(8 May 1936 – 11 May 2006) was an Irish politician
. He was Minister for Labour
and while leader of the Labour Party
became Minister for Energy
. He later became a member of the Fine Gael
Born in Cork
, the son of a publican, O'Leary was educated at Presentation College
, University College Cork
and Columbia University
, New York
, King's Inns
On returning to Ireland, he became involved in Labour politics and was employed as Education Officer for the Irish Transport and General Workers Union
(ITGWU). In this rôle he was instrumental in establishing the Universities Branch, affiliated to Dublin North-Central Constituency, bringing together Dublin University Fabian Society and UCD Labour Party students.
O'Leary was first elected to Dáil Éireann
as a Labour Party Teachta Dála
(TD) for Dublin North Central
in the 1965 general election
. His agent was Bob Mitchell, Chairman of Dublin University Fabian Society, who could claim credit in a dirty campaign for picking up transfers to squeeze out the Labour Party front-runner on the 11th Recount.
When first elected to the Dáil, O'Leary encouraged the Labour Party to take a more left-wing stance in its policies. He was initially strongly opposed to the idea of a coalition
with Fine Gael
but after the 1969 general election
he believed that there was a need for a new approach. When the Labour Party and Fine Gael
formed the National Coalition government following the 1973......