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Wednesday 23 October 2019

Exploring legacy of Brendan Corish

Brendan Corish
Brendan Corish

Anna Hayes

The Irish Labour History Society (ILHS) is hosting a special conference, focusing on the life and politics of Brendan Corish, on Saturday from 12.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.

Born in Wexford on November 19, 1918 to Richard and Catherine Corish, Brendan Corish was educated at the CBS and went on to join the clerical staff of Wexford County Council at the age of 19. He was elected to Dáil Éireann in 1945 in a by-election upon the death of his father who had held a seat for Labour since 1922.

In the Labour/Fine Gael coalition of 1973 to 1977 he became Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Social Welfare; during this time significant achievements in the area of labour legislation, social welfare provisions and reforms, and the biggest social housing programme up to or since, were achieved.

He retired from the Dáil in 1982 and Wexford did not have a Labour TD again until 1987 when Brendan Howlin was elected. He died on February 17, 1990.

On Saturday, a variety of speakers, from political and union backgrounds, will explore his political legacy while family members will focus on their personal interactions and memories of him.

Following the official opening of the conference, with speeches by the council Cathaoirleach, Mayor of Wexford and chairperson of Wexford Trades Council Joe Thomas.

The first session of the day, which will be chaired by Jack McGinley, President of the ILHS, will feature discussions from family members Richard Corish (son) and Helen Corish (niece), who followed in her uncle's footsteps by participating in local politics, serving as Mayor in 1990/1991. Francis Devine will focus on the Corish Family and the ITGWU and Barry Desmond will discuss the 1973-1977 Coalition government.

In the second session of the afternoon, which will be chaired by Fionnuala Richardson, Vice President ILHS, will start off with Brendan Halligan's paper on Corish and the New Republic. He will be followed by Tony Brown who will discuss 'Corish on Social Welfare: Combatting poverty and social inclusion', and Niall Green will discuss 'Brendan Corish and Labour Party Administrative Reform'.

The evening will conclude with a question and answer session, before current Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin officially closes the conference.

Wexford People

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