Malcolm Byrne (born 25 April 1974) is a former Irish Fianna Fáil politician.[2] He was elected as Teachta Dála (TD) for Wexford in a by-election in November 2019, only to lose his seat in the subsequent general election in February 2020.[3] He was a member of Wexford County Council from 2009 to 2019.[1][4]

Malcolm Byrne
Malcolm Byrne1.jpg
Teachta Dála
In office
November 2019 – February 2020
ConstituencyWexford
Wexford County Councillor
In office
24 June 2009 – November 2019
ConstituencyGorey
Personal details
Born (1974-04-25) 25 April 1974 (age 45)[1]
Gorey, County Wexford, Ireland
NationalityIrish
Political partyFianna Fáil
Alma materUniversity College Dublin

Early lifeEdit

Born in Gorey, Byrne is the eldest child from a family of five. He attended CBS Secondary and Loreto and CBS Primary Schools in Gorey, later studying law at University College Dublin.[5]

He was Head of Communications with the Higher Education Authority until 2019, and has been Vice-President of the National Youth Council of Ireland, the Union of Students in Ireland's former Education Officer and a former executive member of the European Students' Union. In 2014, he was named as one of the European 40 Under 40, in the European Young Leaders Programme.[4]

Political careerEdit

When first elected to Gorey Town Council at the first count in 1999, he was its youngest member at the age of 25.[1] He topped the poll again at the 2004 election.[1] He was first elected to Wexford County Council in 2009 for Gorey, and elected Chairman following his 2014 re-election.[6][7]

Byrne is openly gay. In January 2006, The Sun included his picture on the cover of its Irish edition beneath the headline "Bertie's FF Man in Gay Web Shame."[8] The "Gay Web Shame" alleged by the tabloid proved on closer examination to simply be a profile on the dating website Gaydar.[8] Byrne responded at the time: "I have not, nor have I ever, done anything illegal and I am not a hypocrite in any way. My views on gay rights issues are well known. I am not married with four children or anything like that, so there is no suggestion of hypocrisy."[1] His family and political career suffered as a result and he was not selected for candidacy in the 2007 general election following this incident.[8]

He was chosen to run for Fianna Fáil in the 2016 general election in the Wexford constituency, although he failed to win a seat.[6]

He contested the 2019 European Parliament election for Fianna Fail in the South constituency[9] but was eliminated on the 16th Count.

Byrne was elected as a TD at the 2019 Wexford by-election. His maiden speech was about housing solutions and the need to address the challenges facing GenerationRent. In an interview he said he could envisage a United Ireland where the 12th of July and Saint Patrick's Day were public holidays and spoke about how Ireland needs to ensure Unionists feel at home in a new agreed state and that may mean addressing issues such as Ireland joining the Commonwealth.[10]

Byrne lost his seat at the next general election, on 8 February 2020,[11] following what he called "a dirty campaign".[12] His defeat after only 71 days made him the TD with the second-shortest term of service, after the Anti-H-Block TD Kieran Doherty, who died on hunger strike in August 1981 only 52 days after his election.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Cruel smear campaign by rivals won't beat me says gay FF councillor". Sunday Independent. 29 January 2006.
  2. ^ "Malcolm Byrne". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Three out of four seats filled in by-elections". RTÉ News. 30 November 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Byrne wins place in Euro 'top 40'". Gorey Guardian. 28 January 2014.
  5. ^ "Personal details". Fiannafail.ie. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Malcolm Byrne". ElectionsIreland.org.
  7. ^ "Gorey's Malcolm Byrne is new chairman of Wexford Co. Council". Wexford Echo. 10 June 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "Out of touch". Irish Independent. 14 April 2007.
  9. ^ "Billy Kelleher suffers shock loss in bid to become MEP candidate". Irish Examiner. 16 March 2019.
  10. ^ "FF TD: United Ireland could celebrate The Twelfth and rejoin Commonwealth". Independent.ie. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  11. ^ "General Election 2020 Live results: Wexford". RTÉ. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  12. ^ Gallagher, Conor (10 February 2020). "Wexford results: Verona Murphy elected on 11th count". Irish Times. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Labour hits rock bottom and the second-shortest serving TD ever: 6 election records made this year". The Journal. 11 February 2020. Retrieved 12 February 2020.

External linksEdit

Oireachtas
Preceded by
Mick Wallace
Paul Kehoe
Brendan Howlin
Michael W. D'Arcy
James Browne
Teachta Dála for Wexford
2019–2020
With: Paul Kehoe
Brendan Howlin
Michael W. D'Arcy
James Browne
Succeeded by
Johnny Mythen
Brendan Howlin
Verona Murphy
James Browne
Paul Kehoe