*Madeline Taylor-Quinn being honoured for her contribution to Clare County Council by former Mayor, Tony Mulcahy. Photograph: Sean McInerney.

Clare’s first female TD features in a new publication chronicling the contribution of women to politics Cumann na nGaedhael and Fine Gael.

Elected to Dáil Éireann in 1981, Madeline Taylor Quinn describes her thirty years as a public representative as a privilege, two years previous she stood successfully for Clare County Council. A chapter is dedicated to the Kilrush woman in ‘Proud to Serve: The Voices of the Women of Cumann na nGaedheal and Fine Gael 1922-1992’ which is written by Martina Murray and Maria Hegarty.

Launched on Tuesday by An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar (FG), the online event to celebrate its release also included a panel discussion with Minster for Justice Helen McEntee (FG), former Justice Ministers Frances Fitzgerald (FG) and Nora Owen (FG) which was moderated by Cllr Yemi Adenuga (FG).

During her teenage years, Madeline made speeches in churches across the county when her father Frank ran for election in 1969. She set up branches of Young Fine Gael in Kilrush and UCG while she was the first individual outside the parliamentary party to hold the post of honorary secretary.

She recalled, “I had this wonderful, naïve view that if you got actively involved in the political system you could actually forge change in society. In my latter teenage years, I was particularly concerned about the poverty I saw around parts of rural Clare. I thought the treatment of women who got pregnant outside marriage was wrong, and the way children born outside wedlock were treated was appalling. People claimed to have all these great Christian principles, but they were applying none of them to children”.

After losing her Dáil a seat in February 1982, she sat on the Seanad until returning to the Dáil in November of that year. In the book, she revealed that rumours of drink-driving and getting an abortion in England were circulated to upend her chances in a “character assassination”. She addressed the issue at the next convention threatening to pursue legal action with anyone found to spread such falsehoods. “There were about eight hundred people there that evening, and afterwards not one person asked me what I was talking about. That, to me, was the biggest shock. It was much wider known than I had realised, and nobody had said it to me”.

Taylor-Quinn continued as a TD until 1992, serving on the front bench as Fine Gael’s spokesperson on Marine, Defence and European Security for six years alongside Clarecastle’s Donal Carey, she referred to them as a duo as “some kind of pin-up novelties”. She returned to the Seanad from 1992 until 2002 where she was Deputy Leader.

MTQ is credited with saving Fine Gael from losing their representation to Sinn Féin in the Ireland North-West Constituency during her run for European office. She polled 43,400 votes and helped to elect Jim Higgins (FG). She retired from Clare County Council in 2009, prior to this she became the party’s first Mayor of the local authority.

“Women around an issue can be a powerful force, but until you get more of a body of women involved in the organisation, you can’t possibly have as many women coming to the surface in conventions, despite the quota. As women we were part of a change and our presence brought a different view point into Dáil and parliamentary party discussions on many issues. You wouldn’t be even aware sometimes of where you were making an impact,” she outlined.

Related News

save ennis town rally 18-05-24 5
Flynn promises to go 'as far I can' with judicial review against riverside developments of Ennis 2040
Leah Walsh Heidi Warner Willow Warner Sorlaith Vaughan Aine Counihan
Willow cycles 100km for Irish Guide Dogs
delta airlines
Delta launch daily flights from Shannon to JFK
shannon md election debate 17-05-24
The Electoral Chair: Shannon Municipal District election debate
Latest News
save ennis town rally 18-05-24 5
Flynn promises to go 'as far I can' with judicial review against riverside developments of Ennis 2040
Leah Walsh Heidi Warner Willow Warner Sorlaith Vaughan Aine Counihan
Willow cycles 100km for Irish Guide Dogs
delta airlines
Delta launch daily flights from Shannon to JFK
clare v cork camogie 28-04-24 john carmody 1
Carmody & Clare have targeted Down game from the get-go
shannon md election debate 17-05-24
The Electoral Chair: Shannon Municipal District election debate
Premium
mark roche avenue utd goal
Roche adding a spark in Avenue's bid to win three in a row
save ennis town rally 18-05-24 32
'This isn't over yet' - Save Ennis Town warn 'we're not going anywhere'
avenue utd v newmarket celtic 31-05-23 13 nnabuike nneji
The Water Break: Fierce rivals Avenue Utd & Newmarket Celtic face off in Clare soccer's showpiece event
ennis courthouse tent 24-02-21 3
Son tells mother "I am going to kill Benson" before stabbing 'beloved' Pug dog seven times
clare v cork camogie 28-04-24 áine o'loughlin 1
O'Loughlin leading Clare side into 'massive' opening championship encounter

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Scroll to Top