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Fine Gael maverick Donnegan dead at 77

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — Former Minister Paddy Donegan, whose controversial remarks led to the resignation of President Cearbhall O Dalaigh in 1976, has died aged 77.

The County Louth Fine Gael TD served as defense minister in the 1973-77 coalition led by Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave and caused a constitutional crisis when he called O Dalaigh a “thundering disgrace” after the president had referred the Emergency Powers Bill to the Supreme Court.

When Cosgrave refused to accept his resignation, O Dalaigh, who had been appointed after the sudden death of Erskine Childers, tendered his resignation.

Donegan, who was a TD for 27 years, was famous for his outspoken views and his quotable remarks.

When the Claudia gun-running ship was intercepted off the south coast carrying arms to the Provisional IRA, he released the vessel and the crew and said he had given it “a kick up the transom.”

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A publican and farmer, he was also minister for lands and minister for fisheries.

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