Former minister Mervyn Taylor, who steered Irish divorce referendum, dies aged 89

ireland
Former Minister Mervyn Taylor, Who Steered Irish Divorce Referendum, Dies Aged 89 Former Minister Mervyn Taylor, Who Steered Irish Divorce Referendum, Dies Aged 89
Taylor was the first person of the Jewish faith to become a Cabinet minister in 1993.
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Former Labour minister Mervyn Taylor has died at the age of 89.

Mr Taylor became the first person of the Jewish faith to become a Cabinet minister when he was appointed as the minister for labour in the Fianna Fáil-Labour coalition in 1993, according to The Irish Times.

He then served as a pioneering minister for equality and law reform and steered the divorce referendum to a narrow victory in the 1995 vote, when that government was replaced in 1994 by a three-party coalition government led by John Bruton.

He also introduced the Employment Equality Bill and the Equal Status Bill into the legislature during his time in office.

Mervyn changed Ireland for the better and brought through the divorce referendum in 1995

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly paid tribute to Mr Taylor's “radical and reforming record as a legislator.”

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“Mervyn changed Ireland for the better and brought through the divorce referendum in 1995, finally granting people the right to re-marry,” he said.

“He was a principled politician of the left, and throughout his career he left a great mark on our party and country with his distinguished record of service.

“Mervyn was a champion of Labour values and represented the people of Dublin South West with an unbroken record of service as a TD for the constituency from 1981, until he stood down in 1997.

“He took on a huge legislative programme of work during his time as minister for equality and law reform and he also made history as Ireland’s first Jewish Cabinet minister. His work focused on tackling inequality and discrimination in Ireland, and his legacy continues to this day.

It is long and notable list of Acts that is a testament to his record of public service

“Mervyn drove forward so many changes in the law, and it is long and notable list of Acts that is a testament to his record of public service. It includes the Interpretation Act, the Maternity Protection Act, the Family Law Acts and the Domestic Violence Act.

"He also brought through the Adoptive Leave Act, the Civil Liability (Amendment) Act and the Civil Legal Aid Act among many others. He published the Commission for the Status of People with Disabilities and his bills on equal status, and employment equality were finally passed into law after his term.

“On behalf of the Labour Party I extend our condolences to his family and friends. He will be sadly missed but fondly remembered.”

Mr Taylor was born in December 1931. A solicitor, he was educated at Zion School, Wesley College and Trinity College Dublin.

He was chairman of the Labour Party from 1987 to 1991 and Labour chief whip, from 1981 to 1988.

Mr Taylor was married to Marilyn Taylor, who is the author of numerous books for young people. They had two sons, a daughter and eight grandchildren.

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