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Who have been the most notably-intelligent Irish politicians?


democrat

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Of course, there are many ways to display intelligence. But I'm interested in classical ideals of intelligence; those who were renowned in their generation for their intellect or oratorical skill.


I'm thinking of the likes of:


*Garret Fitzgerald, doctorate in economics, capable technocrat, etc

*John Kelly, constitutional lawyer

*Conor Cruise O'Brien, diplomat, foundation scholar at Trinity, historian and writer


I'm less interested in Senators, because they have a lesser role in Irish politics and often take their seats when nearing retirement. But Douglas Hyde should surely be mentioned, having been a leading figure in the Gaelic Revival which provided an intellectual underpinning to the fight for independence.


More recently, you've had Brian Lenihan Jnr, Alan Shatter, Richard Bruton...although, they seem terribly unimpressive in comparison.
 
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sic transit

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Cj Haughey in his early days before he turned to the dark side, and even then had a calculating genius.
Alan Dukes - big brain, apparently understood the CAP!
Martin Mansergh - big input in the GFA and all things NI.
Da Bert - for sheer Machiavellian shrewdness and great ability to get deals done.
Sean Lemass for his vision.
 

asset test

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They are mostly intelligent, but with an eye to their pothole constituency all the time, sadly.

That is the way PR works here. TD against TD.

If I were to asked specifically I would say Dick Spring. And I am not a labourite either, but he struck me as someone with gravitas and intelligence above and beyond really.

No one else strikes me. Isn't that amazing.
 

Dame_Enda

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Michael D has great oratorical talents despite my disagreements with him on immigration especially during the citizenship referendum.

Bertie might not have been the best orator but he was an accomplished negotiator of the GFA in 1998. As against that there was the error known as Bench marking in the public sector pay. He had a Clintonian talent for moving Left or Right a bit according to the political mood. (From "I never met a Socialist" to ' I am one of the last (three?) Socialists in Irish politics').

Garrett Fitzgerald was a word perfect orator but his economic policies left the country with a doubled national debt, the 8th amendment introduced (though I think he would have preferred a less rigid wording). But he showed his negotiating skills in the Anglo Irish Agreement, which sowed the seeds of the later GFA.
 
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shiel

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It is all a matter of personal opinion.

As such there is a danger that it will deteriorate into a partisan party political slanging match.
 

sic transit

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It is all a matter of personal opinion.

As such there is a danger that it will deteriorate into a partisan party political slanging match.
It might in due course but there are people we can point to without necessarily considering their political origins.
 

Sweet Darling

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Of course, there are many ways to display intelligence. But I'm interested in classic ideals of intelligence; those who were renowned in their generation for their intellect and oratorical skill.


I'm thinking of the likes of:


*Garret Fitzgerald, doctorate in economics, capable technocrat, etc

*John Kelly, constitutional lawyer

*Conor Cruise O'Brien, diplomat, foundation scholar at Trinity, historian and writer


I'm less interested in Senators, because they have a lesser role in Irish politics and often take their seats when nearing retirement. But Douglas Hyde should surely be mentioned, having been a leading figure in the Gaelic Revival which provided an intellectual underpinning to the fight for independence.


More recently, you've had Brian Lenihan Jnr, Alan Shatter, Richard Bruton...although, they seem terribly unimpressive in comparison.
I'd add Michael McDowell to that list
 

bokuden

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De Valera. Despite being a Catholic nutter.
 

farnaby

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Sean MacBride. Fierce intellect and moral conscience; early champion of human rights and European integration; respected by the likes of Churchill despite their obvious differences. F€caked up royally with Mother and Child obviously.
 

asset test

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No one in current Government circles on the list, or even in the last ten years or so? That's a testament to their idiocy now.

The past is another country alright..
 

Catalpast

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Eamon De Velera was head and shoulders the most intelligent politician in 20th century Ireland





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Analyzer

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I'm thinking of the likes of:

*Conor Cruise O'Brien, diplomat, foundation scholar at Trinity, historian and writer
Following the 1973 general election, O'Brien was appointed Minister for Posts and Telegraphs in the 1973–77 Labour-Fine Gael coalition under Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave.

The boss of Digital in Galway, go so frustrated with the amount of time that his application to get the phone connected, that he had to go to O'Brien's house and meet him before he went to the Dail.

At which point......O'Brien ignored him again.

A waste of space.
 

democrat

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I had actually meant to exclude Haughey and Ahern from contention in the OP. Both intelligent, but not intellectuals!

McDowell is a good shout for a recent politician. The current crop is so poor though that I almost included Paschal Donohoe on account of his professed admiration for Isiah Berlin.

I often wonder how intelligent Paul Murphy is: graduated top of his class from UCD in law, and presumably clued in to Marxist thought. But you would never detect any intellectual capacity from his media appearances.
 

Analyzer

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Collins.

It is unfortunate that Phoney Gael used him for decades to perpetuate gombeenism.

At least Bruton was honest - FG is descended from Redmond.
 

enuffisenuff

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do cute hoors count?

 
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