Éamon Ó Cuív
Éamon Ó Cuív (Irish pronunciation: [ˈeːmˠənˠ oː ˈkiːvʲ]; born 23 June 1950) is an Irish Fianna Fáil politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Galway West constituency since the 1992 general election. He previously served as Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil from 2011 to 2012, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and Minister for Defence January 2011 to March 2011, Minister for Social Protection from 2010 to 2011, Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs from 2002 to 2010, Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands from 2001 to 2002 and Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development from 1997 to 2002. He served as a Senator for the Cultural and Educational Panel from 1989 to 1992.
Éamon Ó Cuív
|Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil|
4 August 2011 – 29 February 2012
|Preceded by||Brian Lenihan Jnr|
|Succeeded by||Dara Calleary (2018)|
|Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government|
23 January 2011 – 9 March 2011
|Preceded by||John Gormley|
|Succeeded by||Phil Hogan (Environment, Community and Local Government)|
|Minister for Defence|
20 January 2011 – 9 March 2011
|Preceded by||Tony Killeen|
|Succeeded by||Alan Shatter|
|Minister for Social Protection|
23 March 2010 – 9 March 2011
|Preceded by||Mary Hanafin (Social and Family Affairs)|
|Succeeded by||Joan Burton|
|Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs|
6 June 2002 – 23 March 2010
|Preceded by||Síle de Valera|
|Succeeded by||Pat Carey (Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs)|
|Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands|
19 February 2001 – 6 June 2002
|Preceded by||Noel Davern|
|Succeeded by||Office abolished|
|Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development|
8 July 1997 – 19 February 2001
|Preceded by||Donal Carey|
|Succeeded by||Mary Coughlan|
|Assumed office |
12 October 1989 – 25 November 1992
|Constituency||Cultural and Educational Panel|
|Born||23 June 1950|
Blackrock, Dublin, Ireland
|Political party||Fianna Fáil|
|Spouse(s)||Áine Ní Choincheannain (m. 1980)|
|Alma mater||University College Dublin|
He unsuccessfully contested the leadership of Fianna Fáil after the resignation of Brian Cowen, but lost to Micheál Martin. Martin appointed Ó Cuív Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil after Brian Lenihan Jnr's death. However, Ó Cuív ceased to be Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil on 29 February 2012, because of his opposition to his party's stance on the European Fiscal Compact.
Ó Cuív is the son of Brian Ó Cuív, professor of Celtic Studies at University College Dublin, and Emer de Valera, who was the last surviving daughter of Fianna Fáil founder and former President of Ireland, Éamon de Valera, when she died at the age of 93 in February 2012. He is a nephew of the former Teachta Dála (TD) Vivion de Valera and is a first cousin of the former Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands Minister Síle de Valera, and of Judge Aindrias Ó Caoimh.
He was born in Blackrock, Dublin and was educated at Oatlands College, Dublin and University College Dublin. Before entering politics, he was the manager of Gaeltacht Co-operative, a company involved in agricultural services including timber milling, tourism and cultural development.
Ó Cuív's family surname was changed from Ó Caoimh by his grandfather Shán Ó Cuív, a Cork journalist. In the early 20th century Shán changed the spelling of his surname to conform to a simplified spelling system of his own invention which he called An Leitriú Shimplí. The letter 'v' is extremely rare in Irish outside modern loanwords, not being one of the 18 letters of the Irish alphabet.
Ó Cuív first stood for election to Dáil Éireann at the 1987 general election in the Galway West constituency, where he was the last-placed of the four Fianna Fáil candidates, only two of whom were elected. He did better in the 1989 general election, substantially increasing his share of the first-preference votes, but was the only one of the three Fianna Fáil candidates not to be elected.
He was then elected to the 19th Seanad on the Cultural and Educational Panel. He served there until the 1992 general election, when he finally became a TD for Galway West. His vote had increased significantly and he was elected on the first count, coming a close second for Fianna Fáil behind the Labour Party's Michael D. Higgins. At the 1997 general election, he was again elected in second place on the first count, this time being narrowly behind his Fianna Fáil colleague Frank Fahey. At the 2002 general election he comfortably topped the poll, with over 20% of the first-preference votes. Ó Cuív again topped the poll in Galway West at the 2007 general election.
In 1994, Ó Cuív raised concern amongst some in Fianna Fáil when he suggested the possibility of a prospective conditional return to the Commonwealth of Nations as a gesture to Unionists in Northern Ireland. However, a straw poll of backbench Fianna Fáil TDs in 1998 showed that this had little support.
In 1997, (at the start of the 28th Dáil) he was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, serving under his cousin Síle de Valera, who was the senior Minister at the Department. Following the 2002 general election, he was appointed to the cabinet as Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
He publicly spoke of voting "No" in the first referendum on the Treaty of Nice. This public admission caused controversy as the government of which he was a member had negotiated the Treaty and called for a "Yes" vote.
Ó Cuív was at the centre of a controversy surrounding the official name of An Daingean / Dingle, a small Gaeltacht town in west County Kerry. The residents of the town held a plebiscite in November 2006, to determine which version of the town name should be used. Ó Cuív originally signalled that he was happy to abide by the locals' decision, but then said that the name could not legally be changed back to Dingle, following advice from the Attorney General of Ireland.
In 2007, Ó Cuív again called for Ireland to return to the Commonwealth as a full member state, in light of the restoration of devolution to Northern Ireland and the meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Belfast.
In July 2009, Ó Cuív used a government helicopter to open a playground, at the cost of €10,000. On 23 March 2010, following a cabinet reshuffle, he was appointed as Minister for Social Protection. After the resignation of Tony Killeen in January 2011, Ó Cuív was also appointed as Minister for Defence, and he was also appointed Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government after John Gormley's resignation days later. On 22 January 2011, after the resignation of Fianna Fáil leader Brian Cowen, Ó Cuív stated that he wished to be a candidate in the resulting election for the leadership of Fianna Fáil. He confirmed this on the TG4 News.
Ó Cuiv was the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources after Fianna Fáil were ousted from power at the 2011 general election. On 8 August 2011, party leader Micheál Martin, named Ó Cuiv as deputy leader of Fianna Fáil, replacing Brian Lenihan.
On 29 February 2012, Ó Cuív resigned as Fianna Fáil's deputy leader and Communications Spokesperson. He resigned from these positions due to dissatisfaction with his party's position on the Fiscal Compact Referendum. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin stated that Ó Cuív would face expulsion from the parliamentary party if he did not vote with the party on the Fiscal Compact in the Dáil. Coming just a week before their party conference, Ó Cuív's resignation caused a split down the middle of the Fianna Fáil party.
On 12 July 2012, Ó Cuív was reappointed to the Fianna Fáil front bench as Spokesperson on Agriculture and Food, and on Community Affairs. The post of deputy leader was not filled in the reshuffle. On 8 November 2018, Ó Cuív was sacked from the Fianna Fáil front bench for unveiling a candidate in a Northern Ireland election without the party’s permission. 
In 2018, he was one of 25 TDs to vote against the Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, which proposed to replace the protection of the life of the unborn inserted by the Eighth Amendment with a provision allowing the termination of pregnancy to be regulated by law. This amendment was approved in a referendum in May 2018 by 66.4%, including 65.9% in his constituency. Ó Cuív was one of 15 TDs to vote against the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill, which became law at the end of 2018.
- "Mr. Éamon Ó Cuív". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
- "Emer Í Chuív passes away aged 93". RTÉ News. 9 February 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
- "Profile". Éamon Ó Cuív's website. Archived from the original on 9 December 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
- "O Cuiv – the spelling of my name". Retrieved 19 July 2009.
- "Dáil Éireann – 19 May 2005 – Priority Questions – Irish Language". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
- "The spelling of Irish". Universität Duisburg-Essen. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
- "Éamon Ó Cuív". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
- Arthur Griffith, Brian Maye, Griffith College Publications, 1997, page 374
- FF TDs still wary of Commonwealth, Irish Independent, 30 November 1998
- "Ó Cuív quits as FF deputy leader over EU referendum". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- "More calls for Govt to rejoin Commonwealth". Ireland online news. 15 May 2007. Archived from the original on 12 January 2008.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
- O'Connor, Aidan (18 July 2009). "O Cuiv's chopper trip costs taxpayer €10,000". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
- "Election date set for 11 March". RTÉ News. 20 January 2011. Archived from the original on 21 January 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
- "Ó Cuív and Carey get vacant ministerial posts". Irish Examiner. 23 January 2011.
- "O Cuiv steps down as FF Deputy leader over EU treaty". Irish Independent. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- "O Cuiv quits as Fianna Fail deputy leader". BBC News. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- "Éamon Ó Cuív resigns as FF Deputy Leader". RTÉ News. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- "Donegal Fianna Fáil split as Ó Cuív resigns". Donegal Daily. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- "Fianna Fáil reshuffles frontbench". The Irish Times. 12 July 2012.
- "Éamon O Cuív sacked from Fianna Fáil front bench over Northern Ireland 'election unveiling'". The Irish Independent. 8 November 2018.
- "Dáil Éireann debate - Wednesday, 21 Mar 2018 - Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018: Fifth Stage". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
- "Dáil Éireann debate - Wednesday, 5 Dec 2018 - Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 12 January 2019.