FF politician and hurler known as ‘the real Taoiseach’
Ireland’s postal service has issued a new stamp to commemorate former Taoiseach Jack Lynch which was released last Thursday on the hundredth anniversary of his birth.
The €1 commemorative stamp was designed by Vermillion Design and is available, with a very collectable First Day Cover, and both are available at main post offices, at the stamp counters at Dublin’s GPO or online at irishstamps.ie.
John “Jack” Lynch was born on 15 August, 1917. A Cork based barrister and politician, he served two terms as Taoiseach of Ireland, from 1966 to 1973 and from 1977 to 1979.
He first came to prominence locally as an exceptional sportsman, winning five All-Ireland hurling championships with Cork, the county’s first All-Ireland football title and ten senior county championship hurling medals.
He was named as the Hurling Captain of the Forties and in 1984 was placed on the Hurling Team of the Century. His legacy was firmly established in 1999 when he was named on the Hurling Team of the Millennium.
Jack Lynch had been interested in politics from an early age and was first elected to the Dáil as a TD in 1948 at the age of thirty-one. He served as Minister for Education and the Gaeltacht from 1957 to 1959, Minister for Industry and Commerce from 1959 to 1965, and Minister for Finance from 1965 to 1966.
During his first period as Taoiseach the Northern troubles erupted (1969) and his careful stewardship in the face of national and domestic political turmoil was remarkable.
He also oversaw the appointment of the Commission on the Status of Women in 1970, the first politically significant Irish State initiative on women’s rights and the equality agenda.
Lynch set the course for Ireland’s joining the European Economic Community (European Union) in 1973, a defining moment in modern Irish history which contributed to Ireland’s future economic prosperity.
In the general election of 1973 his party Fianna Fáil increased its share of the vote overall but lost the election by the narrowest of margins. Four years later he was returned to office with the largest majority his party had ever enjoyed.
Following an internal power struggle and the emergence of Charles J Haughey, Lynch resigned as Taoiseach of Ireland and leader of Fianna Fáil in 1979.
Lynch remained in the Dáil as a TD until his retirement from politics at the 1981 general election, dying in 1999.