24th Government of Ireland

The 24th Government of Ireland (15 December 1994 – 26 June 1997) was the 2nd Government of the 27th Dáil. Known as the Rainbow Coalition, it was a coalition of Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Democratic Left. The Labour Party had been part of the 23rd Government with Fianna Fáil, formed after the 1992 general election, but left in November 1994 following a number of scandals, particularly those which emerged from the Beef Tribunal and the alleged mishandling of the prosecution of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.[1] After Albert Reynolds was replaced as Fianna Fáil leader by Bertie Ahern, there was speculation that Labour would rejoin Fianna Fáil in government, but instead it formed a government with two parties which had been in opposition. By-election gains since 1992 meant the three parties had enough TDs between them for an overall majority. It is the only time to date that a new government was formed within the same Dáil term composed of different parties.

Government of the 27th Dáil
24th Government of Ireland
Date formed15 December 1994
Date dissolved26 June 1997
People and organisations
PresidentMary Robinson
TaoiseachJohn Bruton
TánaisteDick Spring
Total no. of ministers15
Member partiesFine Gael
Labour Party
Democratic Left
Status in legislatureCoalition
Opposition partyFianna Fáil
Opposition leaderBertie Ahern
History
Legislature term(s)27th Dáil
Predecessor23rd Government
Successor25th Government

The 24th Government lasted 924 days.

Nomination of TaoiseachEdit

Fianna Fáil leader Bertie Ahern was proposed by the outgoing Taoiseach Albert Reynolds for the nomination by the Dáil for the position of Taoiseach. This proposal was defeated by 67 votes to 94. Fine Gael leader John Bruton was then proposed for the nomination by the Dáil of the position of Taoiseach, and this motion was approved.[2] Bruton was then appointed as Taoiseach by President Mary Robinson.[3]

15 December 1994
Nomination of Taoiseach vote for John Bruton (FG)
[4]
Motion proposed by Nora Owen and seconded by Paddy Harte
Absolute majority: 84/166
Vote Parties Votes
 Y Yes Fine Gael (47), Labour Party (32), Democratic Left (6)
85 / 166
No Fianna Fáil (65), Progressive Democrats (9)
74 / 166
Absent or
Not voting
Independent (3), Ceann Comhairle (1), Fianna Fáil (1), Green Party (1),
Independent Fianna Fáil (1)
7 / 166

Members of the GovernmentEdit

After his appointment as Taoiseach by the president, John Bruton proposed the members of the government and they were approved by the Dáil.[3][5] They were appointed by the president on the same day.[6]

Office Name Term Party
Taoiseach John Bruton 1994–97 Fine Gael
Tánaiste Dick Spring 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Minister for Finance Ruairi Quinn 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Health Michael Noonan 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Equality and Law Reform Mervyn Taylor 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht Michael D. Higgins 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for the Environment Brendan Howlin 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Education Niamh Bhreathnach 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Justice Nora Owen 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Social Welfare Proinsias De Rossa 1994–97 Democratic Left
Minister for Tourism and Trade Enda Kenny 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Enterprise and Employment Richard Bruton 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Ivan Yates 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications Michael Lowry 1994–96 Fine Gael
Minister for Defence Hugh Coveney 1994–95 Fine Gael
Minister for the Marine

Changes 23 May 1995Edit

Hugh Coveney was demoted to a junior ministry in 1995 after allegations of improper contact with businessmen.[7][8]

Minister for Defence Seán Barrett 1995–97 Fine Gael
Minister for the Marine

Changes 30 November 1996Edit

Michael Lowry resigned following reports of improper payments from businessman Ben Dunne.

Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications John Bruton (acting) Fine Gael

Changes 3 December 1996Edit

Appointment to fill the vacancy.[9][10]

Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications Alan Dukes 1996–97 Fine Gael

Attorney GeneralEdit

Dermot Gleeson SC was appointed by the president as Attorney General on the nomination of the Taoiseach.[3][6]

Ministers of State attending cabinetEdit

Name Office Party
Government Chief Whip Seán Barrett Fine Gael
Minister of State at the Department of Defence
Minister of State to the Government Pat Rabbitte Democratic Left
Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise and Employment

Constitutional referendumsEdit

The Fifteenth Amendment was proposed by Minister for Equality and Law Reform Mervyn Taylor and approved in a referendum on 24 November 1995. It removed the prohibition on divorce, replacing it terms allowing a court to dissolve a marriage, including a requirement to have been separated for four of the previous five years. It was followed by Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996.

The Sixteenth Amendment was proposed by Minister for Justice Nora Owen and approved in a referendum on 28 November 1996. It allowed a court to refuse bail to someone convicted of a serious offence when reasonably considered necessary to prevent the commission of a serious offence by that person. It was followed by the Bail Act 1997.

DissolutionEdit

On 15 May 1997, the president dissolved the Dáil on the advice of the Taoiseach, and a general election was held on 6 June.[11] When the members of the 28th Dáil met on 26 June, Bertie Ahern was nominated and appointed as Taoiseach and formed a Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats coalition government.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Resignation of Taoiseach and Ministerial Changes: Statement – Dáil Éireann (27th Dáil) – Tuesday, 22 November 1994". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  2. ^ "Nomination of Taoiseach – Dáil Éireann (27th Dáil) – Thursday, 15 December 1994". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of the Government – Dáil Éireann (27th Dáil) – Thursday, 15 December 1994". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Nomination of Taoiseach – Votes – Dáil Éireann (27th Dáil) – Thursday, 15 December 1994". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Appointment of Taoiseach and Nomination of Members of the Government (Resumed) – Dáil Éireann (27th Dáil) – Thursday, 15 December 1994". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Appointment of Members of Government and Ministers of State – Dáil Éireann (27th Dáil) – Tuesday, 25 January 1995". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Nomination of Member of the Government: Motion – Dáil Éireann (27th Dáil) – Tuesday, 23 May 1995". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Appointment of Member of Government and Ministers of State – Dáil Éireann (27th Dáil) – Wednesday, 24 May 1995". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Nomination of Member of the Government: Motion – Dáil Éireann (27th Dáil) – Tuesday, 3 December 1996". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Appointment of Member of Government – Dáil Éireann (27th Dáil) – Wednesday, 4 December 1996". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Dissolution of Dáil – Dáil Éireann (27th Dáil) – Thursday, 15 May 1997". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 31 March 2020.

See alsoEdit