World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Brendan Howlin

Article Id: WHEBN0000563173
Reproduction Date:

Title: Brendan Howlin  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ruairi Quinn, Labour Party (Ireland), Dick Spring, Michael D. Higgins, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform
Collection: 1956 Births, Alumni of St Patrick's College, Dublin, Irish Schoolteachers, Labour Party (Ireland) Politicians, Labour Party (Ireland) Tds, Living People, Local Councillors in County Wexford, Members of the 17Th Seanad, Members of the 25Th Dáil, Members of the 26Th Dáil, Members of the 27Th Dáil, Members of the 28Th Dáil, Members of the 29Th Dáil, Members of the 30Th Dáil, Members of the 31St Dáil, Ministers for Health (Ireland), Ministers for the Environment (Ireland), Teachtaí Dála
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Brendan Howlin

Brendan Howlin
Minister for
Public Expenditure and Reform
Assumed office
9 March 2011
Preceded by New office
Leas-Cheann Comhairle
of Dáil Éireann
In office
26 June 2007 – 9 March 2011
Preceded by Séamus Pattison
Succeeded by Michael Kitt
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
In office
13 November 1997 – 25 October 2002
Preceded by Ruairi Quinn
Succeeded by Liz McManus
Minister for the Environment
In office
14 December 1994 – 26 June 1997
Preceded by Michael Smith
Succeeded by Noel Dempsey
Minister for Health
In office
12 January 1993 – 17 November 1994
Preceded by John O'Connell
Succeeded by Michael Woods
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 1987
Constituency Wexford
In office
February 1983 – February 1987
Constituency Nominated by the Taoiseach
Personal details
Born (1956-05-09) 9 May 1956
Wexford, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Labour Party
Alma mater St Patrick's College, Dublin
Occupation Primary school teacher
Website .ie.brendanhowlinwww

Brendan Howlin (born 9 May 1956) is an Irish Labour Party politician who has served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for Wexford since 1987. He is the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform since March 2011, having previously served as Leas-Cheann Comhairle, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Health.[1][2]


  • Early and private life 1
  • Political career 2
    • Beginnings 2.1
    • Cabinet minister (1993–97) 2.2
    • Leadership contender 2.3
    • Cabinet minister (2011–present) 2.4
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Early and private life

Born into a highly political family in Wexford, Howlin is the son of John and Molly Howlin (née Dunbar), and named after Brendan Corish, the local Labour TD. Howlin's father was a trade union official who served as secretary of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union in Wexford for 40 years. He also secured election as a Labour member of Wexford Corporation, where he served for eighteen years, and was also election agent to Brendan Corish. Howlin's mother was also strongly involved in local Labour politics.[3]

Howlin grew up in Wexford town and was educated locally at Wexford Irish National Teachers' Organisation, before embarking on a career in full-time politics.

Howlin is a single man. He has spoken publicly of receiving hate mail relating to his private life and questioning his sexual orientation.[4] In an interview with The Star during the 2002 Labour Party leadership contest, in response to repeated speculation, he announced he was "not gay". However, continuing speculation over his sexual orientation was said by the media to have cost Howlin votes in the 1997 Labour Party leadership contest.[5]

Political career


Howlin contested his first national election at the November 1982 general election. He ran as a Labour candidate in the Wexford constituency and, in spite of the existence of a large left-wing vote in the area, Howlin was not elected.[6] In spite of this setback, a Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition government came to power and he was nominated by the Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald to serve in Seanad Éireann.[1]

Howlin secured election to Wexford County Council in 1985 and served as Mayor of Wexford in 1986.

In 1987 the Labour Party withdrew from the coalition government and a general election was called. Howlin once again contested a seat in Wexford and was successful in securing election to Dáil Éireann.[6] Labour were out of office as a Fianna Fáil government took office. In spite of his recent entry to the Dáil, Howlin was subsequently named Chief Whip of the Labour Party, a position he held until 1993.

Cabinet minister (1993–97)

The 1992 general election resulted in a hung Dáil once again; however, the Labour Party enjoyed their best result to date. After negotiations, a Fianna Fáil-Labour Party coalition government was the outcome. Howlin joined the cabinet of Albert Reynolds, taking over as Minister for Health. During his tenure the development of a four-year health strategy, the identifying of HIV/AIDS prevention as a priority and the securing of a £35 million investment in childcare were advanced. Howlin, however, was also targeted by anti-abortion groups after introducing an act which would allow information regarding abortion.

In 1994 the Labour Party withdrew from government after a disagreement over the appointment of Harry Whelehan as Attorney-General. No general election was called and, while it was hoped that the coalition could be revived under new Fianna Fáil leader Bertie Ahern, the arithmetic of the Dáil now allowed the Labour Party to open discussions with the opposition parties. After negotiations a Rainbow Coalition came to power involving Fine Gael, Labour and Democratic Left. Howlin returned to John Bruton's cabinet, this time as Minister for the Environment.

Leadership contender

Following the 1997 general election a Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats coalition government came to power and the Labour Party returned to the opposition benches. In the announcement of the party's new front bench, Howlin retained responsibility for the Environment.

In late 1997 Dick Spring resigned as leader of the Labour Party and Howlin immediately threw his hat into the ring in the subsequent leadership election. In a choice between Howlin and Ruairi Quinn, the former gained some early support, however, the leadership eventually went to Quinn by a significant majority. As a show of unity Howlin was later named deputy leader of the party and retained his brief as spokesperson on the Environment and Local Government.

In 2002, following Quinn's resignation as party leader after Labour's relatively unsuccessful 2002 general election campaign, Howlin again stood for the party leadership.[7] For the second time in five years Howlin was defeated for the leadership of the party, this time by Pat Rabbitte, who was formerly a leading figure in Democratic Left.[8] Howlin was succeeded as deputy leader by Liz McManus.

While having been publicly supportive of Rabbitte's leadership, he was perceived as being the leader of the wing of the party which was sceptical of Rabbitte's policy with regard to future coalition with Fianna Fáil. Rabbitte explicitly ruled out any future coalition with Fianna Fáil, instead forming a formal alliance with Fine Gael in the run-up to the 2007 general election (the so-called Mullingar Accord).

On 26 June 2007, he was appointed the Leas-Cheann Comhairle (Deputy chairman) of Dáil Éireann.[1]

Cabinet minister (2011–present)

After the 2011 general election he was appointed to the new office of Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. In May 2011 he said that over the next 20 years the number of people in Ireland over 65 is set to increase by almost half a million, a situation that could see the annual health budget soar - rising by €12.5 billion in the next decade alone. While reform was a major part of Government attempts "to regain full sovereignty over economic policy", Howlin told a meeting of the Association of Chief Executives of State Agencies they would in any event face key "imperatives" in coming years. He said a new public spending review, on which he had briefed the Cabinet in recent days, would not be a simple assessment of where to make cuts, but would also consider the way public sector services were delivered. Howlin reiterated the Government's commitment not to cut public sector pay, "if the Croke Park Agreement works". "These are just some of the challenges that our society is facing in the coming decade - crisis or no crisis. In the good times, tackling them was going to be difficult. Today, in these difficult times, tackling them is going to be imperative." Howlin said Ireland's was facing a profound and complex economic crisis "where we are fighting a battle on three fronts - mass unemployment, a major failure in banking, and a fiscal crisis".[9]


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links

  • Official website
  • Brendan Howlin's page on the Labour Party website
Preceded by
Michael D'Arcy
(Fine Gael)
Labour Party Teachta Dála for Wexford
Political offices
Preceded by
John O'Connell
Minister for Health
Succeeded by
Michael Woods
Preceded by
Michael Smith
Minister for the Environment
Succeeded by
Noel Dempsey
Preceded by
Séamus Pattison
Leas-Cheann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann
Succeeded by
Michael Kitt
New office Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ruairi Quinn
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Liz McManus
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.