Monday 23 September 2019

Pat Carey Profile: A Cowen loyalist who ended up becoming the 'minister for everything'

Pat Carey has stepped down from his position as director elections for Fianna Fail
Pat Carey has stepped down from his position as director elections for Fianna Fail

Niall O'Connor

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

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

At one stage, the 68-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, 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 at St Finian's school in Finglas.

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

He built up an impeccable record as a TD, having served the Dublin North-West constituency for more than 14 years.

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

Prior to that defeat, Mr Carey took part in an infamous television interview on RTÉ's 'Primetime' during which he was lambasted by Labour's Pat Rabbitte.

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

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 gay.

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

He took centre stage on behalf of the party during the campaign and spoke movingly about his own experience during 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 Micheál Martin last month.

Irish Independent

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