Monday 14 October 2019

Tributes paid to former minister and 'Gang of Five' member

Jackie Fahey won his first election when he was only 21
Jackie Fahey won his first election when he was only 21
Jackie Fahey FF
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Tributes have been paid to former Fianna Fáil junior minister Jackie Fahey who has died aged 91.

Mr Fahey's career, which included national and local politics, spanned almost 50 years.

He was first elected to Waterford County Council aged just 21 and served as a councillor for 45 years altogether.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin led tributes to Mr Fahey, who hailed from Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

"Jackie lived a life of public service and represented the people of his constituency at both a local and national level. He served with great commitment and diligence through many turbulent times," Mr Martin said.

"Jackie spent a total of 45 years on Waterford County Council having been first elected to it at the age of 21, and this record alone is testament to the work he undertook across the community, and the respect in which he was held by the people."

The former TD - who served in both Tipperary South and later in Waterford - was one of the famous 'Gang of Five' who lobbied to have Charles Haughey take the helm of the Fianna Fáil party.

Mr Fahey was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1965 in Tipperary.

He then took a significant gamble in 1977 by switching constituencies after a boundary change and ran in Waterford. He kept his seat with more than 7,000 first preference votes in that election, which was a landslide for the party nationally.

However, by 1979 the mood in the party had shifted against leader Jack Lynch and Mr Fahey was one of five influential rural TDs known as the 'Gang of Five' who began to campaign for Mr Haughey to take over in the event of Mr Lynch's retirement.

In December 1979, Mr Haughey won a leadership contest in the party and became Taoiseach.

Mr Fahey was promoted to Minister of State in the Department of the Environment where he served until 1981.

Irish Independent

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