John Halligan (politician)

John Halligan (born 18 January 1955) is an Irish Independent politician who has served as Minister of State for Training and Skills since May 2016. He has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Waterford constituency since 2011.[2]

John Halligan

Minister of State for Training and Skills
Assumed office
19 May 2016
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Leo Varadkar
Preceded byDamien English
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2011
Personal details
Born (1955-01-18) 18 January 1955
Waterford, Ireland
Political partyIndependent
Other political
Workers' Party (1999–2007)
Spouse(s)Elaine Powell (m. 2016)[1]
Alma materWaterford Institute of Technology

He was first elected to the Waterford City Council in 1999, for the Workers' Party of Ireland. At the 2004 local elections he topped the poll in Waterford No. 3 electoral area. In February 2008, he resigned from the Workers' Party, when the party refused to drop its opposition to service charges, which Halligan supported.[3] In 2009, as an Independent candidate, Halligan again topped the poll in his area.[4] After the 2009 elections, Halligan entered into a pact with Fine Gael and the Labour Party on Waterford City Council. As a result, he was duly elected Mayor of Waterford, serving from 2009 to 2010. He was an unsuccessful Workers' Party candidate for the Waterford constituency at the 2002 and 2007 general elections.[4]

He was elected as a TD for the Waterford constituency at the 2011 general election, receiving 5,546 first preference votes (10.3%) and was elected on the 11th count.[4] Following his election to the Dáil in February 2011, Sean Reinhardt was co-opted to replace Halligan on Waterford City Council.[5] In March 2011, Halligan joined the Dáil technical group allowing himself more speaking time in Dáil debates.[6] On 15 December 2011, he helped launch a nationwide campaign against a proposed household charge being brought in as part of the 2012 Irish budget.[7]

He joined the Independent Alliance upon its inception in 2015.[8] On 27 February 2016, he was re-elected as a TD for Waterford at the general election, receiving 8,306 first preference votes and was elected on the 8th count. After prolonged talks on government formation, Halligan voted for Enda Kenny as Taoiseach on 6 May 2016, allowing Kenny to become the first Leader of Fine Gael to be re-elected to this office.[9] He joined the government as part of the Independent Alliance, becoming a government deputy. As part of the deal between Fine Gael and the Alliance, he was appointed Minister of State for Training and Skills.

In November 2017, the Workplace Relations Commission found that he had violated equality legislation by asking a candidate "Do you have children? How old are your children?” during a job interview; the WRC ordered the minister's department to pay €7,500 to the candidate.[10]


  1. Cormac McQuinn (21 January 2017). "Independent minister forges happy new alliance". Irish Independent. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  2. "John Halligan". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  3. "Workers' Party asks Halligan for his seat". Munster Express. 22 February 2008. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  4. "John Halligan". Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  5. "Reinhardt takes City Council seat". Munster Express. 15 April 2011.
  6. "TDs agree to form technical group". The Irish Times. 9 March 2011.
  7. "TDs would go to jail over household charge". RTÉ News. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  8. "Feargal Quinn to announce he is to join Independent Alliance". The Irish Times. 29 June 2015.
  9. "Enda Kenny is re-elected as Taoiseach in the Dáil". Newstalk. 6 May 2016.
  10. "John Halligan's interview questions not a 'sacking offence'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
Preceded by
Martin Cullen
John Deasy
Brendan Kenneally
Brian O'Shea
Teachta Dála for Waterford
With: Paudie Coffey 2011–16
Ciara Conway 2011–16
John Deasy 2002–present
Mary Butler 2016–present
David Cullinane 2016–present
Civic offices
Preceded by
Jack Walsh
Mayor of Waterford
Succeeded by
Mary Roche
Party political offices
Preceded by
Martin O'Regan?
Vice President of the Workers' Party of Ireland
Succeeded by
Post vacant?
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