Saturday 24 March 2018

40 years on, three 'talents' remain

Richie Ryan
Richie Ryan
Tom O'Donnell
Pat Cooney

There are three surviving members of that "cabinet of all the talents" led by Liam Cosgrave in the years 1973-77.

They are former Gaeltacht minister Tom O'Donnell, now aged 91; finance minister Richie Ryan, aged 87; and former justice minister Pat Cooney, aged 86. All three were Fine Gael minsters and Cosgrave loyalists who never got preferment under his successor and arch-rival Dr Garret FitzGerald. All were formidable characters in their own right and later were successful MEPs.

Mr O'Donnell successfully relearnt Irish for the job and impressed by expanding it into a regional affairs portfolio. Mr Ryan drove several hardline budgets to help the economy cope with an international upheaval driven by the oil crisis.

Mr Cooney took a series of draconian actions to cope with the continuing threat of paramilitary violence as the Troubles in the North worsened and threatened to spill into the Republic.

Irish Independent

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