Richard Bruton

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Richard Bruton

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Richard Bruton 2013.jpeg
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Assumed office
11 October 2018
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Preceded by Denis Naughten
Minister for Education and Skills
In office
6 May 2016 16 October 2018
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Leo Varadkar
Preceded by Jan O'Sullivan
Succeeded by Joe McHugh
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
In office
9 March 2011 6 May 2016
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded by Mary Hanafin
Succeeded by Mary Mitchell O'Connor
Deputy Leader of Fine Gael
In office
12 June 2002 14 June 2010
LeaderEnda Kenny
Preceded by Jim Mitchell
Succeeded by James Reilly
Minister for Enterprise and Employment
In office
15 December 1994 26 June 1997
Taoiseach John Bruton
Preceded by Charlie McCreevy
Succeeded by Mary Harney
Minister of State for Energy Affairs
In office
23 September 1986 20 January 1987
Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald
Preceded by Edward Collins
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2016
Constituency Dublin Bay North
In office
February 1982   February 2016
Constituency Dublin North-Central
Senator
In office
13 October 1981 26 February 1982
Constituency Agricultural Panel
Personal details
Born
Richard Bruton

(1953-03-15) 15 March 1953 (age 66)
Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Fine Gael
Spouse(s)Susan Meehan (m. 1988)
Relations John Bruton (Brother)
Children4
Education
Alma mater
Website richardbruton.ie

Richard Bruton (born 15 March 1953) is an Irish Fine Gael politician who has served as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment since October 2018. He has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin Bay North constituency since 2016, and previously from 1982 to 2016 for the Dublin North-Central. He previously served as Minister for Education and Skills from 2016 to 2018, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation from 2011 to 2016, Deputy Leader of Fine Gael from 2002 to 2010, Minister for Enterprise and Employment from 1994 to 1997 and Minister of State for Energy Affairs from 1986 to 1987. He was a Senator for the Agricultural Panel from 1981 to 1982. [1]

Fine Gael Centre-right Christian democratic political party in the Republic of Ireland, one of two leading parties since 1933

Fine Gael is a liberal-conservative political party in Ireland. Fine Gael is currently the governing and largest party in Ireland in terms of members of the Oireachtas and Irish members of European Parliament. The party has a membership of 35,000, and is the senior partner governing in a minority coalition with several independent politicians, with party leader Leo Varadkar serving as Taoiseach. Varadkar succeeded Enda Kenny as party leader on 2 June 2017 and as Taoiseach on 14 June; Kenny had been leader since 2002, and Taoiseach since 2011.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Irish cabinet minister

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment is the senior minister at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in the Government of Ireland.

A TD is a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas. It is the equivalent of terms such as 'Member of Parliament' (MP) or 'Member of Congress' used in other countries. The official translation of the term is 'Deputy to the Dáil', although a more literal translation is "Assembly Delegate".

Contents

Bruton was born in Dublin, but grew up in Dunboyne, County Meath. He was educated at Belvedere College, Clongowes Wood College, University College Dublin where he studied Economics. After graduating with an MPhil from Nuffield College, he worked in private industry with the ESRI, P. J. Carroll & Company and CRH. In 1979, Bruton was elected to Meath County Council and served on a number of committees, before his election to Seanad Éireann in 1981 and his eventual election to Dáil Éireann in 1982.

Dublin capital and largest city in Ireland

Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. It is on the east coast of Ireland, in the province of Leinster, at the mouth of the River Liffey, and is bordered on the south by the Wicklow Mountains. It has an urban area population of 1,173,179, while the population of the Dublin Region, as of 2016, was 1,347,359, and the population of the Greater Dublin area was 1,904,806.

Dunboyne Town in Leinster, Ireland

Dunboyne is a town in Meath, Ireland. It is located ten minutes from Blanchardstown.

County Meath County in the Republic of Ireland

County Meath is a county in Ireland. It is in the province of Leinster and is part of the Mid-East Region. It is named after the historic Kingdom of Meath. Meath County Council is the local authority for the county. At the 2016 census, the population of the county was 195,044. The county town of Meath is Navan. Other towns in the county include Trim, Kells, Laytown, Ashbourne, Dunboyne, and Slane.

After an initial period on the backbenches, Bruton was appointed Minister of State for Energy Affairs, following the resignation of Edward Collins in September 1986. In opposition between 1987 and 1994, Bruton served in a number of front bench positions including, Energy, Natural Resources, Health, Enterprise and Employment and Director of Policy. He was also the campaign manager for his brother John Bruton's successful party leadership bid in 1990.

On 14 December 1982, the 19th Government of Ireland was officially appointed by Dáil Éireann. The new Fine Gael–Labour Party government was led by the Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald.

Edward Collins was an Irish Fine Gael politician.

Fine Gael is the largest political party in the Oireachtas. The Fine Gael leader appoints a team of TDs and Senators to speak for the party on different issues. When Fine Gael was in opposition, the front bench areas of responsibility broadly corresponded to those of Government ministers. Fine Gael has been in Government since March 2011 and accordingly their front bench consists of the ministerial officeholders.

As part of the negotiating team that helped form the Rainbow coalition government in December 1994, Bruton claimed the highest-ranking Fine Gael cabinet position as Minister for Enterprise and Employment.

The 24th Government of Ireland was the 2nd Government of the 27th Dáil. Known as the Rainbow Coalition, it was a coalition of Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Democratic Left. The Labour Party had been part of the 23rd Government with Fianna Fáil, formed after the 1992 general election, but left in 1994 following a number of scandals, particularly over the beef industry and the alleged mishandling of the prosecution of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth. After Albert Reynolds was replaced by Bertie Ahern as Fianna Fáil leader, there was speculation that Labour would rejoin Fianna Fáil in government, but instead it formed a government with two parties which had been in opposition. By-election gains since 1992 meant the three parties had enough TDs between them for an overall majority.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation cabinet position in Ireland

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation is the senior minister at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in the Government of Ireland.

A return to opposition in 1997, saw Bruton remain on the Front Bench as Spokesperson on Education and Science, a position he held until he was appointed Director of Policy and Press Director in a reshuffle in 2000. After losing the 2002 party leadership election to Enda Kenny, Bruton was retained on the Front Bench and promoted to Deputy Leader as well as Spokesperson on Finance. After an unsuccessful leadership challenge in 2010, he was demoted to Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Innovation.

2002 Fine Gael leadership election

The 2002 Fine Gael leadership election began in May 2002, when Michael Noonan resigned as party leader due to the party's poor performance in the 2002 general election. Noonan had only been party leader for little over fifteen months. His successor was elected by the members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party on 5 June 2002. After one ballot the election was won by Enda Kenny. Kenny defeated Richard Bruton, Gay Mitchell and Phil Hogan.

Enda Kenny Irish Fine Gael politician and Taoiseach

Enda Kenny is an Irish Fine Gael politician who served as the 13th Taoiseach from 2011 to 2017, Leader of Fine Gael from 2002 to 2017, Minister for Defence from May 2014 to July 2014 and 2016 to 2017, Leader of the Opposition from 2002 to 2011, Minister for Tourism and Trade from 1994 to 1997 and Minister of State for Youth Affairs from 1986 to 1987. He has been a Teachta Dála (TD) since 1975, currently for the Mayo constituency.

Minister for Finance (Ireland) Irish cabinet minister

The Minister for Finance is the senior minister at the Department of Finance in the Government of Ireland. The minister is responsible for all financial and monetary matters of the state, and is considered the second most important member of the Government of Ireland, after the Taoiseach.

After the formation of the coalition government in March 2011, Bruton was appointed Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Following the formation of a Fine Gael minority government in May 2016, he was appointed Minister for Education and Skills. On 11 October 2018, Bruton was appointed Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, following the resignation of Denis Naughten. [2]

Government of the 31st Dáil

The Government of the 31st Dáil is the previous Government of Ireland, formed after the 2011 general election to Dáil Éireann on 25 February 2011. Fine Gael entered into discussions with the Labour Party which culminated in a joint programme for government. The 31st Dáil first met on 9 March 2011 when it nominated Seán Barrett to be the Ceann Comhairle. Following this, the house nominated Enda Kenny, the leader of Fine Gael, to be the 13th Taoiseach. Kenny then went to the Áras an Uachtaráin where President Mary McAleese appointed him as Taoiseach. On the nomination of the Taoiseach, and following the Dáil's approval the 29th Government of Ireland was appointed by the President.

The 32nd Dáil was elected at the 2016 general election. When it met on 10 March 2016, the Dáil failed to elect a Taoiseach, resulting in the formal resignation of Enda Kenny who continued in a caretaker capacity pending the appointment of the 30th Government of Ireland. After two further failed attempts to elect a Taoiseach Enda Kenny was eventually elected at the fourth time of asking on the Friday, 6 May 2016 and his cabinet was announced later that day. This was the first occasion on which an outgoing Fine Gael Taoiseach was re-elected.

Minister for Education and Skills Irish cabinet minister

The Minister for Education and Skills is the senior government minister at the Department of Education and Skills in the Government of Ireland.

Early and private life

Bruton was born in Dublin, but grew up in Dunboyne, County Meath. He is the son of Joseph and Doris Bruton. [3] He was educated at Belvedere College, Clongowes Wood College, University College Dublin and Nuffield College, Oxford. [4] At Oxford, he graduated with a MPhil in Economics, his thesis being on the subject of Irish public debt. [3] He is a research economist by profession. [5] After university he worked at the Economic and Social Research Institute. This was followed by two years in the tobacco company P. J. Carroll, before moving on to his final private sector job at CRH. [3]

He is the younger brother of John Bruton, the former Taoiseach and Ambassador of the European Union to the United States.

Bruton is married to Susan Meehan; they have four children, two sons and two daughters. [6]

Early political career: 1979–1992

Bruton was elected to Meath County Council in 1979 and was elected to Seanad Éireann in 1981 for the Agricultural Panel. [3] At the February 1982 general election, he was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fine Gael TD for the Dublin North-Central constituency. [7] From 1986 to 1987, he served as Minister of State at the Department of Industry and Commerce. He was then appointed opposition Spokesperson for Enterprise and Employment.

Minister for Enterprise and Employment: 1992–1997

After the 1992 general election, Fianna Fáil and the Labour Party formed a coalition government, which collapsed in 1994. Bruton then helped to negotiate the 'Rainbow Coalition' between Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Democratic Left. In that government his brother John Bruton became Taoiseach. Richard Bruton was given the highest-ranking Fine Gael ministerial position, serving as Minister for Enterprise and Employment.

Return to Opposition: 1997–2011

With the end of the Rainbow Coalition after the 1997 general election, Bruton returned to opposition.

Dublin City Council: 1999–2003

In 1999, he was elected to Dublin City Council, representing the Artane area. [7] He relinquished this seat when dual mandates were banned in 2003.

Fine Gael leadership election: 2002

Fine Gael had a disastrous result at the 2002 general election; Bruton was one of the few frontbench Fine Gael TDs to retain his seat. The party lost 23 of its 54 TDs, later party leader Michael Noonan resigned. Bruton stood as a candidate in the subsequent leadership election. [8] He was defeated by Enda Kenny, but was appointed Deputy Leader of Fine Gael and Spokesperson for Finance, posts he maintained until 2010.

Deputy Leader and Spokesperson on Finance: 2002–2010

Bruton was appointed Finance Spokesperson in 2002. In that role he was a consistent critic of government economic policy. In particular, he warned about the government’s overreliance on the property sector, and said that the government was ignoring the erosion of competitiveness and the loss of export market share as a growing construction sector temporarily insulated the economy from their effects.

In 2006, he told the Dáil that the government had "doubled its dependence on the construction sector to support its revenue. A total of 25% of every tax euro spent by the government comes from the construction sector. We are not in a strong position; we are, in fact, in a vulnerable position."

Bruton raised concerns about the payment of benchmarking awards. In 2003, on behalf of Fine Gael, he proposed a motion that the payment of the remaining phases of benchmarking be suspended pending implementation of a serious reform package so that the €1.3 Billion cost of benchmarking would be matched by commensurate improvements in public services.

Fine Gael leadership challenge: 2010

On 14 June 2010, Bruton was sacked as Deputy Leader and Spokesperson on Finance, by his leader Enda Kenny, after he informed his colleagues that he would be proposing a leadership challenge against Kenny. [9] [10] Kenny explained that he and Bruton had had a series of discussions in which Bruton said he had lost confidence in him. Kenny later told the media that "Richard's decision leaves me with no option but to relieve him of all his responsibilities". He also said that "some unnamed people have done huge damage to Fine Gael through their anonymous comments to the media which has resulted in an opinion poll dominating the news agenda". He then assigned responsibility for the Finance portfolio to Deputy Kieran O'Donnell.

The first TD to come out in support of Bruton before his sacking was frontbencher Fergus O'Dowd from County Louth. [11] Nine other members of the front bench publicly expressed no confidence in Kenny's leadership. These included Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney, Brian Hayes and Olivia Mitchell.

On 17 June 2010, a meeting of the parliamentary party was held and the 70 members cast their vote. The outcome was that the parliamentary party voted confidence in Enda Kenny as leader. Bruton then declined to comment as to whether he would serve in Kenny's front bench, despite saying earlier that it would be hypocritical to do so. On 1 July 2010, he was appointed by Kenny as Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Innovation. [12]

Return to Government: 2011–present

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: 2011–2016

Bruton was appointed by the new Taoiseach Enda Kenny as Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on 9 March 2011.

Bruton launched the first annual Action Plan for Jobs in 2012. The Plan's high level target was to create 100,000 net new jobs by 2016. Bruton announced in May 2015, that the target to create 100,000 additional new jobs had been hit almost two years early. The Action Plan is based on setting realistic targets and focusing on them until the measures required are in place. In The Irish Times in early 2014, Stephen Collins wrote approvingly that "hundreds of commitments in the programme are steadily being delivered by Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton" [13] and a year later described the annual plan which is "driven by Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton" as being "one of the outstanding success stories of the Coalition’s term". [14] In an editorial the Irish Independent said that Bruton deserves credit for the manner in which the Action Plan for Jobs has been crafted and implemented across a range of government departments over the last three years. [15] A review of the Action Plan for Jobs by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) concluded it had led to two significant developments in Irish public governance. One is a concerted whole of government policy implementation with political backing and oversight at the highest level. The other important development noted by the OECD is the rigorous quarterly monitoring and reporting system modelled on the troika programme.

While campaigning for the government before the European Fiscal Compact referendum on 17 May 2012, Bruton admitted on live radio the possibility of there being a second referendum if the Irish people voted "No". [16]

Minister for Education and Skills: 2016–present

Following the 2016 general election, there was a delay in government formation. On 9 May 2016, after talks had concluded on forming a new government, Enda Kenny appointed Bruton as Minister for Education and Skills. Bruton launched the first Action Plan for Education in September 2016. The Plan's high level ambition is to make Ireland's education and training system the best in Europe by 2026. Following the election of Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach, Bruton was reappointed as Minister for Education and Skills on 14 June 2017. After Minister Denis Naughten's resignation from government due to controversy surrounding the National Broadband Plan, Bruton became Acting Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment on 11 October 2018.

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References

  1. "Richard Bruton". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  2. "Frances Fitzgerald is Tánaiste in new Cabinet". RTÉ News. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Sheridan, Kathy (6 December 2008). "The Mr Nice Guy of Irish politics". The Irish Times . Retrieved 7 December 2008.
  4. "Richard Bruton TD". Fine Gael Party website. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  5. "About Richard Bruton". Richard Bruton's official website. Retrieved 31 July 2008.
  6. Smyth, Sam (10 February 2010). "Heir apparent keeps his cool as knives are sharpened for FG leader". Irish Independent . Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  7. 1 2 "Richard Bruton". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  8. "The line of leaders since FitzGerald". The Irish Times . 14 June 2010.
  9. "Kenny sacks Richard Bruton from Fine Gael front bench". The Irish Times . 14 June 2010.
  10. "Richard Bruton sacked as FG deputy leader". RTÉ News . 14 June 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  11. "First Fine Gael frontbencher emerges in support of Bruton". Irish Examiner . 14 June 2010.
  12. "Bruton & Noonan return to Fine Gael frontbench". RTÉ News . 1 July 2010. Archived from the original on 4 July 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  13. "Opposition gains initiative in post-troika vacuum". The Irish Times. 22 March 2014.
  14. "Dáil antics and water charge protesters fail to drown out economic good news". The Irish Times. 31 January 2015.
  15. "Editorial: Progress made on jobs, but it's a long road ahead". Irish Independent. 28 February 2014.
  16. "Bruton raises prospect of second treaty referendum". Irish Examiner. Thomas Crosbie Holdings. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
Oireachtas
Preceded by
Noël Browne
Fine Gael Teachta Dála for Dublin North-Central
19822016
Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
New constituency Fine Gael Teachta Dála for Dublin Bay North
2016–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Edward Collins
Minister of State for Energy Affairs
1986–1987
Succeeded by
Position abolished
Preceded by
Charlie McCreevy
Minister for Enterprise and Employment
1994–1997
Succeeded by
Mary Harney
Preceded by
Mary Hanafin
as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
2011–2016
Succeeded by
Mary Mitchell O'Connor
Preceded by
Jan O'Sullivan
Minister for Education and Skills
2016–2018
Succeeded by
Joe McHugh
Preceded by
Denis Naughten
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment
2018–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Mitchell
Deputy Leader of Fine Gael
2002–2010
Succeeded by
James Reilly