miracle to get them out of having to nationalise the banks. While the context has changed somewhat since then, the same hope for something to happen lives on 10 months later. Therefore, we do agree on that one to some extent or other! 😉

  • […] forums) and I am sensing a strong feeling of postive attitude which is far removed from “magical thinking” but is instead grounded on a very clear understanding of how poor quality information […]

  • Liam Ahern says:

    Ronan, Thanks for posting that.

  • john says:

    Very compelling article thanks. I wasn’t aware of the rethorics behind the ideaof the people as natural resources. I thought it was a popular saying whithout clear origin. Thanks for sharing

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