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Former Fine Gael firebrand and thorn in leader's side passes away

FORMER Fine Gael TD Alice Glenn, best known as a firebrand conservative in the 1980s, passed away at the weekend.

Ms Glenn died at a nursing home in south County Dublin following a long illness. She passed away the day before she would have turned 84.

Ms Glenn became an iconic figure during the 1980s as she was a thorn in then Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald's side.

As her party leader embarked on his constitutional crusade and liberal agenda, the conservative TD opposed the abortion and divorce referenda and contraception legislation. She defied the party to vote against the government on the wording for an abortion referendum.

She was a recognisable public figure in her distinctive suits and hats and delivered colourful soundbites.

Her most celebrated quote was on the divorce referendum in 1986, when she said: "You must agree -- a woman voting for divorce is like a turkey voting for Christmas."

The housewife from Glasnevin was married to Brigadier-General William Glenn, the General Officer Commanding of the Air Corps.

She was a member of the Pro-Life Movement and the Irish Housewives' Association.

She died on Friday morning and arrangements for her funeral were finalised last night.

Mrs Glenn was a resident of Our Lady's Manor Nursing Home at Bulloch Castle, in Dalkey, Co Dublin, for the past six years and a staff member said she was a great woman who would be sadly missed at the home.

She is survived by her two sons, Gary and Liam.

Her funeral will take place on Wednesday morning at 10.30am at St Columba's Church on Iona Road in Glasnevin, with burial afterwards in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Mrs Glenn spent two terms in Dail Eireann as a Fine Gael TD. After two unsuccessful attempts to be elected in 1973 and 1977, she took the final seat in Dublin Central in the 1981 general election -- a constituency she shared with Fianna Fail's Bertie Ahern and George Colley, Labour Party leader Michael O'Leary and Fine Gael's Michael Keating.

She lost her seat in the February 1982 election, but won it back in November 1982. Before the 1987 General Election she was actually deselected by Fine Gael. She contested the election as an Independent but fared poorly and lost her seat.

She was a member of Dublin City Council from 1974 to 1991 and the first female member of the Dublin Port and Docks Board in 270 years.

Irish Independent