Bartholomew O'Keeffe (born 2 April 1945) is a former Irish Fianna Fáil politician who served as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation from 2010 to 2011, Minister for Education and Science from 2008 to 2010, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal from 2007 to 2008 and Minister of State for Environmental Protection from 2004 to 2007. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1987 to 1989 and from 1992 to 2011. He was a Senator for the Labour Panel from 1989 to 1992.
|Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation|
23 March 2010 – 20 January 2011
|Preceded by||Mary Coughlan|
|Succeeded by||Mary Hanafin|
|Minister for Education and Science|
7 May 2008 – 23 March 2010
|Preceded by||Mary Coughlan|
|Succeeded by||Mary Hanafin|
|Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal|
20 June 2007 – 6 May 2008
|Preceded by||Noel Ahern|
|Succeeded by||Michael Finneran|
|Minister of State for Environmental Protection|
29 September 2004 – 19 June 2007
|Preceded by||Pat "the Cope" Gallagher|
|Succeeded by||Office Abolished|
May 2007 – February 2011
November 1992 – May 2007
February 1987 – June 1989
12 October 1989 – 25 November 1992
2 April 1945
Cullen, County Cork, Ireland
|Political party||Fianna Fáil|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Murphy (m. 1982)|
|Education||St. Brendan's College, Killarney|
|Alma mater||University College Cork|
Early life and educationEdit
O'Keeffe was born in Cullen, County Cork. He was educated at St. Brendan's College, Killarney and at University College Cork, where he received a Bachelor of Arts. O'Keeffe worked as a lecturer in the Cork Institute of Technology before becoming involved in politics. He also had a sporting career, being the holder of three Munster football Gaelic Athletic Association medals with Cork GAA at Under 21, Junior and Senior level. He was also a Cork Intermediate Handball Champion. In 1985 he was elected to Cork County Council. He was formerly chairman of the Southern Health Board. He is married to Mary Murphy; they have three daughters and one son.
At the 1987 general election O'Keeffe was first elected to Dáil Éireann for the Cork South-Central constituency. He lost his seat to Micheál Martin at the 1989 general election, but he was subsequently elected to Seanad Éireann for the Labour Panel where he was spokesperson on Finance. At the 1992 general election O'Keeffe was re-elected to the Dáil and was re-elected at each subsequent election until his retirement in 2011. Between 1995 and 1997 O'Keeffe was Opposition Spokesperson on Transport and Communications. He has also served on a number of committees including the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, the Public Accounts Committee and the Sustainable Development Committee. In Bertie Ahern's Cabinet reshuffle of 2004 O'Keeffe was appointed as Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government with special responsibility for Environmental Protection.
In 2006, O'Keeffe was selected unopposed to contest the 2007 general election in the re-drawn Cork North-West constituency, along with Michael Moynihan and Donal Moynihan. O'Keeffe was elected, although his party colleague Donal Moynihan lost his seat. In 2007, O'Keeffe was appointed as Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government with special responsibility for Housing and Urban Renewal. When Brian Cowen became Taoiseach in 2008, O'Keeffe was appointed as Minister for Education and Science. In his role as Minister for Education in 2010 he decided to dissolve the National University of Ireland, a move that was later reversed in 2011 by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition.
On 14 October 2008, as part of Budget 2009, O'Keeffe announced cutbacks and the imposition of increased charges to pay for the running of the Department of Education and Science throughout 2009, including the increase of the primary school teacher:pupil ratio 1:27 to 1:28 and the increase of the post-primary school teacher:pupil ratio from 1:18 to 1:19, although the capital allocation of €889m was increased by €80m.
On 29 October 2008, approximately 12,000 teachers and parents demonstrated against the education cuts announced in Budget 2009. The rally outside Leinster House coincided with a Dáil debate on a Labour Party motion calling for the increase in class sizes to be reversed. INTO General Secretary John Carr described the budget as an act of educational sabotage. Ferdia Kelly, representing most second-level school managers, said school principals and deputy principals "are saying loudly and clearly that they are not available to supervise classes where teachers are absent. Failure to act now on this proposal will lead to an unwelcome disruption of school life in January." The cutbacks removed substitution cover for uncertified sick leave, and for teachers on school business at second level, from 7 January 2009.
The education cutbacks were supported in the Dáil on 30 October 2008 by Fianna Fáil and the Green Party. O'Keeffe accused the opposition parties of whipping up "hysteria" and said they were being dishonest with the Irish people.
The minority Protestant population in the Republic was outraged by cuts announced by the Minister for Education to grants previously available to the 21 Protestant denomination secondary schools. This breached a forty-year-old agreement that had been made when free secondary education was introduced by the then Minister for Education Donogh O'Malley. It was claimed that the cuts would disproportionately affect Protestant schools. Protestant parents claimed that they would have to accept fewer teachers per child, and that their schools would not be funded to employ non-academic staff in the way that their Roman Catholic neighbours are.
Proposed re-introduction of third-level feesEdit
On 11 August 2008, O'Keeffe proposed the re-introduction of third-level fees which had been abolished in Ireland since 1995. While originally indicating that high earners would be hit, it was later announced that this scheme would raise far short of the €500 million in the original report compiled by UCC economist, Dr. Noel Woods. O'Keeffe stated that he wanted to increase third-level participation, and claimed that the "free fees" scheme had not accomplished this. After putting forward a range of options to the cabinet in July 2009, O'Keeffe set a deadline of 15 September 2009 for his colleagues to decide on the issue. The range of options was then discussed in a new programme for government. It was later announced in the new programme for government, brokered by both Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, that third-level fees would not be introduced in the lifetime of the government, although O'Keeffe had stated his support for their introduction and had stated that existing registration fees, commonly described as "fees by another name", faced an increase. His stance on fees was supported by former education ministers Noel Dempsey and Mary Hanafin.
Resignation and retirementEdit
- "Mr. Batt O'Keeffe". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
- "Batt O'Keeffe". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
- "National University of Ireland body dissolved". RTÉ News. 20 January 2010.
- "Education". Department of Education and Science. Retrieved 30 October 2008.
- "Main Estimate Features of Budget 2009 for Department of Education and Science". Department of Education and Science. Retrieved 30 October 2008.
- "12,000 protest over education cuts". RTÉ News. 29 October 2008. Archived from the original on 1 November 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2008.
- "Managers warn of major disruption in schools next year". The Irish Times. 30 October 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2008.
- "Govt defeats Labour motion on education cutbacks". Breakingnews.ie. 30 October 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2008.
- "Government wins key Dáil vote on education cutbacks". The Irish Times. 30 October 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2008.
- "Protestants outraged over schools budget 'discrimination'". Irish Independent. 2 September 2009.
- "Cuts pose a real threat to future of Protestant schools". The Irish Times. 10 October 2009.
- Brennan, Michael; Walshe, John (12 August 2008). "Storm of protest as O'Keeffe hints at return of college fees". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
- "O'Keeffe personally backs the return of college fees". The Irish Times. 10 September 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
- "Third-level fees for wealthy would raise €500m, O'Keeffe report claims". The Irish Times. 16 September 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
- "O'Keeffe never received inaccurate fee report". Sunday Tribune. 22 March 2009. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
- "Fine Gael compares O'Keeffe to 'Grandpa Simpson'". The Irish Times. 8 November 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
- "Economist of flawed fees report is friend of minister". Sunday Tribune. 21 September 2008. Archived from the original on 28 September 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
- Obrien, Stephen (14 February 2009). "Students warned they'll have to pay for college". The Times. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
- "Ministers given deadline for views on third-level fees". Eircom.net news. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009.[permanent dead link]
- "Key promises in revised Programme for Government revealed". Irish Examiner. 10 October 2009.
- "O'Keeffe remains in favour of third-level college fees". The Irish Times. 10 October 2009.
- Riegel, Ralph; Walshe, John (29 October 2009). "College chiefs warn registration fees must rise". Irish Independent.
- "O'Keeffe refuses to rule out fees". The Irish Times. 10 October 2009.
- Walshe, John; Riegel, Ralph (13 October 2009). "Registration for third level costs more than most EU tuition fees". Irish Independent.
- "Cowen appeals for pre-Budget support". RTÉ News. 19 October 2009.
- "Greens 'still oppose' return of college fees". Irish Independent. 11 February 2009. Archived from the original on 3 September 2012.
- "Election date set for 11 March". RTÉ News. 20 January 2011. Archived from the original on 21 January 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
| Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Cork South-Central
| Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Cork South-Central
| Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Cork North-West
Pat "the Cope" Gallagher
| Minister of State for Environmental Protection
| Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal
| Minister for Education and Science
as Minister for Education and Skills
as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment
| Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation