The city of Dublin is home to some of the world’s most influential and powerful men: politicians, businessmen, journalists and more. Each one of these high-profile individuals in the city has their own unique way of dominating it. Whether that be through business or political influence, each doon (as they are affectionately known) has a particular strategy for success in Dublin. With so many people calling Dublin home, every street holds its own secrets as well. Here we take a look at the top ten dons in Dublin, including their strategies for success and the people who have helped them rise to the top…
Micheál Martin is the current Taoiseach of Ireland. He is the first Fianna Fáil politician to be elected to this post. His rise to the top is the stuff of many a song; the son of a farm labourer, Martin was a member of a farmyard band before he began his political career. His education was minimal, and he spoke with a broad accent as a result of his upbringing in the poverty of rural Ireland. But his strengths lay in his passion, his ability to connect with people, and his ability to stay calm under pressure. He has been married to Mary Benson since 1967, and they have four children together.
Enda Kenny is the 12th Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland. He is the second Fine Gael politician to lead the country, after John Bruton. Kenny was born in Mayfair, London, the son of Irish parents, who had emigrated to Britain. His father, Denis, was an architecture student who had left school at the age of 13 to work as a docker, and his mother, Mary Kenny, was a dressmaker. Kenny attended Castleknock College and then St. Mary’s University College, both in Dublin. He has been married to Fionnuala since 1956. They have three married children and nine grandchildren. They currently live in the Dublin suburb of Rathmullen.
Brian Cowen, who was born in 1932 in Dublin, is a former Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland. He was educated at Ftryonary Primary School, Tynagh National School and St. Andrew’s College. Cowen went on to study law at University College Dublin. He joined the Irish Army in 1953 and served in the Irish Constabulary throughout the 1950s. He also served in the Irish Defence Forces during the early stages of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. In his early career he was a Member of Seanad Éireann (Senate) and was a member of Dublin City Council. He was elected to Dáil Éireann in 1969 and was a member of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party, and the party’s deputy leader. Cowen was Taoiseach from May 1997 to May 2002.
Joan Burton is a former Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, a former Minister for Health, and former Minister for Education. She was born in Dublin in 1948, but moved to Belfast at the age of three to escape the Troubles in Northern Ireland. She returned to Dublin at the age of 16 and studied at secondary school in the city. Burton later studied medicine at Trinity College in Dublin, where she was also involved in student politics as a member of the Taoiseach (then Brian Cowen)’s student’s union. She was elected to Dáil Éireann in 1981 and remained a member of the party until she stood down from politics in 2016, after serving almost a full term as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation. She is currently a TD for the Dublin South-West constituency.
Michael Noonan is an Irish politician who has served as a Minister for Finance, a Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, a Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, a Minister for the Public Service, and a Minister for the Gaeltacht. He served as a member of Dáil Éireann from 1997 to 2011, most recently as a member of the Labour Party. Noonan was born in 1952 in Dublin, where he attended St. Andrew’s College. Noonan went on to study law before entering politics, and was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1997 general election. He subsequently served as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Minister for Enterprise and Minister for the Public Service. He also served as Minister for the Gaeltacht under Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Garden centre Dublin
Brendan Howlin is a former leader of the Labour Party and a former Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) of Ireland. He was educated at St. Enda’s College, a boarding school in the Dublin 7 district of Dublin, and at University College Dublin (UCD). He lives in Castleknock with his wife and their two daughters. He served as a member of the Irish Parliament from 1987 to 2011, and during that time was a prominent voice in the Dáil. He was first elected to the Dáil as a member of the Labour Party. After the party formed a coalition government with the Progressive Democrats, he was appointed Minister for Public Expenditure. He later served as Minister for Transport and Minister for Communications, with the Communications portfolio being briefly replaced by the Arts portfolio in 2007. He was appointed Tánaiste in 2011, after the resignation of Brian Cowen, and resigned from the post in January 2016, after the loss of the Fine Gael–Labour coalition government.
Simon Coveney is a former Minister for Foreign Affairs and a former deputy leader of the Fine Gael party. He was born in Dublin in 1972 of Irish and Scottish ancestry and grew up in Donnybrook. He studied Law at University College Dublin, earning a B.Sc. with honours in 1995. He then undertook an LL.M. in European Union Law at NUI Maynooth in 1997. He lives in Donnybrook with his wife, Sarah, and their three children. Coveney was first elected to the Dáil at the 2004 general election, and was appointed Minister for the Environment in 2007. On 14 July 2011, he was appointed Minister for Defence by Enda Kenny. On 12 December 2017, Coveney was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs in the new Fine Gael–led government.
Josepha Madigan is a former Irish Minister for Health. Born in Dublin in 1946, she attended primary school in the city and later went to secondary school. She married Ged Madigan in 1970, and the couple have five children. Madigan studied at the National Maternity Hospital School of Nursing, and subsequently worked as a nurse. She was first elected to the Dáil at the 1987 general election as a member of Fianna Fáil, serving as a member of the party’s front bench until she was nominated to the five-seat constituency of Dublin South-West at the 2011 general election. Madigan was appointed Minister for Health on 29 May 2011, and served in that position until the reshuffle of the cabinet on 26 June 2014. She remained as a backbencher until the 2016 general election, when she was again appointed to the front bench. In January 2017, she was appointed Minister for the Gaeltacht. Madigan has been re-elected to the Dáil at every general election since 1987.
Ellen Mitchell is a former Minister for Education and a former Junior Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. She has been a member of Dáil Éireann since 2007, when she was first elected for the Dublin Central constituency. Prior to that election, she had been a member of Dublin City Council for 10 years. She was first appointed to cabinet as a Junior Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in March 2016, but was promoted to Minister for Education in June 2017. Mitchell is a well-known political figure in Dublin, and has been ranked by several political commentators as the most popular member of the Government. She was one of the few Fine Gael TDs who supported Enda Kenny in his campaign for the leadership of the party, and was
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