Saturday 21 October 2017

Niall O'Connor: 'Baby of the Dail' whose links to the old guard will live to haunt her

FROM the wilds of south west Donegal, Mary Coughlan began her political life as the 'baby of Dail Eireann'. She entered her first day in Leinster House at the age of 21 and was the youngest member elected to the 25th Dail that year.

The former minister, who suffered the heartache of burying her husband David Charlton (48) in 2012 after a five-month battle with lung cancer, followed in the footsteps of her father, Cathal, and uncle, Clement, when she was elected as TD for Donegal.

Like many others who won seats in the 1987 General Election, she had her sights set firmly on rising through the ranks – but what began as a promising career in Irish politics ended in a dramatic fall from grace.

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