Minister for Posts and Telegraphs
The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Irish: Aire Poist agus Telegrafa) was the holder of a position in the Government of Ireland (and, earlier, in the Executive Council of the Irish Free State). From 1924 until 1984 – when it was abolished – the minister headed the Department of Posts and Telegraphs (also known as the P&T in English and P⁊T in Irish, and later stylised as P+T).
The office of Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was created by the Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924, which reorganised the Irish system of government. The minister assumed in the Irish Free State those functions which had formerly been exercised by the Postmaster General of the United Kingdom. Legislation in 1831 had amalgamated the earlier offices of Postmaster General of Great Britain and Postmasters General of Ireland, which became a jointly held role in the administration of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
The Ministers and Secretaries Act, 1924 defined the department's role:
The Department of Posts and Telegraphs which shall comprise the administration and business generally of public services in connection with posts, telegraphs, and telephones, and all powers, duties and functions connected with the same, and shall include in particular the business, powers, duties and functions of the branches and officers of the public services specified in the Eighth Part of the Schedule to this Act, and of which Department the head shall be, and shall be styled, an t-Aire Puist agus Telegrafa or (in English) the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs.— Ministers and Secretaries Act, Section (1), Part (ix)
The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was responsible for Ireland's postal and telecommunications services from 1924 to 1984. At its height the department was one of the largest civil service departments in Ireland. The reform of the sector and department began in 1978 with the creation of the Posts and Telegraphs Review Group. This led, following the delivery of a report in 1979, to the creation of the ad hoc Interim Board for Posts (An Bord Poist), chaired by Feargal Quinn, and the Interim Board for Telecommunications (An Bord Telecom), chaired by Michael Smurfit. These two boards continued to sit until An Post and Telecom Éireann, respectively, replaced them in 1984 as state-sponsored agencies.
The Department of Posts and Telegraphs ceased to exist in 1984, and its powers and responsibilities were transferred to the newly created Department of Communications. This was one of the largest reorganisations of the civil service in modern times, the old department having had a workforce of about 30,000 prior to dissolution. With the transfer of personnel to the new agencies, the number of civil service employees was almost halved overnight.
The Minister for Communications was created in 1983 to replace both the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and the Minister for Transport. In 1987, the transport functions of the department were moved to a new separate department of Tourism and Transport. In 1991 the minister's functions were passed to the renamed Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications and the department ceased to exist, but was not formally abolished. The functions which had initially been under the Minister for Communications are now under the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Alteration of name and transfer of functionsEdit
|2 June 1924||Establishment of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs.|
|2 January 1984||Establishment of the Department of Communications|
Abolition of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs and the Department of Transport
Transfer of functions to the Department of Communications.
|31 March 1987||Transfer of Shipping to the Department of the Marine.|
|31 March 1987||Transfer of Transport to the Department of Tourism and Transport.|
|8 February 1991||Transfer of functions to the Department of Tourism, Transport and Communications.|
List of office-holdersEdit
Postmaster General 1922–1924Edit
|No.||Name||Term of office||Party|
|1.||James J. Walsh||1 April 1922||2 June 1924||Cumann na nGaedheal|
Minister for Posts and Telegraphs 1924–1984Edit
|No.||Name||Term of office||Party|
|James J. Walsh||2 June 1924||12 October 1927||Cumann na nGaedheal|
|2.||Ernest Blythe||12 October 1927||9 March 1932||Cumann na nGaedheal|
|3.||Joseph Connolly||9 March 1932||8 February 1933||Fianna Fáil|
|4.||Gerald Boland||8 February 1933||11 November 1936||Fianna Fáil|
|5.||Oscar Traynor||11 November 1936||8 September 1939||Fianna Fáil|
|6.||Thomas Derrig||8 September 1939||27 September 1939||Fianna Fáil|
|7.||Patrick Little||27 September 1939||18 February 1948||Fianna Fáil|
|8.||James Everett||18 February 1948||13 June 1951||National Labour Party|
|9.||Erskine H. Childers (1st time)||13 June 1951||2 June 1954||Fianna Fáil|
|10.||Michael Keyes||2 June 1954||20 March 1957||Labour Party|
|11.||Neil Blaney||20 March 1957||4 December 1957||Fianna Fáil|
|12.||John Ormonde||4 December 1957||23 June 1959||Fianna Fáil|
|13.||Michael Hilliard||23 June 1959||21 April 1965||Fianna Fáil|
|14.||Joseph Brennan||21 April 1965||10 November 1966||Fianna Fáil|
|Erskine H. Childers (2nd time)||10 November 1966||2 July 1969||Fianna Fáil|
|15.||Patrick Lalor||2 July 1969||9 May 1970||Fianna Fáil|
|16.||Gerry Collins||9 May 1970||14 March 1973||Fianna Fáil|
|17.||Conor Cruise O'Brien||14 March 1973||5 July 1977||Labour Party|
|18.||Pádraig Faulkner||5 July 1977||11 December 1979||Fianna Fáil|
|19.||Albert Reynolds||12 December 1979||30 June 1981||Fianna Fáil|
|20.||Patrick Cooney||30 June 1981||9 March 1982||Fine Gael|
|21.||John Wilson||9 March 1982||14 December 1982||Fianna Fáil|
|22.||Jim Mitchell||14 December 1982||2 January 1984||Fine Gael|
Minister for Communications 1984–1991Edit
|1.||Jim Mitchell||2 January 1984||10 March 1987||Fine Gael|
|2.||John Wilson||10 March 1987||31 March 1987||Fianna Fáil|
|3.||Ray Burke||31 March 1987||6 February 1991||Fianna Fáil|
- "Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924 (Commencement) Order 1924". Irish Statute Book. 30 May 1924. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
- "Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1983: Section 1, Definitions". Irish Statute Book. 27 December 1983. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
- "Postal and Telecommunications Services Act 1983 (An Post) (Vesting Day) Order 1983". Irish Statute Book. 21 December 1983. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
- "Communications (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 1987". Irish Statute Book. 31 March 1987. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
- "Communications (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) (No. 2) Order 1987". Irish Statute Book. 31 March 1987. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
- "Communications (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 1991". Irish Statute Book. 6 February 1991. Retrieved 11 September 2019.