Former Fine Gael TD and senator Alexis Fitzgerald dies

Popular politican was key figure in party’s renewal in 70s and 80s

 

The former Fine Gael TD and senator Alexis Fitzgerald has died, aged 70.

While his political career was short-lived, Mr Fitzgerald was one of the prominent figures in the renewal of Fine Gael in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

His marriage in 1982 to fellow Fine Gael TD Mary Flaherty, while he was Lord Mayor of Dublin, attracted huge publicity at the time and brought both of them to national prominence.

Mr Fitzgerald’s open and outgoing manner made him a popular figure in Leinster House and he polled well local elections topping the poll as an alderman in 1974 and retaining that position at subsequent local elections.

Mr Fitzgerald, who was born in May 1945 and educated at Gongaza College and Clongowes Wood, was active in Fine Gael from a young age. His uncle Alexis senior was a leading figure in the party and a long-serving senator.

Mr Fitzgerald was associated with the reforming Young Tigers in the party and first ran for the Dail in 1973 in Dublin Central but failed to get elected.

He also failed to make it in 1977 and 1981 but made the breakthrough in the election of February 1982.

However, his Dáil career was short-lived as lost his seat in the second election of that year in November.

Mr Fitzgerald was elected to the Seanad in 1981, replacing his uncle Alexis Fitzgerald, and he returned to the Seanad after the loss of his Dáil seat.

He did not contest the 1987 election and retired from national politics to resume his career as an estate agent.

Ms Flaherty was appointed as a junior minister in the Department of Social Welfare by then taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald. She remained in the Dáil until 1997 when she left politics to work for a children’s charity.

Mr Fitzgerald is survived by his wife and four children.

Dublin’s current Lord Mayor, Sinn Féin’s Críona Ní Dhálaigh, expressed her regret on the death of Mr Fitzgerald.

“I wish to offer my and Dublin City Council’s condolences to Alexis’s wife Mary, their family, friends and colleagues. Alexis served Dublin City with distinction both as a Councillor and as Lord Mayor. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time,” she said.