Gerard Craughwell served in Royal Irish Rangers second battalion for five years

Profile of the new Independent Senator from Galway

Senator Gerard Craughwell. Photograph: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Senator Gerard Craughwell. Photograph: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland


Born in Galway City and brought up in Salthill, Gerard Craughwell wanted to sign up for the Irish Army as a teenager but a Passionist priest uncle based in Belfast would not hear of him joining.

He went to London aged 16 where he worked in the “Hog in the Pound” pub near Bond Street Tube station. A customer told him he was wasting his time and should enlist in the British Army.

The young Craughwell served in the Royal Irish Rangers second battalion for five years, leaving for “political reasons, not mine”.

He returned to Ireland and joined the first infantry battalion in Dún Uí Mhaoilíosa, Renmore Barracks, rising to the rank of Sergeant before he left in 1980.

Business beckoned, and with Galway Appliance Services Ltd. he repaired cookers and heaters after taking over Mr Craughwell’s father’s contract with Calor Kosangas.

“I got a little too big for my boots and went bust spectacularly in ’83. We lost our home,” he said.

He drove a delivery truck for around six months on what would now be termed a zero hours contract before getting a job with Aughinish Aluminia as a fire security officer.

An accident in which he twisted his spine saw him leave the workforce for a period on long-term disability.

After enrolling in Limerick Senior College at the age of 35 he took a part-time diploma and then a post-graduate degree while teaching part-time before moving into teaching full-time.

A job came up in Co Dublin and within three years he was assistant principal at Senior College Dun Laoghaire. He became active in the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) and served as its president from 2012 until June of this year.

He is married to Helen and has two adult children.