Mark Killilea, Jnr


Mark Killilea, Jnr

Mark Killilea, Jnr (born 5 September 1939) is a former Irish Fianna Fáil party politician from County Galway. In a 30-year political career, served as a Teachta Dála (TD) and Member of the European Parliament and also as a Senator.

Mark Killilea was born in Tuam, County Galway in 1939. His father Mark Killilea, Snr was a Fianna Fáil TD and a founder-member of the party. Killilea Jnr was educated locally and first held political office in 1969, when he was elected to Galway County Council. He was elected to Seanad Éireann on the Labour Panel in 1969 and re-elected ion 1973. He failed to be elected to Dáil Éireann on his first attempt when he stood in Galway North East at the 1973 general election, but four years later at the 1977 general election he won a seat in the new Galway East constituency. The entire election proved to be a landslide for Fianna Fáil and in particular showed the popularity of the party leader and Taoiseach, Jack Lynch.

However, after just two years Lynch's fortunes had changed. Along with Jackie Fahey, Tom McEllistrim, Seán Doherty and Albert Reynolds, Killilea was one of the so-called "gang of five" that lobbied the parliamentary party for support for Charles Haughey in the event of the retirement of Jack Lynch. This group was determined that the leadership should not pass to George Colley, Lynch's apparent successor. Haughey went on to win the leadership contest and became Taoiseach in December 1979.

Killilea's loyalty was rewarded by being appointed Minister of State at the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. He held this position until Fianna Fáil's defeat at the 1981 general election. After changes in constituency boundaries, Killilea had switched to the Galway West constituency in 1981, where he lost his Dáil seat at the February 1982 general election, but was elected to the Seanad where he served until 1987. After Ray MacSharry retired from the European Parliament in 1987, Killilea was appointed as his replacement in the Connacht–Ulster constituency. Killilea held the seat with ease at the 1989 and 1994 European elections, and retired from politics at the 1999 election.

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