Alex White (politician)

Alex White (born 3 December 1958) is an Irish former Labour Party politician who served as Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources from 2014 to 2016, Minister of State for Primary Care from 2012 to 2014 and Leader of the Labour Party in the Seanad 2007 to 2011. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin South constituency from 2011 to 2016. He was a Senator for the Cultural and Educational Panel from 2007 to 2011.[1][2]

Alex White
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
In office
11 July 2014  6 May 2016
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byPat Rabbitte
Succeeded byDenis Naughten
Minister of State for Primary Care
In office
27 September 2012  11 July 2014
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byRóisín Shortall
Succeeded byKathleen Lynch
Leader of the Labour Party in the Seanad
In office
13 September 2007  8 March 2011
LeaderEamon Gilmore
Preceded byBrendan Ryan
Succeeded byPhil Prendergast
Teachta Dála
In office
February 2011  February 2016
ConstituencyDublin South
In office
24 July 2007  26 February 2011
ConstituencyCultural and Educational Panel
Personal details
Alexander White

(1958-12-03) 3 December 1958
Marino, Dublin, Ireland
Political partyLabour Party
Spouse(s)Mary Corcoran (m. 1994)
Alma mater

Early life

White grew up in Marino, Dublin. He was educated at Chanel College Coolock, Trinity College, Dublin and King's Inn. He was called to the Bar in 1987.[3]

White was a student activist in Trinity College, Dublin, where he was president of the Students' Union and also for a time a supporter of various Trotskyist groupings, including the League for a Workers Republic.[4] He was later a national officer of the Union of Students in Ireland. During his time as a producer with RTÉ, he was active in the SIPTU trade union. In common with Mary McAleese, he was attacked and criticised by a group led by Eoghan Harris and associated with the Workers' Party, over what they perceived as their bias towards Republican groups in the North.[5] White was a strong opponent of Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act, which prevented Sinn Féin members from being heard. White has a long record of involvement in campaigns to further the equal rights of women. He actively campaigned for divorce in 1986 and 1995, and was a Director of Elections for the Anti-Amendment campaign on the North side of Dublin in 1983.[6]

Political career

He was first elected to South Dublin County Council in 2004, for the Terenure-Rathfarnham electoral area. He was an unsuccessful candidate at the 2007 general election in the Dublin South constituency.[7]

White was nominated as a general election candidate in 2007, by the Labour Party leadership. He had voted for coalition with Fine Gael in a Labour Party congress (the line of Pat Rabbitte, then leader of the party). His election to the Seanad was due to a voting pact with Sinn Féin.[8]

He was the Labour Party candidate in the 2009 by-election in Dublin South.[9] He came second behind the former RTÉ economics editor George Lee.[7] White was his party's Seanad group leader and Spokesperson on Children between 2007 and February 2011, when he was elected to the Dáil. He subsequently was appointed as Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform.[10]

White was leader of an Oireachtas delegation that met the Bundestag's Budgetary and European Affairs committees in Berlin in late January 2012.[11]

White was formally nominated for the position of Minister of State for Primary Care, by Eamon Gilmore on 27 September 2012, following the resignation of Róisín Shortall.[12]

Following the resignation of Eamon Gilmore, as Leader of the Labour Party, in the aftermath of Labour's poor result at the 2014 local and European elections, White announced his candidacy for the party leadership. On 4 July 2014, Joan Burton was elected as Labour Party leader, defeating White by 77% to 22%.[13]

Alex White played a key role in the Marriage Equality Campaign 2015.[14]

On 11 July 2014, he was appointed Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in a cabinet reshuffle.[15]

White lost his seat at the 2016 general election.[7] He remained Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in an acting capacity during prolonged talks on government formation.[16]

In June 2017, he was co-opted to fill a vacancy on Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council.

In January 2019, White was selected as the Labour Party candidate for the Dublin constituency in the 2019 European Parliament election.[17] He got 18,293 first-preference votes (5.0%) but was not elected.


  1. "Taoiseach says new Cabinet to focus on jobs". 11 July 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  2. "Alex White". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
  3. "Alex White: Biography". Archived from the original on 5 February 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  4. "Section 31 saved many young men of 20 from PIRA". Sunday Independent. 8 January 2012.
  5. Hanley, Brian; Millar, Scott (26 March 2009). The lost revolution: the story of the official IRA and the workers' party. Penguin Ireland. ISBN 978-1-84488-120-8. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
  6. "The Story of Alex White". The White Board | Alex White TD. 9 June 2014. Archived from the original on 9 March 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  7. "Alex White". Retrieved 7 January 2010.
  8. "Labour and SF discuss voting pact to elect senators". The Irish Times. 7 July 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
  9. "In short". The Irish Times. 22 October 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2008.
  10. "Party spokespersons". Archived from the original on 27 September 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  11. "Oireachtas delegation in Bundestag meeting". RTÉ News. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  12. "Eamon Gilmore proposes Alex White to replace Roisin Shortall". RTÉ News. 27 September 2012.
  13. "Need to govern with more heart, says Joan Burton". RTÉ News. 4 July 2014.
  14. "White says Yes vote won't lead to 'apocalypse' for marriage". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  15. "Live: Cabinet reshuffle". RTÉ News. 11 July 2014.
  16. McGrath, Meadhbh (6 May 2016). "Revealed: The salaries TDs pocketed over 10 weeks of government talks". Irish Independent.
  17. "Labour selects Alex White for Dublin MEP contest". Retrieved 25 January 2019.
Preceded by
Eamon Ryan
(Green Party)
Labour Party Teachta Dála for Dublin South
Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
Róisín Shortall
Minister of State for Primary Care
Succeeded by
Kathleen Lynch
Preceded by
Pat Rabbitte
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Succeeded by
Denis Naughten
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