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Friday 28 October 2016

In Profile: ex-Fianna Fáil Minister Pat Carey

Niall O’Connor, Political Correspondent

Published 12/11/2015 | 21:16

During the dying, chaotic days of the Fianna Fail government, Pat Carey found himself holding multiple ministerial briefs.

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A party stalwart and loyalist to former Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Mr Carey was known in political circles as the “minister for everything”.

At one stage, the 65-year-old was juggling both the Transport and Communications portfolios, as well as his own brief of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Born in Castlemaine in Co Kerry, Mr Carey studied teaching in St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra before going on to teach in Dublin. He served as Vice principal in St Finian’s school in Finglas.

Mr Carey also worked as a community worker before being elected to the Dáil in 1997 on his third attempt.

Mr Carey built up an impeccable record as a TD, having served the Dublin North-West constituency for over 14 years.

But like many of his Fianna Fail colleagues, Mr Carey lost his seat during the party’s disastrous 2011 General Election.

Prior to his election defeat, Mr Carey took part in an infamous television interview on RTE’s ‘Primetime’ during which he was lambasted by the Labour Party’s Pat Rabbitte.

“You should be ashamed to show your face in the studio after what you have brought our country to penury, and the damage that you have done to people’s livelihoods,” Mr Rabbitte told the then minister.

Despite leaving politics, Mr Carey took up a position with a communications firm. But he remained active in Fianna Fail and regularly met colleagues in Leinster House.

But it was the Marriage Equality referendum that prompted Mr Carey’s return to the public arena.

During the middle of the campaign, he was widely praised for his decision to come out as a gay man.

Mr Carey,  who has been in a relationship for a number of years with another man, said it took him over 65 years to “pluck up the courage and confidence” to speak about his sexuality.

The former schoolteacher took centre stage on behalf of the party during the campaign and spoke movingly about his own experience at several public events.

A decision was then taken to appoint Mr Carey as the Fianna Fáil Director of Elections for the upcoming General Election.

His appointment was announced by Micheal Martin at the Fianna Fáil President Dinner in Dublin last month.

“Pat is a man widely admired for his great work as a Minister and a Deputy,” Mr Martin said.

“His commitment to the republican ideals on which our party was founded has always driven him forward in a career of great service.  He is known and respected throughout our organisation.  With him leading the team I know we will fight a campaign which draws on the strength of all of our members and is focused on our vision of an Ireland for all.”

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