Frank Fahey (politician)

Frank Fahey (born 6 June 1951) is an Irish property developer and former Fianna Fáil politician who served as Minister of State for Equality from 2004 to 2007, Minister of State for Labour Affairs from 2002 to 2004, Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources from 2000 to 2002, Minister of State for Children from 1997 to 2000, Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Transport and Communications and Minister of State at the Department of Education from 1989 to 1992. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Galway West constituency from 1982 to 1992 and 1997 to 2011. He was a Senator for the Labour Panel from 1993 to 1997.[1]

Frank Fahey
Minister of State for Equality
In office
29 September 2004  20 June 2007
TaoiseachBertie Ahern
Preceded byWillie O'Dea
Succeeded bySeán Power
Minister of State for Labour Affairs
In office
19 June 2002  29 September 2004
TaoiseachBertie Ahern
Preceded byTom Kitt
Succeeded byTony Killeen
Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources
In office
27 January 2000  6 June 2002
TaoiseachBertie Ahern
Preceded byMichael Woods
Succeeded byDermot Ahern
Minister of State for Children
In office
8 July 1997  1 February 2000
TaoiseachBetie Ahern
Preceded byAustin Currie
Succeeded byMary Hanafin
Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Transport and Communications
In office
26 September 1989  11 February 1992
TaoiseachCharles Haughey
Preceded byDenis Lyons
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Minister of State at the Department of Education
In office
19 July 1989  11 February 1992
TaoiseachCharles Haughey
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byLiam Aylward
Teachta Dála
In office
June 1997  February 2011
In office
February 1982  November 1992
ConstituencyGalway West
In office
12 February 1993  24 June 1997
ConstituencyLabour Panel
Personal details
Born (1951-06-06) 6 June 1951
Galway, Ireland
Political partyFianna Fáil
Alma materUniversity College Galway

Life before politics

Frank Fahey was born in June 1951 in Galway. He was educated at St Mary's College, Our Lady's College and University College Galway. He was a schoolteacher before he entered politics.

Ministerial career

Fahey was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the February 1982 general election.[2] In 1987, he was appointed Minister of State for Youth and Sport. He lost his Dáil seat at the 1992 general election and was appointed to Seanad Éireann, serving in the 20th Seanad until 1997. Following Fianna Fáil's victory at the 1997 general election, he returned to the Dáil and was appointed Minister of State with special responsibility for Children. In January 2000, he was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources.

Following the re-election of the incumbent government at the 2002 general election, Fahey was demoted to the post of junior Minister at the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. He was re-elected at the 2007 general election but not appointed to any ministerial office.[3] He was, however, appointed to head the joint Oireachtas committee on Transport.[4]


Lost at Sea scheme

While Minister of State for the Marine and Natural Resources in 2000, Fahey launched the Lost at Sea scheme to compensate fishermen whose vessels had been lost at sea. In 2004, following a complaint from a late applicant (who had been turned down), the Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly recommended to the department that latecomers should be considered, saying that the schemes had a "serious defect" in having contacted some fishing families and not others. Via a freedom of information request, The Sunday Business Post found that Fahey had discussed the scheme with two constituents, who later received three quarters (around €2m) of the overall compensation, prior to the announcement - and had written to them about their successful applications prior to the closing date. In 2007, the Standards in Public Office Commission found no problems with Fahey's conduct.[5][6] In 2009, the Ombudsman published a full report into the scheme, again recommending that late applicants receive compensation, but it was blocked from discussion in the Oireachtas by the government.[7][8]

Corrib gas project

In 2000, one of Fahey's last acts as Minister of State for the Marine and Natural Resources was to approve the foreshore licence for the controversial[9] Corrib gas project.[10] In 2002, in connection with this project, he approved the sale of a large area of Irish national forestry at Bellanaboy to Shell Oil for the building of a gas processing site, which caused much controversy.[11]

Investments and property

The Irish Times reported in 2006 that in 1994, when Fahey was a Senator, he became involved in establishing a hair and beauty salon business in Moscow, involving an investment of over £200,000 (€254,000).[12][13] Fahey did not officially declare the interest and at first denied involvement with the salon. Later, he admitted a connection, saying he had travelled to Moscow "as an ordinary citizen to support the investors including my wife who were attempting to set up a hair salon there...the whole thing was part of a regional political campaign by a number of individuals to do damage to my integrity, character and good name".[14]

Fahey has invested in properties in countries including Ireland, France, the US, Dubai and Belgium. He also declared an interest in a construction company and a share portfolio in the Dáil Register of Members Interests.[15][16]

In June 2009, Government minister Trevor Sargent accused Fahey in the Dáil of tax avoidance and making inappropriate decisions as a minister, and called on the Taoiseach to sack him.[17]

Loss of seat

The 2011 general election was disastrous for Fianna Fáil[18] and Fahey lost his seat, his first preference vote declining to 5.7%.[19] He had said in November 2010: “I have no illusions that I will lose my seat”.[20] During a public meeting in the run up to the election he and government advisor Alan Aherne were booed and heckled.[21]


  1. "Frank Fahey". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
  2. "Frank Fahey". Retrieved 28 May 2009.
  3. "Fahey left out of junior ministers line-up". The Irish Times. 20 June 2007.
  4. "Representatives from Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport to discuss Transport 21 with Transport Committee". House of the Oireachtas website. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
  5. John Burns (4 April 2010). "Going overboard". The Sunday Times.
  6. Felle, Tom (4 October 2009). "Ombudsman trawls for details of Lost at Sea compensation". Sunday Business Post. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  7. McGee, Harry (15 October 2009). "Oireachtas group rejects Lost at Sea scheme report". Irish Times. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  8. "Call to reverse fishermen decision". Belfast Telegraph. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  9. Fleming, Diarmaid (3 August 2005). "Bitter dispute over gas pipeline". BBC News.
  10. "Green light for Corrib gas field". RTÉ News. 15 April 2002.
  11. Ryan, Áine (8 May 2007). "Government blamed at hearing". Mayo News. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
  12. "Business deals in Russia often involve Mafia". The Irish Times. 13 June 2006.
  13. "Moscow allegation places controversy laiden Frank Fahey under the government's glare". Sunday Tribune. 18 June 2006. Archived from the original on 6 June 2010.
  14. Sheehan, Maeve (16 July 2006). "Greens make political hay while the sun shines hard on junior minister". Irish Independent.
  15. "Fahey tops Dáil property ownership list". RTÉ News. 13 March 2008.
  16. Ryan, Vincent (6 September 2009). "Fahey partners focus of probe by Nationwide". The Irish Independent.
  17. "Sargent to Taoiseach: Fire Frank Fahey". Irish Examiner. 29 June 2006. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007.
  18. Doyle, Kilian (27 February 2011). "Kenny leads Fine Gael to win as Fianna Fáil vote collapses". Irish Times. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  19. "Galway West". RTÉ News. 2 March 2011. Archived from the original on 28 February 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  20. Andrews, Kernan (25 November 2010). "'I know my seat is a goner in the election' admits Frank Fahey". Galway Advertiser. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  21. Siggins, Lorna (19 January 2011). "TD and finance adviser booed at public meeting". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
Preceded by
Mark Killilea
(Fianna Fáil)
Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Galway West
Succeeded by
Éamon Ó Cuív
(Fianna Fáil)
Preceded by
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn
(Fianna Fáil)
Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Galway West
Succeeded by
Seán Kyne
(Fine Gael)
Political offices
Preceded by
New office
Minister of State for Youth and Sport
Succeeded by
Liam Aylward
Preceded by
Denis Lyons
Minister of State for Tourism
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
Austin Currie
Minister of State for Children
Succeeded by
Mary Hanafin
Preceded by
Michael Woods
Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources
Succeeded by
Dermot Ahern
Preceded by
Tom Kitt
Minister of State for Labour Affairs
Succeeded by
Tony Killeen
Preceded by
Willie O'Dea
Minister of State for Equality
Succeeded by
Seán Power
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