herald

Monday 23 October 2017

THE ARCHITECT WHO BUILT A LIFE IN POLITICs

An atheist, a radical student and privately educated, former Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has spent his life involved in politics.

His family were prominent merchants from Co Down that took part in the War of Independence but moved to Dublin by the time Ruairi was born in 1946.

After attending the private boys' school, Blackrock College, he went on to study architecture in UCD in 1964. It was here that his political career began.

Announcing himself an atheist, he joined the students' union movement and began demanding reform in the third level education system.

And 50 years later he ended his political career after overhauling the Junior Certificate system in the second level education.

In total, he held six ministries throughout his 40 years in politics. He first entered public life in 1974, as a councillor sitting on Dublin City Council.

Mr Quinn was first elected to the Dail in 1977 having served in the Senate the previous year.

He first married in 1969 and had two children, Sine and Malachi. He remarried his current wife, Liz Allman in New York in 1990 and the couple had a son, Conan, in 1994.

jfegan@herald.ie

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