Pat Rabbitte TD, People from Co. Mayo

Pat Rabbitte was born on May 18th, 1949, near Claremorris and grew up in a farming background at Woodstock, Ballindine. He completed his secondary school education at St Colman's College, Claremorris before emigrating to Britain to find employment. Shortly afterwards he returned to attend University College Galway (UCG) where he studied Arts and Law. During his time in university Pat Rabbitte became involved in numerous college movements and served as President of the UCG Students' Union from 1970-1971.

He served as President of the National Union of Students in Ireland (USI) from 1972 to 1974. On completion of that post in 1974 he became an official in the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union (ITGWU), eventually becoming National Secretary for the Union in 1980.

In 1985 Pat became involved in electoral politics for the first time when he was elected to Dublin County Council. He was later elected to Dáil Éireann in the 1989 general election as a Workers' Party TD for Dublin South-West - which seat he has retained at every election since, as a Workers' Party, then Democratic Left and now a Labour Party TD.

A new 'Rainbow Coalition' government of Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Democratic Left came to power in 1994. Pat Rabbitte was a member of the junior ministerial team of this government, serving as Minister of State to the Government, as well as Minister for State at the Department of Enterprise and Employment with responsibility for Commerce, Science and Technology.

He was elected leader of the Labour Party in October 2002 succeeding Ruairi Quinn, and under his leadership the party made some gains in the local elections of 2004.

Pat Rabbitte stepped down as leader of the Labour Party on August 23rd 2007 and was succeeded as party leader by Eamon Gilmore. He was subsequently re-elected on the first count in the 2011 general election and was appointed Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on March 9th, 2011.

Political Career

Pat Rabbitte is married to Derry and they have three grown-up daughters.

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