Frank Cluskey

Frank Cluskey

Frank Cluskey ( _ga. Proinsias Mac Bhloscaidh; 1 April 1930 – 7 April 1989) was an Irish politician and a former leader of the Irish Labour Party. [cite web |url=http://www.oireachtas.ie/members-hist/default.asp?housetype=0&HouseNum=25&MemberID=184&ConstID=91 |title=Mr. Frank Cluskey |work=Oireachtas Members Database |accessdate=2008-02-11]

Frank Cluskey was born on 1 April 1930 in Dublin. He worked as a butcher and then joined the Labour Party. He quickly became a branch secretary in the Workers' Union of Ireland. In the 1965 general election he was elected TD for the Dublin South Central constituency. In 1968 he was elected Lord Mayor of Dublin. In 1973 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Welfare, Brendan Corish. He introduced sweeping reforms to the area while he held that position. He played a leading role in initiating the EU Poverty Programmes.

The Fine GaelLabour Party coalition was defeated in the 1977 general election resulting in the resignation of Brendan Corish as Labour Party leader. Cluskey was elected the new leader of the Labour Party. In 1981, the Labour Party entered into a coalition government with Fine Gael. However Cluskey had lost his seat in Dáil Éireann in the 1981 general election and with it the party leadership. He was appointed on 1 July 1981 as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Dublin, replacing Michael O'Leary, who had resigned the seat after succeeding Cluskey as Labour leader.

The coalition government fell in January 1981 over a budget dispute, and Cluskey was re-elected to the Dáil at the February 1982 general election. [cite web |url=http://www.electionsireland.org/candidate.cfm?ID=2660 |title=Frank Cluskey |work=ElectionsIreland.org |accessdate=2008-02-11] When the coalition returned to office after the November 1982 election, Cluskey was appointed as Minister for Trade Commerce & Tourism. He then resigned from the European Parliament, to be replaced by Brendan Halligan.

On 8 December 1983 he resigned as Minister due to a fundamental disagreement over government policy about the Dublin Gas Company. He retained his Dáil seat in the 1987 general election. As an understated politician he was extremely able and highly regarded across the political spectrum, his grass roots origins standing him in good stead throughout his career.

Following his re-election his health deteriorated. He died on 7 May 1989 after a long battle with cancer.

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