Kathleen Lynch (politician)

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Kathleen Lynch
Kathleen Lynch 2013.jpg
Minister of State for Primary Care, Mental Health and Disability
In office
10 March 2011 – 6 May 2016
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Preceded by New office
Succeeded by Finian McGrath
Teachta Dála
In office
May 2002 – February 2016
In office
November 1994 – June 1997
Constituency Cork North-Central
Personal details
Born (1953-06-07) 7 June 1953 (age 65)
Cork, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Labour Party
Other political
Democratic Left,
Workers' Party
Spouse(s) Bernard Lynch
Children 4
Alma mater University College Cork

Kathleen Lynch (born 7 June 1953) is a former Irish Labour Party politician who served as Minister of State for Primary Care, Mental Health and Disability from 2011 to 2016. She served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Cork North-Central constituency from 1994 to 1997 and 2002 to 2016.[1]

Early life

Kathleen Lynch was born in Cork.


She first became involved in politics in 1985 when she was elected to Cork Corporation for the Workers' Party. She came to prominence as a campaigner against service charges being introduced by the corporation. When that party split in 1992, Lynch and other members of the Cork organisation were initially undecided as to their stance, but she subsequently decided to follow former party president Proinsias De Rossa and the bulk of the party's TDs into the new organisation which later took the name Democratic Left. Lynch was first elected to Dáil Éireann as Democratic Left TD for Cork North-Central at a by-election in 1994 caused by the death of Labour Party TD Gerry O'Sullivan. She lost her Dáil seat at the 1997 general election but was re-elected again at the 2002 general election, this time for the Labour Party following the merger of Democratic Left with that party in 1999.[2]

She is married to Bernard Lynch and they have three daughters and one son. Bernard Lynch was a member of Official Sinn Féin.[3] She is a sister-in-law to Ciarán Lynch who is a Labour Party TD for Cork South Central and of Cork City Council Councilor Catherine Clancy, who originally had been co-opted to replace her on the council.[4]

On 10 March 2011, she was appointed as Minister of State for Disability, Equality and Mental Health. The position was changed to Minister of State for Primary Care, Mental Health and Disability in July 2014.

She lost her seat at the 2016 general election.[2] She remained as a junior minister in an acting capacity during prolonged talks on government formation.[5]

Shortly after losing her seat Lynch gave an interview to Catherine Shanahan of the Irish Examiner in which she praised former cabinet colleagues James Reilly and Alan Shatter, was scathing of Leo Varadkar, Michael McDowell and Róisín Shortall, spoke of her preference for Brendan Howlin (or even Seán Sherlock) over Alan Kelly, and stated, among other things, that she had no idea as to why Máiría Cahill was chosen as the party's by-election candidate.[6][7]


In April 2008, she was involved in a controversy where she wrote a letter testifying the good character of the parents of a man accused of raping two teenage sisters. The man was convicted and sentenced for 13 years.[8] In a statement she said: "Having heard an interview with one of the victims in the case, who was clearly distressed by my letter and having considered the matter and discussed it with colleagues I now accept that it was inappropriate for a TD to have become involved in any way in a case of such seriousness. If my action has in any way added to the ordeal of the two victims in this case, then I deeply regret that and offer them my apologies."[9]

In June 2011, Kathleen Lynch caused controversy when she appointed her husband, Bernard, to the role as personal assistant, which is a taxpayer-funded role.[10] The Mail on Sunday then reported that Bernard Lynch had been convicted of the murder of Larry White in Cork in 1975, and that the conviction had been overturned by the appeals court when a statement was ruled inadmissible because the legal period of detention had elapsed when the statement was taken.[3][11]


  1. ^ "Ms. Kathleen Lynch". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 27 September 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Kathleen Lynch". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 27 September 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Family of murdered republican calls for removal of Minister's assistant by Paul Cullen, The Irish Times - Saturday, June 25, 2011
  4. ^ Catherine Clancy Election History www.electionsireland.org
  5. ^ McGrath, Meadhbh (6 May 2016). "Revealed: The salaries TDs pocketed over 10 weeks of government talks". Irish Independent. 
  6. ^ Shanahan, Catherine (21 March 2016). "Kathleen Lynch: 'I think Labour probably needs a different leader now'". Irish Examiner. 
  7. ^ O'Connell, Hugh (21 March 2016). "'So obsessed with publicity': Outgoing Labour minister's parting shot at Leo". TheJournal.ie. 
  8. ^ "TD apologises over letter in rape case". RTÉ News. 20 April 2008. 
  9. ^ "Statement by Deputy Kathleen Lynch re Cork court case". Labour Party website. 20 April 2008. Archived from the original on 11 February 2011. 
  10. ^ "TDs break cronyism pledge by giving jobs to family members". Irish Independent. 7 June 2011. 
  11. ^ "Bernard Lynch serves as assistant to his junior minister wife". MailOnline. 19 June 2011. 

External links

  • Kathleen Lynch's page on the Labour Party website
Preceded by
Gerry O'Sullivan
(Labour Party)
Democratic Left Teachta Dála for Cork North-Central
Succeeded by
Noel O'Flynn
(Fianna Fáil)
Preceded by
Liam Burke
(Fine Gael)
Labour Party Teachta Dála for Cork North-Central
Succeeded by
Mick Barry
(AAA-PBP Party)
Political offices
New office Minister of State for Primary Care, Mental Health and Disability
Succeeded by
Finian McGrath
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