Government of the 25th Dáil

Government of the 25th Dáil
20th Government of Ireland
Date formed 10 March 1987
Date dissolved 12 July 1989
People and organisations
Head of government Charles Haughey
Deputy head of government Brian Lenihan, Snr
Head of state Patrick Hillery
Total number of ministers 15
Member parties Fianna Fáil
Status in legislature Minority Government
Opposition leader Alan Dukes (Fine Gael)
Election(s) 1987 general election
Legislature term(s) 25th Dáil
Predecessor 19th Government of Ireland
Successor 21st Government of Ireland

The 25th Dáil was elected at the 1987 general election on 17 February 1987 and first met on 10 March when the 20th Government of Ireland was appointed. The 25th Dáil lasted 849 days.

20th Government of Ireland

The 20th Government of Ireland (10 March 1987 – 12 July 1989) was formed by the Fianna Fáil party.[1] It was a minority government which had the qualified support of Fine Gael,[2] the main opposition party. The national debt had doubled under the previous government. The government introduced budget cuts in all departments. The taxation system was also reformed. One of the major schemes put forward, and one which would have economic benefits for the country, was the establishment of the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Dublin. During this period the Government organised the 1,000-year anniversary of the founding of Dublin.[3]

Office Name Term
Taoiseach Charles Haughey 1987–89
Minister for the Gaeltacht
Tánaiste Brian Lenihan 1987–89
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Minister for Agriculture and Food Michael O'Kennedy[4] 1987–89
Minister for Communications John Wilson 1987
Minister for Defence Michael J. Noonan 1987–89
Minister for Education Mary O'Rourke 1987–89
Minister for Energy Ray Burke 1987–88
Minister for the Environment Pádraig Flynn 1987–89
Minister for Finance Ray MacSharry 1987–88
Minister for the Public Service 1987
Minister for Tourism and Transport
Minister for Health Rory O'Hanlon 1987–89
Minister for Industry and Commerce Albert Reynolds 1987–88
Minister for Justice Gerry Collins 1987–89
Minister for Labour Bertie Ahern 1987–89
Minister for the Marine Brendan Daly 1987–89
Minister for Social Welfare Michael Woods 1987–89
Office Name Term
Minister for Communications Ray Burke 1987–89
Minister for Tourism and Transport John Wilson 1987–89

Changes 24 November 1988

Following the appointment of Ray MacSharry as European Commissioner.

Office Name Term
Minister for Finance Albert Reynolds 1988–89
Minister for Industry and Commerce Ray Burke 1988–89
Minister for Energy Michael Smith 1988–89


The 20th government passed three budgets through the 1987, 1988 and 1989 Finance Acts The Finance minister Ray MacSharry committed himself to bringing order to the public finances and the poor economic situation. His cutting of state spending earned him the nickname Mack the Knife.

During this time he came to be identified as Haughey's heir apparent as Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader. MacSharry, however wanted to leave politics by the time he was forty-five. He was fifty and had achieved some of the highest offices in the Irish government. In 1988 MacSharry's was appointed European Commissioner. As a result of this he resigned his Dáil seat and ended his domestic political career.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce Albert Reynolds blocked the hostile takeover of Irish Distillers by Grand Metropolitan. The company was eventually sold to Pernod Ricard for $440 million.[5]


During this period major industrial action was taken by Junior doctors. 1,800 doctors went on strike to protest their lack of job security and the governments cuts to the health budget.[6]

During this period a large number of haemophiliacs contracted HIV and Hepatitis C from contaminated blood products supplied by the Blood Transfusion Service Board.


In 1988 the Irish Prison officers association went on strike. The government had to use 1,000 Gardaí and 300 soldiers to guard the prisons.[7]

Foreign affairs

Northern Ireland

See also: The Troubles

During this period the government faced serious difficulties dealing with Northern Ireland and the IRA. After the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement Relations improved between the Republic and Britain. However, there were tensions between the governments over the imprisonment of the Birmingham six and the apparent shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland policy of the security forces in Northern Ireland. Formal protest was made by the government following the Loughgall Ambush where eight IRA members and a civilian were killed by a SAS unit.[8]

Relations improved with the extradition of Paul Kane. His appeal to the justice minister for freedom was rejected. Kane escaped from the Maze Prison in 1983 after being convicted of firearm offences.[9]

During this period the IRA managed to smuggle a gun into the Four Courts in an attempted prison escape.[10]

Constitutional amendment

On 26 May 1987 the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland was approved by referendum. This permitted the state to ratify the Single European Act.

Acts of the Oireachtas passed


Constitutional Amendments



See also


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