Peter Barry

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Peadar de Barra
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Peter Barry, Peadar de Barra
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Peter Barry (10 August 1928 – 26 August 2016) was an Irish Fine Gael politician and businessman from Cork city. He was a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1969 to 1997, and as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1982 to 1987 he helped negotiate the Anglo-Irish Agreement and in 1987 he served for a short time as Tánaiste (deputy prime minister).


Barry was the son of Anthony Barry, a Fine Gael Teachta Dála (TD) and well-known businessman. He was educated in Cork and then became the major shareholder in the family company, Barry's Tea. His daughter Deirdre served as Teachta Dála for Cork South-Central, then served as a member of Seanad Éireann representing the Cultural and Educational Panel, but resigned in 2014 on being elected as a Member of the European Parliament for Ireland South.

Political career

Peter Barry was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fine Gael TD for the Cork City South-East constituency at the 1969 general election. When Fine Gael came to power at the 1973 general election, he was appointed Minister for Transport and Power. In 1976 he became Minister for Education. In 1979, when Garret FitzGerald became leader, Barry was elected deputy leader of the Fine Gael party. From 1981 to March 1982 he served as Minister for the Environment.[2]

From December 1982 to 1987 he was the Minister for Foreign Affairs. In his capacity as Foreign Minister he was heavily involved in the negotiations which resulted in the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement. He also became the first joint chairman of the Anglo-Irish Inter-Governmental Conference which was established by the Irish and British governments. Following the Labour Party's withdrawal from the coalition government in 1987 Barry became Tánaiste for a brief period.

When FitzGerald resigned as Fine Gael leader after the 1987 general election Barry was one of three candidates (along with Alan Dukes and John Bruton) who contested the leadership of Fine Gael. Dukes was the eventual victor.

He retired at the 1997 general election and his seat was held for Fine Gael by his daughter, Deirdre Clune.

Northern Ireland by-elections, 1986

In 1986 the fifteen Unionist members of the House of Commons resigned in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement, leading to by-elections. To ensure contests in each constituency, Wesley Robert Williamson changed his name by deed poll to Peter Barry and stood in the four constituencies of North Antrim, South Antrim, East Londonderry and Strangford under the label "For the Anglo-Irish Agreement". Despite not campaigning, he won over 6,000 votes.



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