24th Government of Ireland

The 24th Government of Ireland (15 December 1994 – 26 June 1997) 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 those which emerged from the Beef Tribunal and the alleged mishandling of the prosecution of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.[1] After Albert Reynolds was replaced as Fianna Fáil leader by Bertie Ahern, 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.

Government of the 27th Dáil
24th Government of Ireland
Date formed15 December 1994
Date dissolved26 June 1997
People and organisations
Head of stateMary Robinson
Head of governmentJohn Bruton
Deputy head of governmentDick Spring
Total no. of ministers15
Member partiesFine Gael
Labour Party
Democratic Left
Status in legislatureCoalition
Opposition leaderBertie Ahern (Fianna Fáil)
History
Legislature term(s)27th Dáil
Predecessor23rd Government
Successor25th Government

This was the first time, and As of 2019 the only time, in Irish political history that a new government was formed within the same Dáil term composed of different parties.

Nomination of Taoiseach vote

15 December 1994
Nomination of Taoiseach vote for John Bruton (FG)

Motion proposed by Nora Owen and seconded by Paddy Harte
Absolute majority: 84/166
Vote Parties Votes
Y YesFine Gael (47), Labour Party (32), Democratic Left (6)
85 / 166
NoFianna Fáil (65), Progressive Democrats (9)
74 / 166
Not votingIndependent (3), Ceann Comhairle (1), Fianna Fáil (1), Green Party (1),
Independent Fianna Fáil (1)
7 / 166
Source: Oireachtas Debates

Composition of the Government

The Ministers of the Government were approved on 15 December 1994.[2]

Office Name Term Party
Taoiseach John Bruton 1994–97 Fine Gael
Tánaiste Dick Spring 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Minister for Finance Ruairi Quinn 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Health Michael Noonan 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Equality and Law Reform Mervyn Taylor 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht Michael D. Higgins 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for the Environment Brendan Howlin 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Education Niamh Bhreathnach 1994–97 Labour Party
Minister for Justice Nora Owen 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Social Welfare Proinsias De Rossa 1994–97 Democratic Left
Minister for Tourism and Trade Enda Kenny 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Enterprise and Employment Richard Bruton 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Ivan Yates 1994–97 Fine Gael
Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications Michael Lowry 1994–96 Fine Gael
Minister for Defence Hugh Coveney 1994–95 Fine Gael
Minister for the Marine

Changes 23 May 1995

Hugh Coveney was demoted to a junior ministry in 1995 after allegations of improper contact with businessmen.[3]

Minister for Defence Seán Barrett 1995–97 Fine Gael
Minister for the Marine

Changes 30 November 1996

Michael Lowry resigned following reports of improper payments from businessman Ben Dunne.

Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications John Bruton (acting) Fine Gael

Changes 3 December 1996

Appointment to fill the vacancy.[4]

Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications Alan Dukes 1996–97 Fine Gael

References

See also

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