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Ben Briscoe (born 11 March 1934) is a former Irish Fianna Fáil politician. He was a Teachta Dála (TD) for 37 years, representing a series constituencies in Dublin.[1] In 1988–1989 he was Lord Mayor of Dublin, a post previously held by his father Robert.

Briscoe was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1965 General Election, for the Dublin South West constituency, succeeding his father, Robert Briscoe who had been a TD for 38 years. He was elected at the 1969 General Election for Dublin South Central, where he was re-elected in 1973, and after major bouundary changes for the 1977 election, he was elected for the new Dublin Rathmines West constituency. That seat was abolished for the 1981 General Election, when he was returned for the re-established Dublin South Central constituency, which he held until he retired at the 2002 General Election.[2].

In the 1992 General Election Ben Briscoe was involved in a marathon recount battle with Democratic Left's Eric Byrne to decide the fate of the final seat in Dublin South Central. Briscoe was declared the victor after ten days of re-counting and re-checking ballot papers, leading to his quote "the agony and the ex-TD[3]." It was the first time that an original result was over-turned in an election in the modern Irish state.

The Molly Malone statue on Grafton Street, was unveiled by then Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alderman Ben Briscoe during 1988 the Dublin Millennium celebrations, declaring June 13 officially as Molly Malone Day.[4].

Briscoe is one of Ireland's most famous Jewish politicians, the Briscoe's hold the distinction of being the longest serving family in the Irish Dáil[5]. The small Irish Jewish community have been enthusiastic and active participants in political and legal world. Briscoe's father was one of several Jews involved in the War of Independence and Sinn Fein movements, which led to the Jewish community being targeted by British occupation forces. In Briscoe's time each of the three main political parties had a Jewish member in Ireland's 166-member Dail. Ireland was the first country to specifically guarantee the rights of the Jewish religion in its constitution, significantly drawn up in 1937[6]. Jack Lynch later introduced the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland Act of 1973 officially removed the Roman Catholic Church as the state church in equal recognition of other religions including the Jewish Congregations.

References

  1. ^ "Mr. Ben Briscoe". Oireachtas Members Database. http://www.oireachtas.ie/members-hist/default.asp?housetype=0&HouseNum=27&MemberID=100&ConstID=91. Retrieved 2008-03-09.  
  2. ^ "Ben Briscoe's electoral history". ElectionsIreland.org. http://electionsireland.org/candidate.cfm?ID=2770. Retrieved 2008-03-09.  
  3. ^ Corry, Eoghan: I'm Glad You Asked Me That, Irish Political Quotations (Hodder 2007). Original reference can be found in Irish Times December 7, 1992
  4. ^ "Irish traditions". http://www.irishtraditionsonline.com/servlet/the-96/Irish-Sculpture-Art/Detail.  
  5. ^ "Shamrock Club". http://shamrockclubwis.com/Reflections/2009February.pdf.  
  6. ^ Price, Stanley: Somewhere to Hang My Hat: An Irish-Jewish Journey (2002).

External links

Civic offices
Preceded by
Carmencita Hederman
Lord Mayor of Dublin
1988–1989
Succeeded by
Seán Haughey
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