Brendan Halligan Irish Economist and Politician

Brendan Halligan

Brendan Halligan

Brendan Halligan, born 5 July 1936, passed away peacefully at his home after an illness, on Sunday morning, 9th August, 2020. To quote Ireland’s President, Michael D. Higgins, “the death of Mr Halligan will be received with great sadness by all who were interested in politics, economics and social justice, and particularly by his colleagues in the Labour Party”. For some more of the tributes made in the press since his death, click here

Economist, politician, public affairs consultant and academic, he worked extensively both in the Irish private and public sectors, in Irish politics, and as an activist in the European arena.  

He was the founder and President of the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA), a leading European think tank, focusing on European and International issues.  He was also President and founder of the Ireland China Institute (ICI), a new independent think tank based in Dublin, Ireland which was officially launched in October 2019. 

Brendan Halligan trained and graduated with a Masters Degree in Economic from University College Dublin in 1964.  He worked in the public sector before entering politics in 1967, when he became General Secretary of the Irish Labour Party.

During his political career, Brendan served both as a member of the Irish Senate (1973) and as Teachta Dála (TD), or elected member of the Irish Dáil (parliament) three years later.

Brendan Halligan as General Secretary of the Irish Labour Party

Brendan Halligan as General Secretary of the Irish Labour Party

He continued in his role as the General-Secretary of the Labour Party until 1980, and later set up his own consultancy firm, Consultants in Public Affairs (CIPA).  He was appointed as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 1983 until 1984, where he specialised in economic affairs and energy policy.

He acted as Chairman of Bórd na Móna (the Irish Peat Energy Authority) for ten years, and was also Adjunct Professor in European Integration at the University of Limerick.   From the early 1960s, Brendan Halligan was a passionate advocate in the fields of both European affairs, and sustainable development.

For seven years, he served as Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, and at the time of his death, was a director of Mainstream Renewable Power.  He was director of his own firm, Consultants in Public Affairs (CIPA) from 1985 to 2014, which served both the Irish and International public and private sectors.

As president of the IIEA, he frequently delivered papers and lectures, some of which can be seen on the publications page of this site.  In recent years he also worked on the foundation and development of the Ireland China Institute, which, with its maxim bridging the gap between knowledge and understanding, seeks to strengthen Irish-Chinese diplomatic relations, developing cultural links and fostering a deeper understanding of the respective cultural norms and values between the two nations. 

Brendan was a keen scholar and speaker of the Irish language, having written a book on early Irish law and culture (Wonder, Wisdom and War, Scathán Press) and holds an honorary Doctorate of Letters from University College Dublin.   On Tuesday, 19 April 2016, Brendan Halligan was conferred with France’s highest civilian Honour: l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur.

For some more of the tributes made in the press since his death, click here.

He will be greatly missed.