Martin Mansergh

Martin Mansergh
Minister of State at the Department of Finance
In office
May 2008  February 2011
Taoiseach Brian Cowen
Preceded by Noel Ahern
Succeeded by Brian Hayes
Teachta Dála
In office
May 2007  February 2011
Constituency Tipperary South
In office
September 2002  May 2007
Constituency Agricultural Panel
Personal details
Born (1946-12-31) 31 December 1946
Surrey, London, United Kingdom
Nationality Irish
Political party Fianna Fáil
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
Religion Church of Ireland

Martin G.S. Mansergh (born 31 December 1946) is an Irish former Fianna Fáil politician and historian. He was a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Tipperary South constituency from 2007 until 2011.[1] He was previously a Senator from 2002 to 2007. He played a leading role in formulating Fianna Fáil policy on Northern Ireland.

Early and personal life

Mansergh was born on 31 December 1946 in Woking, Surrey, England to Diana Mary (née Keeton) and Professor Nicholas Mansergh OBE, a Tipperary-born Irish historian.[2] He was raised in England and lived in the Cambridgeshire town of Little Shelford. He was educated at The King's School, Canterbury and Christ Church, Oxford, studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics and obtaining a Doctorate in philosophy for a study of pre-revolutionary French history. An Anglican, Mansergh is a member of the Church of Ireland.[3]


He entered the Department of Foreign Affairs, being appointed a Third secretary in 1974 and became a First Secretary in 1977. Later recruited by Taoiseach Charles Haughey, he has worked for the Fianna Fáil party ever since, serving under three Fianna Fáil leaders as Director of Research, Policy and Special Advisor on Northern Ireland where he was involved in discussions between the nationalist parties and the Irish Government and met regularly with intermediary Father Alec Reid.

Mansergh was a key member of the teams which formed the Fianna FáilLabour Party coalition in 1992 and the Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats coalition in 1997. As a senior adviser to successive Taoisigh, Mansergh has played a key role in the Northern Ireland peace process over the last twenty years. He ran for Fianna Fáil as a Dáil candidate in the Tipperary South constituency at the 2002 general election but failed to be elected with 14.2% of the poll.[4] However, Mansergh was elected to the 22nd Seanad by the Agricultural Panel in July of that year. At the 2007 general election he again ran for Fianna Fáil as a Dáil candidate in the Tipperary South constituency, this time being elected with 15.7% of the poll.[5] He was formerly a member of the Irish Council of State.

Until 2006 he wrote a weekly column for The Irish Times, but resigned because of the upcoming general election. In May 2008, he was appointed as Minister of State at the Department of Finance with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works, as well as Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism with special responsibility for the Arts.

In January 2009, he offered to quit his junior ministry post to save money and called on people to retain their Celtic Tiger style optimism and self-respect. He said: "We're not going to get anywhere by completely throwing overboard our self respect. We have achieved a tremendous amount in the past 20 years – they were the best 20 years in our history. There will be cycles – we rose very high and we are where we are now. We have to work our way out of this intelligently".

He lost his seat at the 2011 general election.[1]

Media image

Mansergh has been a strong supporter of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, whose financial affairs are under investigation by the Mahon Tribunal. He has been accused by some commentators of being insulting, condescending and petulant to opposition politicians.[6]

On an RTÉ radio[7] show Morning Ireland in February 2008, Mansergh reassured listeners that Ahern's difficulties were no more than a spot of inflight turbulence, with a safe landing in sight. When Fine Gael's tribunal expert, Senator Eugene Regan dissented, Mansergh became quite agitated, questioning why Regan wanted to question Ahern's finances declaring to Regan that: You should have respect for your betters![7]

Honours and Awards

Along with Fr Alec Reid and the Reverend Roy Magee, he was awarded the 1995 Tipperary International Peace Award,[8] now described as "Ireland's outstanding award for humanitarian work".[9]


  1. 1 2 "Dr. Martin Mansergh". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  2. Martin Mansergh interviewed by Tommy Graham, "In the Service of the State", History Ireland Magazine, Vol. 12, no.3, Autumn 2004, pp.43–6.
  3. Ellis, Ian (8 October 2010). "Canon Ian Ellis Interviews Minister Martin Mansergh TD" (audio). Church of Ireland Gazette. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  4. "Martin Mansergh". Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  5. "General election 2007 – Tipperary South". Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  6. "The Big House Award for Maintaining Standards and Putting Manners on the Lower Orders". The Irish Times. 27 December 2008.
  7. 1 2 "RTÉ Radio interview link". RTÉ News. 22 February 2008.
  8. "Tipperary Peace Convention". Tipperary Peace Convention. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  9. Ralph Riegel (August 21, 2013). "Mandela, Clinton and Geldof among the former winners". Irish Independent. Retrieved May 25, 2015.

Further reading

Preceded by
Séamus Healy
Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Tipperary South
Succeeded by
Séamus Healy
Political offices
Preceded by
Noel Ahern
Minister of State at the Department of Finance
(with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works)

Succeeded by
Brian Hayes
New office Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism
(with special responsibility for the Arts)

Succeeded by
Office abolished
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