Biography of FitzGerald, Garret (Gearóid Mac Gearailt) - Archontology
HomeNationsIrelandHeads of GovernmentFitzGerald, Garret (Gearóid Mac Gearailt)
FitzGerald, Garret (Gearóid Mac Gearailt)

Gearóid Mac Gearailt = Garret Michael Desmond FitzGerald

b. 9 Feb 1926, Dublin

Title: Taoiseach
Term: 30 Jun 1981 - 9 Mar 1982
Chronology: 30 Jun 1981, nominated by the 22nd Dáil Éireann; appointed by the President of Ireland [1]
9 Mar 1982, successor appointed
Term: 14 Dec 1982 - 10 Mar 1987
Chronology: 14 Dec 1982, nominated by the 24th Dáil Éireann; appointed by the President of Ireland [1]
10 Mar 1987, successor appointed

Garret FitzGerald was born in the family of Desmond FitzGerald, Minister for External Affairs in the government of William Thomas Cosgrave. He was educated at Belvedere and University College, Dublin (UCD). He worked in Aer Lingus (1947-1958), becoming an authority on the economics of transport. He was a lecturer in economics at UCD (1959-1973). FitzGerald served as a Fine Gael senator from 1965 until his election as a member of Dáil Éireann in 1969. When the coalition of Fine Gael and Labour took office in March 1973, Liam Cosgrave, as Taoiseach, appointed FitzGerald Minister for Foreign Affairs. When the government fell in 1977 FitzGerald succeeded Cosgrave as leader of Fine Gael and undertook a major modernization of the party. Following the General Election of June 1981 Fine Gael and Labour were again able to form a government, now under FitzGerald. He lost office within seven months over a controversial budget proposal. The succeeding Fianna Fáil government, however, lasted only until November 1982. FitzGerald formed his second administration with a comfortable majority in the Dáil. FitzGerald called for liberalization of the legislation on divorce, abortion, and contraception, but it was never implemented because of traditionalist opposition. The most important achievement of FitzGerald as Taoiseach was the Anglo-Irish Agreement (Hillsborough Accord, 15 Nov 1985), which gave Ireland a consultative role in the governing of Northern Ireland and became the basis for developing trust and common action between the governments. The Fine Gael Labour coalition broke up amicably in January 1987, when Labour was unable to accept the stringent budgetary measures insisted upon by the Taoiseach. After a General Election, Fianna Fáil formed a government and FitzGerald resigned the leadership of Fine Gael. He took little part thereafter in active politics, from which he retired completely in 1992. Biography source: [2]

Date Candidate Yes No
30 Jun 1981 Garret FitzGerald 81 78
14 Dec 1982 Garret FitzGerald 85 79
10 Mar 1987 Garret FitzGerald (failed) 51 114

[1] Dáil Éireann Debates
[2] McRedmond, Louis (ed.) Modern Irish Lives: Dictionary of 20th-century Biography. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1996.
Image: photograph, 6 Nov 1981.