Séamus Brennan (//; 16 February 1948 – 9 July 2008) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician who served as Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism from 2007 to 2008, Minister for Social and Family Affairs from 2004 to 2007, Minister for Transport from 1989 to 1992 and 2002 to 2004, Government Chief Whip from 1997 to 2002, Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise and Employment from 1993 to 1994, Minister for Education from 1992 to 1993 and Minister of State at the Department of Industry and Commerce from 1987 to 1989. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin South constituency from 1981 to 2008. He also served as a Senator from 1977 to 1981, upon being Nominated by the Taoiseach.
|Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism|
14 June 2007 – 6 May 2008
|Preceded by||John O'Donoghue|
|Succeeded by||Martin Cullen|
|Minister for Social and Family Affairs|
29 September 2004 – 14 June 2007
|Preceded by||Mary Coughlan|
|Succeeded by||Martin Cullen|
|Minister for Transport|
6 June 2002 – 29 September 2004
|Preceded by||Mary O'Rourke|
|Succeeded by||Martin Cullen|
12 July 1989 – 11 February 1992
|Preceded by||John Wilson|
|Succeeded by||Máire Geoghegan-Quinn|
|Government Chief Whip|
26 June 1997 – 6 June 2002
|Preceded by||Jim Higgins|
|Succeeded by||Mary Hanafin|
|Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise and Employment|
14 January 1993 – 15 December 1994
|Preceded by||Michael Ahern|
|Succeeded by||Pat Rabbitte|
|Minister for Education|
11 February 1992 – 12 January 1993
|Preceded by||Noel Davern|
|Succeeded by||Niamh Bhreathnach|
|Minister of State at the Department of Industry and Commerce|
12 March 1987 – 12 July 1989
|Preceded by||New Office|
|Succeeded by||Terry Leyden|
June 1981 – 9 July 2008
27 June 1977 – 30 June 1981
|Constituency||Nominated by the Taoiseach|
|Born||16 February 1948|
Salthill, Galway, Ireland
|Died||9 July 2008 (aged 60)|
Churchtown, Dublin, Ireland
|Political party||Fianna Fáil|
|Spouse(s)||Ann Brennan (m. 1978; d. 2008)|
|Education||St. Joseph's Patrician College|
Brennan was born in Galway in 1948. He was educated at St. Joseph's Patrician College in Galway. He attended University College Galway, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in 1968 and a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) the following year. He attended University College Dublin too. He qualified as an accountant. Brennan found an interest in politics during his teens when he canvassed for Fianna Fáil during elections. In 1973, he succeeded Tommy Mullins as General Secretary of Fianna Fáil. He began to revamp the party structure; this included setting up a youth section and a national executive. He studied and was impressed by the 1976 United States presidential election. He applied new techniques such as marketing strategies and opinion polls to the 1977 general election. This resulted in the biggest-ever parliamentary majority for any party; Fianna Fáil and Jack Lynch were back in power with a 20-seat majority. Brennan was appointed to Seanad Éireann as a Senator.
In 1979, Brennan supported George Colley in the Fianna Fáil leadership contest caused by the retirement of Jack Lynch. However, Charles Haughey was narrowly elected as leader and a new Secretary General of the party was appointed. At the 1981 general election, Brennan was elected to Dáil Éireann for the Dublin South constituency and was returned at every subsequent election until his death in 2008. In the early 1980s, he was a prominent member of the Gang of 22 who tried unsuccessfully to wrest control of the Fianna Fáil party from Haughey. He supported Colley and later Desmond O'Malley in various leadership heaves during those years. It was widely expected that Brennan would join the Progressive Democrats when they were founded by O'Malley in 1985, but instead he remained within Fianna Fáil.
In 1987, Fianna Fáil party were returned to office and Brennan was appointed Minister of State with responsibility for Trade and Marketing. In 1989, he became a full cabinet Minister when he was appointed Minister for Tourism and Transport. In 1991, his brief was widened when the Communications portfolio came under his control. In 1992, Albert Reynolds succeeded Haughey as Taoiseach. Brennan was one of the few ministers in Haughey's Cabinet who remained in Reynolds' new government. He was appointed Minister for Education. In 1993, a Fianna Fáil–Labour Party coalition came to power and Brennan was demoted to Minister of State for Commerce and Technology. He remained in this position until 1994.
In 1995, Fianna Fáil were again in opposition, and the new party leader Bertie Ahern designated Brennan as Opposition Spokesperson for Transport, Energy and Communications. In 1997, Fianna Fáil returned to power and Brennan became Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach. He became the Minister for Transport in 2002.
In the cabinet reshuffle of September 2004, Brennan was moved to the post of Minister for Social and Family Affairs. He was bitterly disappointed but he refused to describe it as a demotion. After the 2007 general election, he played a key role in the negotiations with the Green Party which led to the formation of the new Government. He did not seek ministerial office in Brian Cowen's cabinet and tendered his resignation on 6 May 2008, for medical reasons.
Brennan died in the early hours of 9 July 2008 at his home in Churchtown in Dublin. He had been suffering from cancer. He is survived by his wife Ann, their two sons and four daughters. Taoiseach Brian Cowen said Brennan would be remembered as "a brilliant political strategist, a dedicated constituency TD, a reforming minister and a very popular colleague".
- "NUI Galway president pays tribute to the late Séamus Brennan". 9 July 2008. Archived from the original on 17 December 2016.
- "Safe pair of hands exercised quiet influence". The Irish Times. 9 July 2008.
- "Séamus Brennan". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
- "Séamus Brennan". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
- "Séamus Brennan resigns from Cabinet". The Irish Times. 6 May 2008.
- "Tributes paid to Séamus Brennan". RTÉ News. 9 July 2008.
- "Seamus Brennan Passes". irishcentral.com. 15 July 2008.
- "Tributes paid to 'brilliant strategist' Brennan". The Irish Times. 9 July 2008.
- "Parties select bye-election candidates". RTÉ News. 6 May 2009. Archived from the original on 9 May 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2009.