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Jim Gibbons (Irish politician)

From Academic Kids

Jim Gibbons (1924 - 1997) was a senior Irish politician.

Jim Gibbons was born in 1924. He was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil TD for the first time following the 1957 General Election. In 1969 he was apponted Minister for Defence, however he was removed from the position one year later in 1970 following the outbreak of the 'Arms Crisis.' In the subsequent trial the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Agriculture, Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney, were found not guilty of an illegal attempt to import arms into the country. During the trial Gibbons' evidence completely contradicted Haughey's. Gibbons was alleged to have been the dishonest one, an allegation that affected him deeply. Years later when Haughey returned to the Fianna Fáil front bench Gibbons hoped for a 'rapprochment' with Haughey. This never happened. Following the Crisis Gibbons served as Minister for Agriculture.

In 1979 Haughey replaced Jack Lynch as Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach. Gibbons lost his place at Cabinet. In February 1982, Gibbons was physically assaulted in the main hall of Leinster House by a mob of Haughey supporters after a heave against the leader. In the aftermath, new swivel doors were erected to prevent mobs pushing their way into the parliament building. The incident is recounted by Desmond O'Malley in the RTÉ documentary series Seven Ages, although O'Malley does not mention Gibbons by name. After his death over a decade later, Gibbons' son revealed that his father had never fully recovered from the physical assault on him.

Later in 1982 Gibbons suffered a heart attack and was unable to travel to Dáil Éireann to vote for Haughey in a no confidence motion. Haughey lost by just two votes and the government was dissolved. Gibbons lost his Dáil seat in the second General Election of 1982 and retired from politics. Gibbons suffered a series of heart attacks and strokes over the last fifteen years of his life and his health steadily deteriorated.

Jim Gibbons died on December 20, 1997 aged 73.

Political Career


Preceded by:
Donagh O'Malley
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance
1965-1969
Succeeded by:
Noel T. Lemass
Preceded by:
Michael Hilliard
Minister for Defence
1969–1970
Succeeded by:
Jerry Cronin
Preceded by:
Neil Blaney
Minister for Agriculture & Fisheries
1970–1973
Succeeded by:
Mark Clinton
Preceded by:
Mark Clinton
Minister for Agriculture
1977–1979
Succeeded by:
Ray MacSharry

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