HomeJuly 2011A Minister with steely determination

A Minister with steely determination

Frances Fitzgerald is a professional social worker and family therapist. She holds a B.Soc. Science degree from U.C.D. and an M.Sc. in Social Administration and Social Work from the London School of Economics.

She spent ten years working in the Mater Hospital, St James’s Hospital, and Ballymun Child and Family Centre, Dublin. She also worked in inner city communities in London and Dublin. She specialised in family-work, including adoption and fostering and has lectured in social work in Adult Education Courses and in Trinity College, Dublin.

Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald
Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald

She is smart, confident and articulate, and her calm and reasoned approach belies a steely determination, as she demonstrated earlier this month, when she insisted the laws of the land must be paramount to any other interests.

She is a T.D. for Dublin Mid West, was previously Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and prior to that served as T.D. for Dublin South East for ten years.

Before her election to the Dail, Frances Fitzgerald was a high profile Chair of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (1988-1992) and Vice President of the European Women’s Lobby.

As Chair of the National Women’s Council she initiated and served on the second Commission on Women, chairing the Employment Sub-Committee. She held the first conference on Women and Decision Making, championed the cause of introducing equality proofing mechanisms and led a number of high profile health campaigns.

She has served on the boards of the Employment Equality Agency, Arthritis Ireland, The O’Reilly Theatre and the Breast Research Unit in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin. She was also Vice Chair of Europa Donna, the European breast cancer campaign.

She has campaigned strongly on mental health, special needs, social policy and equality issues. She co-founded the first ever Cross Party Group on Mental Health and worked closely with Amnesty International to help break down the stigmas associated with mental health issues.

She is married to Michael Fitzgerald, Henry Marsh Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Trinity College, Dublin.  They have three sons in their twenties, an actor, a trainee accountant and a student.