26 Jun 2022

End of an era as Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher loses Donegal Dáil seat

The west Donegal politician was first elected to the Dáil in 1981

Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Ceann-Comhairle

Pat the Cope Gallagher - first elected to the Dáil in 1981

Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher has lost his seat in Donegal and while he has not decided whether or he will run again, the defeat brings to the end an era in politics in the county. 

Born in Burtonport in 1948, he grew up in Dungloe and attended Roshine and Luinneach National School before going to Dungloe High School and Coláiste Éinde Gaillimh.

He obtained his Commerce degree from NUI Galway in 1970. 

From 1970 to 1981, he was involved in the fish processing sector.

His long political career goes back to the late 1970s.

In 1979 after he took a seat on Donegal County Council. 

He was first elected to the Dáil in 1981.

He was later elected as Chairman of Donegal County Council for 1985/1986.

His most successful vote in terms of his election to the Dáil came in 1989 when he amassed 28.86% of the first preferences.

He entered into national politics when he was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1981, serving until 1997. 

He returned to Dáil Éireann for a second time in 2002 until 2009.

During his time in the Dáil, he has held various portfolios as Minister of State including Marine, Gaeltacht, Environment, Health and Transport.

Pat the Cope was elected to the European Parliament in 1994 with 22.86% of the first preference vote and was successfully re-elected in 1999 and 2009.

In the European Parliament, he served with distinction as a member of the Committee on Fisheries.

In the 2016 general election, he was elected to the Dáil in the five-seat Donegal constituency. 

He has been a board member of numerous bodies and organisations, as well as the Rosses Community School Board of Management, Killybegs Tourism and Training College and the Donegal Vocational Education Committee,

He is a keen follower of both Gaelic football and soccer, being a supporter of Donegal and Celtic while he also keeps an eye on Finn Harps’ fortunes.


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