Edenderry General Election hopeful inspired into politics by Séan Lemass

'He was a modest man'

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly



Edenderry General Election hopeful inspired into politics by Séan Lemass

Edenderry General Election hopeful inspired into politics by Séan Lemass

John Furey, a member of Edenderry Fianna Fáil Cumann and the nominated candidate by the Cumann for the upcoming General Election Fianna Fáil Convention, has been speaking about his inspiration for taking on a career in politics this weke.

He drew reference to Micheál Martin’s recent speech at the Pendulum Summit where he talked about former Taoiseach Seán Lemass, who was his inspiration.

John Furey also spoke glowingly about Lemass, saying, "he believed that the only way forward for us was to be more open – open to trade, open to ideas, open to cooperation with other countries."

"Lemass understood that we had to challenge ourselves and that even the deepest problems could be overcome in time. And he was proven spectacularly right," he added.

"The robust recovery of recent years has been built on the core long-term foundations which he put in place; a commitment to open markets, a pro-enterprise tax system, membership of the European Union and, most importantly investment in the skills
and ideas of the Irish people."

"However, John said, "by no means was a perfect country created, but we did secure sustained progress in areas where we had once been defined by failure."

"Let’s always remember that the main debate in Europe about Ireland joining what is now the European Union, concerned whether we were just too poor to participate. Inspiration can be drawn from Lemass’ story of rising from a modest background
with no wealth or connections to draw on," he added.

"He fought in the revolution which established our state. He showed incredible leadership as a Minister in creating enterprises which are still in place and in keeping our people fed during a world war."

"However it is the final chapter of his extraordinary life which has had the longest impact. In only a few years he launched a rapid series of initiatives which transformed our country.  Within weeks of becoming Taoiseach his government began the process of opening up to international trade." 

"It also signalled its intention to use education as a driver of progress. The state began a dramatic move to prioritising enterprise and innovation. A programme of law reform was set in train, including the dismantling of absurd censorship laws." 

John commented, "He subsequently began an engagement with Northern Ireland which was central to achieving breakthroughs much later on. And of course he was determined that Ireland would be a full and active participant in rules-based international cooperation, both in Europe and globally."

"He pushed for a strengthened UN which could secure action on deeply important issues like nuclear non-proliferation and human rights. With the lodging of Ireland’s application to join what is now the European Union, this revolutionary nationalist showed that the only way of securing the sovereignty of nations and avoiding a constant cycle of conflict was to build a new type of shared future between nations."

"Born in the last year of the nineteenth century, Seán Lemass was nonetheless a deeply radical man in his commitment to modern ideals and a faith in progress. He was also a modest man who had no interest in the presentation of policies or in
finding ways of claiming credit for them. To him what mattered was substance and results."

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