Minister for Labour (Ireland)

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Department of Equality and Law Reform
Roinn Comhionannais agus Athchóirithe Dlí
Department overview
Formed12 July 1966
Preceding agencies
Dissolved8 July 1997
Superseding agencies
JurisdictionIreland
Minister responsible
  • Minister for Equality and Law Reform

The Minister for Labour (Irish: Aire Oibreachais[1][2]) was originally a position in the Government of the Irish Republic, the self-declared state which was established in 1919 by Dáil Éireann, the parliamentary assembly made up of the majority of Irish MPs elected in the 1918 general election. Constance Markievicz was the first person to hold the post. The office did not continue into the Executive Council of the Irish Free State.

The later office of Minister for Labour was created by the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1966[3] as a member of the Government of Ireland.

In 1993, the minister's functions were transferred to the Minister for Enterprise and Employment and was succeeded by the Minister for Equality and Law Reform, a position which existed during the Fianna Fáil–Labour coalition led by Albert Reynolds (1993–94) and the Fine Gael–Labour–Democratic Left coalition (1994–97) led by John Bruton. Its primary functions were in the area of civil and family law reform (including divorce legislation) and equality legislation. Under both governments, the Minister for Equality and Law Reform was Labour Party TD Mervyn Taylor, although Máire Geoghegan-Quinn served as Minister between November and December 1994, after Labour had left the coalition with Fianna Fáil.

In 1997, the minister's functions were transferred to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The Department of Equality and Law Reform ceased to exist but was not formally abolished.

History[edit]

Alteration of name and transfer of functions[edit]

Date Change
13 July 1966 Establishment of the Department of Labour.[4]
13 July 1966 Transfer of Labour from the Department of Industry and Commerce.[5]
3 October 1966 Transfer of Labour from the Department of Social Welfare.[6]
20 January 1993 Transfer of Labour to the Department of Industry and Commerce.[7]
21 January 1993 Renamed as the Department of Equality and Law Reform.[8]
3 February 1993 Transfer of Civil law reform, civil legal aid and the family mediation service from the Department of Justice.[9]
8 July 1997 Transfer of Equality and Law Reform to the Department of Justice.[10]

Legislation introduced by the Department of Equality and Law Reform[edit]

The following legislation was introduced by the Department:

  • Matrimonial Home Bill 1993 (struck down by the Supreme Court)
  • Interpretation (Amendment) Act 1993 - providing for gender inclusive language in Acts of the Oireachtas
  • Jurisdiction of Courts and Enforcement of Judgments Act 1993 - providing for international enforcement of civil judgments
  • Maintenance Act 1994 - EC enforcement of maintenance orders
  • Maternity Protection Act 1994 - implemented EC law on maternity leave
  • Stillbirths Registration Act 1994 - provided for registration of stillborn children for the first time in Irish law
  • Adoptive Leave Act 1995 - extended maternity leave-type rights to adoptive parents
  • Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 - put civil legal aid scheme on statutory basis
  • Family Law Act 1995 - reformed law relating to judicial separation
  • Occupiers Liability Act 1995 - provided for reduced liability to trespassers and recreational users
  • Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland 1995 - provided for divorce in the Constitution
  • Civil Liability (Amendment) Act 1996 - provided for increased damages for fatal injuries cases
  • Domestic Violence Act 1996 - extended remedies in domestic violence cases
  • Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 - introduced divorce on a statutory basis
  • Powers of Attorney Act 1996 - provided for enduring powers of attorney
  • Registration of Births Act 1996 - provided for gender neutral birth certificates
  • Family Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1997 - miscellaneous amendments.

The following legislation had originally been drafted by the Department but later enacted under the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform:

  • Children Act 1997 - extending family law entitlements of natural fathers and grandparents and other amendments
  • Employment Equality Act 1998
  • Equal Status Act 2000.

List of office-holders[edit]

Minister for Labour 1919–1922[edit]

No. Name Term of office Party
1. Constance Markievicz 2 April 1919 9 January 1922 Sinn Féin
2. Joseph McGrath 11 January 1922 9 September 1922 Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty)
3. Patrick Hogan (acting) 17 July 1922 9 September 1922 Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty)

Minister for Labour 1966–1993[edit]

No. Name Term of office Party
1. Patrick Hillery 13 July 1966 2 July 1969 Fianna Fáil
2. Joseph Brennan 2 July 1969 14 March 1973 Fianna Fáil
3. Michael O'Leary 14 March 1973 5 July 1977 Labour Party
4. Gene Fitzgerald (1st time) [fn 1] 5 July 1977 16 December 1980 Fianna Fáil
5. Tom Nolan 16 December 1980 30 June 1981 Fianna Fáil
6. Liam Kavanagh (1st time) [fn 1] 30 June 1981 9 March 1982 Labour Party
Gene Fitzgerald (2nd time) [fn 1] 9 March 1982 14 December 1982 Fianna Fáil
Liam Kavanagh (2nd time) [fn 1] 14 December 1982 13 December 1983 Labour Party
7. Ruairi Quinn [fn 1] 13 December 1983 20 January 1987 Labour Party
8. Gemma Hussey 20 January 1987 10 March 1987 Fine Gael
9. Bertie Ahern 10 March 1987 14 November 1991 Fianna Fáil
10. Michael O'Kennedy 14 November 1991 11 February 1992 Fianna Fáil
11. Brian Cowen 11 February 1992 12 January 1993 Fianna Fáil
12. Mervyn Taylor 12 January 1993 21 January 1993 Labour Party

Minister for Equality and Law Reform 1993–1997[edit]

No. Name Term of office Party
1. Mervyn Taylor (1st time) 21 January 1993 17 November 1994 Labour Party
2. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn 18 November 1994 15 December 1994 Fianna Fáil
Mervyn Taylor (2nd time) 15 December 1994 26 June 1997 Labour Party
3. John O'Donoghue 26 June 1997 8 July 1997 Fianna Fáil
Note

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Parliamentary Debates". oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie.
  2. ^ "Parliamentary Debates". oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie.
  3. ^ "Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1966". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1966 (Appointed Day) Order 1966". Irish Statute Book. 12 July 1966. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  5. ^ "Labour (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 1966". Irish Statute Book. 12 July 1966. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Labour (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) (No. 2) Order 1966". Irish Statute Book. 20 September 1966. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Labour (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 1993". Irish Statute Book. 20 January 1993. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Labour (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) Order 1993". Irish Statute Book. 20 January 1993. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Justice (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order, 1993". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Equality and Law Reform (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 1997". Irish Statute Book. 8 July 1997. Retrieved 20 September 2019.