Monica Barnes

Monica Barnes (née MacDermott; 12 February 1936 – 3 May 2018) was an Irish Fine Gael politician who served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dún Laoghaire constituency from 1982 to 1992 and 1997 to 2002. She was a Senator for the Labour Panel from February 1982 to November 1982 and a Member of the Council of State from 1991 to 1995.[1][2][3]

Monica Barnes
Teachta Dála
In office
June 1997  May 2002
In office
November 1982  November 1992
ConstituencyDún Laoghaire
Member of the Council of State
In office
20 February 1991  22 April 1995
Appointed byMary Robinson
In office
12 March 1982  23 November 1982
ConstituencyLabour Panel
Personal details
Monica MacDermott

(1936-02-12)12 February 1936
Carrickmacross, Monaghan, Ireland
Died3 May 2018(2018-05-03) (aged 82)
Killiney, Dublin, Ireland
Political partyFine Gael
Spouse(s)Bob Barnes
(m. 1973; d. 2018)
Alma materNUI Maynooth

She was educated at the Louis Convent, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan. After the birth of her first child, she later said she suffered from post-natal depression, a condition largely unrecognised in Ireland at the time. She was told by her doctor to "pull yourself together", and subsequently she set up a support group for women suffering from the condition and began to take an interest in equality and women's rights. She was a co-founder of the Council for the Status of Women (now the National Women's Council) in 1973, a move which prompted her to fully commit herself to politics.[4]

Barnes unsuccessfully contested the 1981 general election in the Dún Laoghaire constituency, and after a further defeat at the February 1982 general election she was elected to the 16th Seanad on the Labour Panel.[5]

She was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the November 1982 general election and retained her seat until losing it at the 1992 general election. She was re-elected at the 1997 general election and retired at the 2002 general election.

Barnes also unsuccessfully contested the European Parliament election for the Leinster constituency in 1979 and 1994.

Barnes was credited as a feminist and an advocate of women's rights.[6] She was seen as having cast a critical vote that lead to the passing of the 1985 Contraception Bill, the bill which gave Irish adults the right to purchase non-medical contraceptives without having to get a doctor's prescription, which passed the Dáil by a narrow margin.[4]


  1. "Death takes place of former TD Monica Barnes". 3 May 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  2. "Monica Barnes". Centre for Advancement of Women in Politics. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  3. "Monica Barnes". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  4. "Obituary: Monica Barnes". Irish Independent. 6 May 2019.
  5. "Monica Barnes". Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  6. Leahy, Pat; McMahon, Aine (3 May 2018). "Ex-Fine Gael TD for Dún Laoghaire Monica Barnes has died". Irish Times. Retrieved 12 August 2019. President Michael D Higgins led tributes to Ms Barnes who he said, provided exceptional public service to the people of her constituency and Ireland over many years. “Monica was a proud feminist and championed women’s rights throughout her parliamentary career and beyond,” he said.

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