Brendan Halligan welcomes Mikhail Gorbachev to the IIEA

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”.

He was known in Ireland as a man of politics, an economist and most recently President of the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) and the Ireland China Institute (ICI). Brendan Halligan trained and graduated with a Masters Degree in Economics 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.

Appointed to the Seanad (Irish Senate) in 1973, three years later he was elected a Teachta Dála (Irish Member of Parliament) in the Dublin South-West bi-election.

He continued in his role as the General-Secretary of the Labour Party until 1980, when he became a lecturer in Economics 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.

Serving as Chairman of Bórd na Móna (the Irish Peat Development Authority) from 1985 to 1995, Brendan Halligan retained his interest in the national management of energy by serving as Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for seven years, a state agency which is charged with promoting the production and use of sustainable energy in Ireland and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He is also a Director of the company Mainstream Renewable Power, which specialises in wind and solar energy.

As president of the IIEA, he frequently delivered papers and lectures, some of which can be seen on the publications page on this site.  In recent years he 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. It was officially launched in October 2019. You can see more here.

Brendan Halligan was a keen scholar and speaker of the Irish language, was an Adjunct Professor in European Integration at the University of Limerick, 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. A letter confirming the award noted that the President of the French Republic had granted the distinction of Chevalier to honour “the remarkable merit” of Brendan Halligan’s personal and professional achievements, in recognition of “50 years of exemplary contribution to the European debate in Ireland,” and his “invaluable, lifelong and multi-faceted devotion” to the European ideal on political, intellectual and activist levels.