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Former Minister and PD Founder Des O'Malley dies aged 82

Jul 21, 2021 12:07 By Shannonside News
Former Minister and PD Founder Des O'Malley dies aged 82 Former Minister and PD Founder Des O'Malley dies aged 82
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He passed away aged 82 today

Former Minister and founder of the Progressive Democrats Des O'Malley has died aged 82.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has described Mr O'Malley as a "giant of Irish politics".

First elected as a TD in 1968 Des O'Malley was returned to the Dáil by the people of Limerick on eleven consecutive occasions spanning a 34-year political career.

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O'Malley was appointed Justice Minister in 1970 in the wake of the Arms Crisis that saw the sacking of one Charlie Haughey, and his tussles with Haughey down the years would define much of his career.

He took a hardline with the IRA as Justice Minister - introducing the juryless Special Criminal Court to tackle jury intimidation.

He spoke about being armed with a pistol in those years as Minister due to the threat from paramilitaries.

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O'Malley was on the losing side when Charlie Haughey won the Fianna Fáil leadership contest in December 1979 but the divisions of the Arms Crisis remained.

After numerous botched heaves and quarrels with Haughey, he quit cabinet in 1982, and was expelled from Fianna Fáil in 1984 for defying the party whip in a vote on contraceptive reform.

In 1985 Des O'Malley was a founder of the Progressive Democrats and just four years later returned to cabinet, making Haughey break the long held position that Fianna Fáil would never enter coalition.

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He stepped back from leadership of the PDs after that Government before leaving political life in 2002.

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