Richard Boyd Barrett

Richard Boyd Barrett (born 6 February 1967) an Irish Solidarity–People Before Profit politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dún Laoghaire constituency since the 2011 general election.[1]

Richard Boyd Barrett

Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2011
ConstituencyDún Laoghaire
Personal details
Born (1967-02-06) 6 February 1967
Dublin, Ireland
Political partySolidarity–People Before Profit
Other political
Socialist Workers Network
ParentsDavid Boyd Barrett (adoptive father)
Valerie Boyd Barrett (adoptive mother)
Sinéad Cusack (biological mother)
Vincent Dowling (biological father)
EducationSt Michael's College
Alma materUniversity College Dublin

Boyd Barrett is a former member of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council. He is chair of the Irish Anti-War Movement[2] and on multiple occasions has been cited on war issues in the Irish media.[3][4][5] He opposed the Iraq War and helped organise protests against it in 2003, amid concerns that the war would lead to thousands of unnecessary deaths. Domestically, he has campaigned to reverse job losses, supported the Rossport Five and voiced opposition to Ireland's bank-bail outs and the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) among other issues.

Family and education

Richard Boyd Barrett was adopted as a baby. He was raised as a Roman Catholic in Glenageary, by his adoptive parents, David Boyd Barrett, an accountant, and his wife, Valerie. He attended St Michael's College in Dublin. He holds a master's degree in English Literature from University College Dublin.[6]

His birth mother is Sinéad Cusack, with whom he was later reunited.[2] This was revealed in the last week of his unsuccessful attempt to be elected to the Dáil, at the 2007 general election, during which Cusack, a vocal opponent of the Iraq War, canvassed for him.[2] In May 2013, he claimed that theatre director Vincent Dowling was his biological father.[7]

Political career

Local politics

Boyd Barrett contested the 2004 local elections for Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council. He was not elected and received 1,439 votes (7.4% of the poll). In 2009, he was elected to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, winning 22.8% of the vote and topping the poll.

National politics

Boyd Barrett stood in the Dún Laoghaire constituency at the 2002 general election for the Socialist Workers Party and at the 2007 general election for the People Before Profit. This switch of identification was intended to increase his support from non-socialist voters.[8] In the run-up to the election in 2007 he participated in high-profile campaigns against high-rise development, bin and water charges, privatisation of hospitals and support for the Rossport Five.[8] Boyd Barrett lost to Ciarán Cuffe of the Green Party, by 9,910 votes to 7,890 votes on the 10th count.[9]

Boyd Barrett again contested the Dún Laoghaire constituency at the 2011 general election as part of the United Left Alliance.[10] On the ballot paper, Boyd Barrett was named a member of People Before Profit, because the United Left Alliance had not yet been registered as a political party.[11]

He was elected on the 10th count without reaching the quota.[12][13][14] This followed a "nail-biting two days" of counting and recounting votes.[15]

Dáil Éireann

As a TD, Boyd Barrett, supported protests against cuts to Dublin Bus services, saying that "Some of the older and disabled people are literally prisoners in their homes now as a result of the cut or discontinuation of the service they previously relied on".[16] In Dáil Éireann, he condemned the 2011 murder of PSNI officer Ronan Kerr as "an utterly brutal action, which leads back down a road which has failed".[17] He drafted the text of the first Private Members' motion which suggests there is an "overwhelming democratic case" for putting the EU-IMF bank bailout to a referendum of the Irish people.[18] He also committed to facilitating the nomination of Senator David Norris, for a place on the ballot paper ahead of the 2011 presidential election,[19] and welcomed the release of Teresa Treacy, who was imprisoned for contempt of court over a land development dispute with the ESB and Eirgrid.[20] Marie O'Halloran in The Irish Times described his "consistently passionate outrage and opposition to the Government's handling of the financial and banking crisis."[21]

Boyd Barrett spoke at the Dublin location of the 15 October 2011 global protests, inspired by the Spanish "Indignants" and the Occupy Wall Street movements.[22] The same month he said Enda Kenny's government was engaging in "spin and disingenuity" to cover up its austerity policies, decrying the closure of hospital emergency departments around the country for "health and safety" reasons.[23]

On 2 November 2011, Boyd Barrett led the United Left Alliance TDs out of the Dáil, in protest against the government's decision not to hold a debate on the payment of more than €700 million to Anglo Irish Bank bondholders. "You will not even give the parliament the right to vote on the handover of all the money you have taken out of the health service", he objected.[24] 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.[25]

The Phoenix reported that, after a Technical group meeting with the Troika on 17 January 2012,[26] another member of the Technical Group, Mick Wallace, confronted Boyd Barrett and angrily criticized him for "ignoring their advance strategy of dividing up questions between them and dominating the meeting with a raft of his own queries and assertions.[27] Boyd Barrett was part of an Oireachtas delegation that met the Bundestag's Budgetary and European Affairs committees in Berlin, in late January 2012.[28]

In October 2012, he confirmed that he had claimed €12,000 in 2011 expenses for travelling to the Dáil from his home in Glenageary, in his Dún Laoghaire constituency – a distance of 12 km.[29]

On 10 March 2016, at the first sitting of the 32nd Dáil, he was one of four candidates nominated for the position of Taoiseach, all of whom failed to reach a majority. Ruth Coppinger nominated Boyd Barrett for the role, quoting James Connolly from a hundred years previously when she said: "The day has passed for patching up the capitalist system. It must go" and declaring: "We will not vote for the identical twin candidates" of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, after they "imposed austerity". Bríd Smith seconded the nomination.[30] The nomination of Boyd Barrett was defeated by 9 votes to 111. As well as the 6 other AAA–PBP TDs, he also had the support of Séamus Healy of the Workers and Unemployed Action, Tommy Broughan of Independents 4 Change, and Independent TD Catherine Connolly.[31]

Campaigns and policies

Domestic policy

Richard Boyd Barrett has campaigned against Ireland's bank-bail outs[32] and the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA),[33] organised protests, and supported initiatives such as The Right to Work Campaign.[34][35][36] He also proposed direct investment in public enterprise and strategic industry to create jobs in areas such as renewable energy, food production, generic medicines and IT development.[37] Boyd Barrett has organised a campaign to oppose the sale of St Michael's Hospital to private developers, led campaigns to protect public amenities in Dún Laoghaire,[34] including the Save Our Seafront campaign against a high rise development on the site of the Dún Laoghaire baths,[38][39][40] and he has also campaigned to prevent the acquisition of Dún Laoghaire harbour by private companies.

Foreign policy

Boyd Barrett helped to organise mass protests against the war in Iraq in 2003.[41][42] He addressed the Dublin leg of the 20 March 2003 International Day of Action.[43] He said that it was "almost certain" that any war would lead to between 50,000 and 100,000 deaths.[44] He said "the complicity of the Irish Government in this murderous war through providing facilities for the US military at Shannon airport" was "an absolute disgrace" and urged people to protest in their thousands "to show this carnage is not being mounted in our names".[45] In 2009, he supported the pro-democracy protests in Iran.[46]

In March 2005, according to the Irish Anti-War organisation, Boyd Barrett attended the Cairo Anti-war Conference in Cairo, Egypt, focusing on American intervention in Iraq.[47]

In 2007, he called for Ibrahim Moussawi, head of the Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar TV station, to be allowed to enter Ireland to attend a Dublin conference organised by the Irish Anti-War Movement. According to the Irish Independent, Boyd Barrett said that banning Moussawi amounted to the suppression of "free public debate in the country".[48]

In April 2009, Boyd Barrett addressed the Al-Aqsa Conference in Dublin.[49] He said that Israel is "a state built on violence, oppression and apartheid" and "has no right to exist as long as it denies rights to Palestinians."[49]


  1. "Richard Boyd Barrett". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  2. "Cusack reunited with son she gave up for adoption". The Independent. 26 May 2007. Archived from the original on 1 March 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  3. "Gardaí relax Dromoland protest restriction". RTÉ News. 22 June 2004. Retrieved 14 August 2007. After a meeting between the Gardaí and representatives of the movement in Portlaoise this afternoon, spokesperson Richard Boyd Barrett said that while they were pleased the protest would be allowed to go so close to Dromoland Castle, they were disappointed that a request to continue the protest afterwards to Shannon Airport had been turned down by the Gardaí.
  4. Donald, Niall (3 June 2007). "Harney The Deal Breaker". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 14 August 2007. Yesterday, Richard Boyd Barrett of the Irish Anti-War Movement called on Tony Gregory and Finian McGrath not to enter government with Fianna Fáil. He said the independent TDs had pledged not to back a Government that allowed the US military use of Shannon Airport. Boyd Barrett added: "Anybody who signed the pledge on the issue of the use of Shannon by the US military I would expect should stick to their principles on the issue."
  5. Maguire, Steven (18 February 2007). "Jim: Let U.S. Troops Land In Donegal". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 14 August 2007. But Richard Boyd Barrett of the Irish Anti-War Movement said: "It is hugely immoral for anyone and especially a GP like Dr McDaid to tout for business on the back of 650,000 lives being lost."
  6. Lynch, Donal (19 May 2013). "The twist of fate that links Richard Boyd Barrett and Fr Michael Cleary". Irish Independent. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  7. Lynch, Donal (12 May 2013). "Dowling was my father, his death saddens me". Sunday Independent.
  8. Law, Murphy (7 July 2007). "Socialist? Yes but not always". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  9. "Ciarán Cuffe". Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  10. Minihan, Mary (11 November 2010). "Higgins and Boyd Barrett to contest election under left-wing alliance". Irish Times. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
  11. "Election Briefs: ULA not to be on ballot paper". The Herald. 2 February 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  12. "Richard Boyd Barrett". Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  13. "Hanafin falls in Dún Laoghaire". Newstalk. 27 February 2011.
  14. "Boyd-Barrett takes last Dún Laoghaire seat". The Irish Times. 27 February 2011.
  15. "Fresh-minted TDs emerge from 'Group of Death'". The Irish Times. 28 February 2011.
  16. "Protest over Dublin Bus cuts". The Irish Times. 1 April 2011.
  17. "Politicians unite, for once, to condemn callous killing". Irish Independent. 6 April 2011.
  18. "Prominent TDs in Left Alliance deny split over motion". The Irish Times. 5 April 2011.
  19. Nihill, Cían (19 September 2011). "Boost for Norris as left-wing TDs to support nomination". The Irish Times.
  20. "Richard Boyd Barrett welcomes the release of pensioner Teresa Tracey". The Socialist Worker. 7 October 2011.
  21. O'Halloran, Marie (6 October 2011). "Noonan concedes Boyd Barrett has an economic point". The Irish Times.
  22. "Protests held in Dublin, Cork". The Irish Times. 15 October 2011.
  23. Cullen, Paul (6 October 2011). "Socialists target Government's political agenda". The Irish Times.
  24. "Michael Noonan defends 'lesser of two evils'". RTÉ News. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  25. "TDs would go to jail over household charge". RTÉ News. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  26. "Troika holds Opposition meetings". The Irish Times. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  27. "ULA Agenda: The First Item" (PDF). The Phoenix. 10 February 2012.
  28. "Oireachtas delegation in Bundestag meeting". RTÉ News. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  29. Brennan, Michael. "Richard Boyd Barrett claims €12,000 for car repairs and travelling 12km to Dail". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  30. McQuinn, Cormac (10 March 2016). "Parties nominate their leaders to be the next Taoiseach". Irish Independent.
  31. "Nomination of Taoiseach (Continued)". Oireachtas. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  32. Taylor, Charlie (30 April 2010). "Protesters against bank bailout will march to Dáil on May 11th". Irish Times. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  33. "Call for mass protest against Nama". 9 February 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  34. "Campaigns". Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  35. "Right to Work Campaign: Enough is Enough". Irish Left Review. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  36. "Programme of the United Left Alliance – Building a Real Political Alternative". United Left Alliance. United Left Alliance. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  37. "An Alternative Economic Agenda" (PDF). People Before Profit. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  38. Brennan, Michael (28 May 2007). "Cusack's son Boyd Barrett springs another surprise". Irish Independent.
  39. "Save Our Seafront – Campaign to Save Dun Laoghaire Baths". 19 May 2005. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  40. "Baths Proposal: A Long Overdue Step Forward". Socialist Workers Party. 6 October 2010. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011.
  41. "Large crowd expected at anti-war rally in Dublin". Irish Times. 3 March 2003. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  42. Brennan, Michael (28 May 2007). "Cusack's son Boyd Barrett springs another surprise". Irish Independent. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  43. Bruce, Helen (20 March 2003). "Thousands prepare to march against Irish role in Iraq war". Irish Independent. Retrieved 20 March 2003.
  44. "Unions seek support for anti-war day". RTÉ News. 6 February 2003. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  45. "Irish anti-war movement calls for mass protests". 20 March 2003.
  46. "Irish Anti-War Movement Defend the right of Iranians to protest for democratic change". Press Release. The Irish Anti-War Movement. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  47. "Irish Anti-War Movement". Cairo Conference Challenges US Propaganda. Retrieved 7 May 2005.
  48. "Editorial". War of words over Islamist's Irish visit. 25 November 2012.
  49. Fitzgerald, Mary (4 April 2009). "Violence in Gaza a 'victory' for Palestinians". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
Preceded by
Mary Hanafin
(Fianna Fáil)
People Before Profit Teachta Dála for Dún Laoghaire
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