A look back at the career of former Taoiseach and sportsman Jack Lynch.

Following the death of Jack Lynch politician Cork GAA star RTÉ News takes a look back at his career. Known to his admirers as Honest Jack, the reluctant Taoiseach, and even when out of office the real Taoiseach. 

Jack Mary Lynch was born in Cork in 1917, one of six children. 

He won a scholarship to the North Monastery Secondary School. He excelled at Gaelic games winning one football and five All Ireland hurling medals representing Cork. 

He came from a Fianna Fáil background and subsequently decided to join the party. 

I was born into a republican tradition.

He was first elected as a TD in 1948 and was soon promoted by Eamon de Valera becoming Minister for the Gaeltacht and then Minister for Education. When Sean Lemass became leader, Jack Lynch became Minister for Industry and Commerce where he worked on the implementation of Dr Whitakers economic plans.

When Sean Lemass retired in 1966, Jack Lynch became the leader of the Fianna Fáil party and Taoiseach at the age of forty nine.   

He led the campaign for Irish entry to the European Community and signed the accession treaties in January 1973. 

When a Fine Gael Labour coalition took office following the general election of 1973 Jack Lynch was out of power for four years until June 1977. He was then re-elected Taoiseach with a record overall majority. However, within two years, opposition with the party led to his shock decision to resign. 

The time has come when someone with a new approach and fresh thinking should take over the leadership of the government.


An RTÉ News report broadcast on 20 October 1999. The reporter is Sean Duignan.