Friday 23 June 2017

Pat O'Malley, wife of PD founder, dies

Pat O'Malley and her husband Des O'Malley, with their daughter Fiona (centre)
Pat O'Malley and her husband Des O'Malley, with their daughter Fiona (centre)
John Downing

John Downing

Pat O'Malley, wife of the founder of the Progressive Democrats, Des, has died.

News of the death comes as the former Limerick politician, who clashed repeatedly with Charlie Haughey in the early 1980s, marked his 78th birthday.

Mrs O'Malley, originally from Co Tyrone, met her husband while the two were students at UCD. She was a lifelong support to him from the time of his first by-election win in May 1968 to replace his late uncle, Donogh, a popular education minister who brought in free second-level schooling.

But she took considerable convincing about the foundation of the Progressive Democrats and even threatened to publicly disrupt the launch in December 1985. She also went out of her way to warn potential activists that her husband was "difficult".

While people respected rather than liked Mr O'Malley, who can be very irascible, Mrs O'Malley was popular for her unfailing good humour and courtesy.

Irish Independent

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