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Brian John Hayes (born 23 August 1969) is a former Irish Fine Gael politician who served as Minister of State at the Department of Finance from 2011 to 2014, Leader of the Opposition in the Seanad and Leader of Fine Gael in the Seanad from 2002 to 2007. He served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Dublin constituency from 2014 to 2019. He was as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin South-West constituency from 1997 to 2002 and 2007 to 2014. He was also a Senator from 1995 to 1997, after being nominated by the Taoiseach and from 2002 to 2007 for the Cultural and Educational Panel.[1]

Brian Hayes
Minister Brian Hayes at Sneem River.JPG
Minister of State at the Department of Finance
In office
10 March 2011 – 23 May 2014
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byMartin Mansergh
Succeeded bySimon Harris
Leader of the Opposition in the Seanad
In office
21 July 2002 – 30 May 2007
LeaderEnda Kenny
Preceded byMaurice Manning
Succeeded byFrances Fitzgerald
Leader of Fine Gael in the Seanad
In office
21 July 2002 – 30 May 2007
LeaderEnda Kenny
Preceded byMaurice Manning
Succeeded byFrances Fitzgerald
Member of the European Parliament
In office
1 July 2014 – 24 May 2019
Teachta Dála
In office
May 2007 – May 2014
In office
June 1997 – May 2002
ConstituencyDublin South-West
In office
12 September 2002 – 20 May 2007
ConstituencyCultural and Educational Panel
In office
9 December 1995 – 19 June 1997
ConstituencyNominated by the Taoiseach
Personal details
Brian John Hayes

(1969-08-23) 23 August 1969 (age 49)
Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland
Political partyFine Gael
Spouse(s)Genievive Hayes (m. 2003)
EducationGarbally College
Alma mater


Early lifeEdit

Hayes was born in Dublin. He was educated at Garbally College, Ballinasloe, County Galway; St Patrick's College, Maynooth, from which he received a degree in history and sociology in 1991,[2] and Trinity College Dublin. Formerly a secondary school teacher, he was a member of South Dublin County Council between 1995 and 2003.

Political careerEdit

Before joining Fine Gael Hayes had been a member of Democratic Left, a party which he joined because of the hardline anti-Provisional IRA and anti-Irish Republican policies of its leader Proinsias de Rossa.[3] He subsequently joined Fine Gael for similar reasons, this time inspired by the anti-Sinn Féin stance of that party's then leader, John Bruton.[3] In December 1995, he was Nominated by the Taoiseach, John Bruton, to the 20th Seanad, where he was appointed government spokesperson on the Environment. Hayes was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1997 general election for the Dublin South-West constituency. He was appointed Fine Gael spokesperson on Housing, House Prices and Urban Renewal.

In a reshuffle of the Fine Gael front bench in June 2000, Hayes was promoted as spokesperson on Northern Ireland. Between 2001 and 2002 he served as Fine Gael's spokesperson on Social and Community Affairs. Hayes lost his seat at the 2002 general election but was elected to Seanad Éireann, where he served as Fine Gael Seanad leader and spokesperson on Defence and Northern Ireland.

At the 2007 general election he was re-elected to the Dáil on the first count in the Dublin South-West constituency.[4] He was party spokesperson for Education and Science from 2007 to 2010.

On 19 August 2008, Hayes used a report in the Irish Independent to say that immigrant children should be "segregated" until their English language skills match those of native children.[5] Hayes's comments generated considerable debate in the days that followed.[6][7] The Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) described the idea put forward by Hayes as "discriminatory, inequitable and deeply flawed".[5] He later said sorry and spoke of his regret but insisted this "should not take away from the substance of what I said".[8][9]

Ministerial career (2011–14)Edit

In June 2010, he supported Richard Bruton's leadership challenge to Enda Kenny. Following Kenny's victory in a motion of confidence, Hayes was not re-appointed to the front bench. In October 2010, he was appointed as party Deputy spokesperson on Finance with special responsibility for Public Expenditure. In March 2011, Brian Hayes was appointed by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny as Minister of State at the Department of Finance with responsibility for Public Service Reform and the Office of Public Works.

After sudden floods killed two people in October 2011, he claimed the response of local authorities was "not adequate".[10] In a newspaper article for the Sunday Independent in March 2012, one year after the Irish people voted to remove them from office, Hayes claimed Ireland still needed Fianna Fáil and questioned if their absence would be "in the interests of Irish democracy".[11]

Hayes publicly acknowledged that Ireland had suffered reputational damage following the death of Savita Halappanavar, the pregnant Indian woman who died after being denied an abortion at University Hospital Galway.[12]

European ParliamentEdit

He was elected as the Fine Gael candidate for the Dublin constituency at the 2014 European Parliament election.[13] Hayes is the lead negotiator for the European People's Party (EPP) on the plan for a Pan-European Pension Product (PEPP).[14] On 6 November 2018, Hayes announced that he was leaving politics and would not contest the European Parliament election in 2019.[15]


  1. ^ "Brian Hayes". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  2. ^ "NUIM Alumni Ball 2011". NUI Maynooth Alumni Office. 11 June 2011.
  3. ^ a b Exuberant Hayes tackles burning issue and gives thanks for the silent majority. The Irish Times. 18 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Brian Hayes". Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  5. ^ a b "FG calls for student segregation 'flawed'". RTÉ News. 19 August 2008.
  6. ^ "Fine Gael TD Brian Hayes caused uproar by calling for 'segregation' in schools". The Sunday Times. 24 August 2008.
  7. ^ "Anti-racism bodies react angrily to FG proposal". The Irish Examiner. Retrieved 20 August 2008.
  8. ^ "Hayes says sorry for his 'ridiculous' segregation jibe". Evening Herald. August 2008.
  9. ^ "Hayes regrets 'segregation' remark". The Irish Times. 21 August 2008.
  10. ^ "Brian Hayes wants lessons learned from floods". RTÉ News. 26 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Watch out, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin is now moving in for the kill". Sunday Independent. 4 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Savita Halappanavar – Irish embassy protest over death". BBC News. 16 November 2012.
  13. ^ "Dublin seat shaping up to be the one to watch in the European elections". The Irish Times. 1 February 2014.
  14. ^ Fiona Reddan (3 October 2017). "Pan European pensions on sale in Ireland by 2019". The Irish Times. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes leaving politics and will not contest next Euro election". RTÉ News. 6 November 2018.

External linksEdit