Veteran politician Bobby Molloy dies aged 80

Veteran politician Bobby Molloy dies aged 80

Bobby Molloy, a founder of the Progressive Democrats and a TD for almost four decades has died aged 80.

Mr Molloy was first elected to the Dáil as a Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West in 1965.

He served as minister for local government, minister for defence and minister for energy during an almost 40-year term in Leinster House.

Mr Molloy joined the PDs in 1986 and served as a TD for the party until he retired from political life in 2002.

He joined Progressive Democrats in 1986 and retired from politics in 2002.

His decision to leave Fianna Fáil and join the fledgling Progressive Democrats in 1986 sent shock waves though the political system and helped to propel the new party to its election breakthrough in 1987.

Mr Molloy was born in Galway in July 1936 and educated at Coláiste Iognáid and University College Galway.

He was elected to the Dáil for Fianna Fáil in 1965 as part of a wave of younger TDs who were to play a significant role in the party in the decades that followed.

Mr Molloy was an admirer of George Colley and strongly supported his campaign for the leadership against Charles Haughey in 1966. Mr Molloy was to remain deeply suspicious of Mr Haughey for as long as both of them served in the Dáil.

Fianna Fáil lost power in 1973 but when the party was returned to office in 1977 he was appointed Minister for Defence.

He was again a strong supporter of George Colley in the leadership contest of 1979 but Mr Haughey emerged as the narrow winner.

Mr Molloy was dropped from the cabinet and became one of the strongest opponents of the Haughey leadership in the party during the three heaves of 1981 and 1982.