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Neil Blaney

Neil Blaney (1922-1995), Irish Fianna Fáil politician.

Neil Blaney was born in Donegal on 1 October 1922. He was the eldest in a family of eleven. Blaney was the son of a farmer and TD who fought with the IRA in the War of Independence and the Irish Civil War. Blaney was educated in Donegal. He was elected Fianna Fáil TD in a 1948 by-election, caused by the death of his father.

Blaney was appointed Minister for Posts and Telegraphs in 1957. Between 1958 and 1966 he served as Minister for Local Government. In 1963 he introduced the Planning Act. In 1967 he became Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.

In 1969 when conflict broke out in Northern Ireland he expressed extremely strong views, views which contradicted the policy of the government, in support of Northern Nationalists. In 1970 he became embroiled in a scandal in which he was accused of importing arms into the country. On 5 May he was dismissed from the government along with Charles Haughey. In the trial which followed all the accused were acquitted. Blaney was expelled from Fianna Fáil in 1971.

He continued to stand for election as an independent candidate following his expulsion. He still supported the idea of a United Ireland. From 1979-1984 and from 1989-1994 he served as a MEP (Member of the European Parliament). He didn't contest the 1994 election.

Neil Blaney died on 8 November 1995 in Dublin.