Patrick Joseph McGilligan (12 April 1889 – 15 November 1979) was an Irish Fine Gael politician and lawyer who served as the 14th Attorney General of Ireland from 1954 to 1957, Minister for Finance from 1948 to 1951, Minister for External Affairs from 1927 to 1932 and Minister for Industry and Commerce from 1924 to 1932. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1923 to 1965.
|14th Attorney General of Ireland|
2 June 1954 – 20 March 1957
|Taoiseach||John A. Costello|
|Preceded by||Aindrias Ó Caoimh|
|Succeeded by||Aindrias Ó Caoimh|
|Minister for Finance|
18 February 1948 – 13 June 1951
|Taoiseach||John A. Costello|
|Preceded by||Frank Aiken|
|Succeeded by||Seán MacEntee|
|Minister for External Affairs|
11 October 1927 – 9 March 1932
|President||W. T. Cosgrave|
|Preceded by||W. T. Cosgrave|
|Succeeded by||Éamon de Valera|
|Minister for Industry and Commerce|
4 April 1924 – 9 March 1932
|President||W. T. Cosgrave|
|Preceded by||John McManus|
|Succeeded by||Seán Lemass|
February 1948 – June 1965
July 1937 – February 1948
November 1923 – July 1937
|Constituency||National University of Ireland|
Patrick Joseph McGilligan
12 April 1889
Coleraine, County Londonderry, Ireland
|Died||15 November 1979 90) (aged|
Dalkey, Dublin, Ireland
|Political party||Fine Gael|
Cumann na nGaedheal
|Spouse(s)||Anne Conolly (m. 1929)|
|Alma mater||University College Dublin|
McGilligan was born in Hanover Place, Coleraine, County Londonderry, the son of Patrick McGilligan, a draper, who would serve as MP for South Fermanagh from 1892 to 1895 for the Irish Parliamentary Party, and Catherine O'Farrell. He was educated at St Columb's College in Derry; Clongowes Wood College in County Kildare and University College Dublin.
Lawyer and politician
Minister for Industry and Commerce
He was elected as a Cumann na nGaedheal TD for the National University of Ireland at a by-election held on 3 November 1923. His time in Government was marked by economic retrenchment and a focus on low taxation. At the beginning of his time in office he declared that "People may have to die in this country and may have to die of starvation". Between 1924 and 1932 McGilligan served as Minister for Industry and Commerce, notably pushing through the Shannon hydroelectric scheme, then the largest hydroelectricity project in the world. In 1927 he set up the Electricity Supply Board (ESB), and also the Agricultural Credit Corporation.
Minister for External Affairs
In 1927 McGilligan was appointed as Minister for External Affairs following the assassination of Kevin O'Higgins by the anti-Treaty elements of the IRA, in revenge for O'Higgins' support for the execution of Republican prisoners during the Irish Civil War (1922–23). In this position he was hugely influential at the Committee on the Operation of Dominion Legislation and at the Imperial Conference in 1930 (jointly with representatives of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom). The Statute of Westminster that emerged from these meetings gave greater power to dominions in the Commonwealth like the Irish Free State.
Following the 1932 Irish general election, Cumann na nGaedhael were sent into opposition for the first time as Fianna Fáil took over as the government. Tensions between the two parties ratcheted up as both sides began to turn towards paramilitaries. The Irish Republican Army began to disrupt Cumann na nGaedhael public meetings, and in turn, a pro-Cumann na nGaedhael paramilitary called the Army Comrades Association (later better known as the Blueshirts) was created to counteract the IRA and disrupt Fianna Fáil meetings. As the links between the Blueshirts and Cumann na nGaedhael rapidly developed, sitting CnaG Teachta Dála Thomas F. O'Higgins became the leader of the ACA. He was joined by a number of other CnaG TDs including McGilligan. Cumann na nGaedhael, The National Centre Party and the Blueshirts would eventually merge into one new party called Fine Gael in the aftermath of the 1933 Irish general election and the banning of the Blueshirts. Despite their combination of strength, they failed to make much of an impact in the 1934 Irish local elections either. In fact Fine Gael would remain in opposition until the 1948 Irish general election.
During this period in opposition from 1932 to 1948 McGilligan built up a law practice and became professor of constitutional and international law at University College, Dublin. When the National University of Ireland representation was transferred to the Seanad in 1937, McGilligan was elected as TD for the Dublin North-West constituency.
Minister for Finance
In 1948 McGilligan was appointed Minister for Finance in the first Inter-Party Government. As Minister he undertook some major reforms. He instigated a new approach where Government invested radically in capital projects.[clarification needed] Colleagues however complained of his frequent absence from the Cabinet table and the difficulty of contacting him at the Department of Finance Between 1954 and 1957 he served as Attorney General, a job in which, as he himself admitted, he felt far more at home than as Minister for Finance. He retired from Dáil Éireann at the 1965 general election, having served for over 40 years.
Patrick McGilligan died in Dublin on 15 November 1979; despite his well-known fondness for predicting that he would die young, he reached the age of ninety. A later Attorney General, John M. Kelly in the preface to his definitive text, The Irish Constitution (1980), noted the remarkable number of senior judges who were former students of McGilligan and suggested that given his own firm belief in the value of judicial review he deserves much of the credit for the remarkable development of Irish law in this field since the early 1960s.
- "Patrick McGilligan". Oireachtas Members database. Retrieved 10 November 2007.
- "General Registrar's Office". IrishGenealogy.ie. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
- Harkness, David. "McGilligan, Patrick". Dictionary of Irish Biography. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
- "Patrick J. McGilligan". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- Lee, Joseph J. (1990), "REBELLION: 1912–1922", Ireland 1912–1985, Cambridge University Press, pp. 1–55, doi:10.1017/cbo9781139167802.003, ISBN 9781139167802
- Collins, Stephen; Meehan, Ciara (7 November 2020). "Without the Blueshirts, there would have been no Fine Gael". Irish Times. Retrieved 7 January 2021.