Politician and keen litigator on behalf of property owners

Patrick (Paddy) Madigan: November 1936 – April 21st, 2014

Sat, Apr 26, 2014, 00:45

The former Dún Laoghaire Fianna Fáil and then Independent councillor Patrick J (Paddy) Madigan died at the weekend after a long illness.

A solicitor, who established a family practice, and a most enthusiastic litigator on his own behalf and on behalf of property owners and landlords in the 1980s, he successfully challenged the constitutionality of of rent control legislation and won major damages for libel from the Irish Press .

He served as a Dublin County councillor and a member of Dún Laoghaire Corporation in the 1980s and 1990s

In 1994 he publicly wrote to then taoiseach Albert Reynolds to resign from Fianna Fáil and stood successfully as an Independent opposing the residential property tax which he said Charles Haughey had promised him the party would abolish. It was, he said at the time, “the most obnoxious tax ever levied on the Irish people”. In his Blackrock ward, he claimed, 80 per cent of homes were over the tax’s £75,000 threshold.

His earlier litigation over the issue had not succeeded, either in the High Court which ruled against him in November 1983, or the Supreme Court which likewise rejected his appeal the following November. But he was successful in 1981 in challenging the constitutionality of the Rent Restrictions Act and freeing landlords significantly from the constraints of rent control.

Frustrated by RTÉ’s election coverage of his campaign for the European elections in 1994 Madigan unsuccessfully took the station to court in a case that had similarities with that taken by MEP Patricia McKenna. Justice Kinlen held, however, that although RTÉ had an obligation to treat all candidates fairly, that did not mean equally. It was reasonable for its guidelines to consider how they previously performed in assessing how much air time to give them.

In 1987 he won what were then huge damages of £30,000 against the Irish Press over a libel. He claimed the paper had falsely written “he willingly lashed out £300” at a Fianna Fáil fundraising auction for a map of Haughey’s island of Inishvickillaune, thinking it was unique. The paper claimed Madigan had complained to Haughey when he discovered the truth. None of which, the paper admitted, was true and it apologised. Madigan produced evidence to show that he had been ridiculed after the story appeared to have irreparably damaged his prospects for an FF Dáil nomination. The Supreme Court upheld the award.


Enthusiastic rugby player
Paddy Madigan was born in Kiltimagh but lived for many years in Killadangan, Westport. He attended Kiltimagh National School, Murrisk National School, CBS, Westport, Rockwell College, UCG and UCD. He qualified as a solicitor and practiced in Dublin. His wife, Patricia Madigan, was a barrister.

A keen rugby player in his youth, he captained Rockwell and UCG, and played for Lansdowne RFC. He was an enthusiastic tennis and squash player and in retirement took to sailing on his boat in Lough Derg. He was also secretary and member of the Mayo Association in Dublin in the 1960s.

Six of their children entered the legal profession and his daughter Josepha Madigan is standing for Fine Gael in Stillorgan in next month’s local elections. He is survived by Patricia, his brother Sean and sister Barbara, his children, Patrick, Josepha, Fenella, Vanora, Carleen,and Edwina, and 10 grandchildren.