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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Patrick Sarsfield (Paddy) Donegan (29 October 1923 – 26 November 2000) was an Irish Fine Gael Party politician.

He was educated at a Christian Brothers School in Drogheda and at the Vincentian Castleknock College. Donegan was first elected as a Fine Gael Teachta Dála (TD) at the 1954 general election. He lost his seat at the following election but reclaimed it in 1961. In the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government which took power after the 1973 general election Donegan was appointed Minister for Defence.

In October 1976 Donegan made a controversial speech on an official visit to the opening of new kitchen facilities in an army barracks at Mullingar. He described as a 'thundering disgrace'[1] President Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh's refusal to sign the Emergency Powers Act, 1976, instead using his powers under Article 26 of the Constitution to refer it to the Supreme Court. The Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, refused Donegan's resignation, and instead Ó Dálaigh resigned as President of Ireland. The whole episode badly damaged the government's reputation. Donegan is reported to have suffered from alcoholism at the time.

In 1976 Donegan became Minister for Lands, and in 1977 he served briefly as Minister for Fisheries. Donegan retired from politics at the 1981 election, and died in 2000. He was buried in his home town of Monasterboice.

Notes and references

  1. ^ There are claims that the actual words used may have been stronger than "thundering" and "disgrace": see Liam Cosgrave#Taoiseach

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Political offices
Preceded by
Jerry Cronin
Minister for Defence
1973–1976
Succeeded by
Liam Cosgrave
Preceded by
Tom Fitzpatrick
Minister for Lands
1976–1977
Succeeded by
Brian Lenihan
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