Minister for Posts and Telegraphs

The original logo of the department, including the Tironian et symbol, is still often seen on early postboxes and other older property.
Pre-1984 manhole cover showing the P T logo

The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Irish: Aire Poist agus Telegrafa) was the holder of a position in the Government of Ireland (and, earlier, in the Executive Council of the Irish Free State). From 1924 until 1984 – when it was abolished – the minister headed the Department of Posts and Telegraphs (also known as the P&T in English and PT in Irish, and later stylised as P+T).

The office of Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was created by the Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924, which reorganised the Irish system of government shortly after the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. The minister those functions which had formerly been exercised by the Postmaster General of the United Kingdom. Legislation in 1831 had amalgamated the earlier offices of Postmaster General of Great Britain and Postmasters General of Ireland, which became a jointly held role in the administration of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

This later and final version of the logo of the department was most commonly associated with the orange and white postal vans.

The Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924 defined the department's role:[1]

The Department of Posts and Telegraphs which shall comprise the administration and business generally of public services in connection with posts, telegraphs, and telephones, and all powers, duties and functions connected with the same, and shall include in particular the business, powers, duties and functions of the branches and officers of the public services specified in the Eighth Part of the Schedule to this Act, and of which Department the head shall be, and shall be styled, an t-Aire Puist agus Telegrafa or (in English) the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs.

The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was responsible for Ireland's postal and telecommunications services from 1924 to 1984. At its height the department was one of the largest civil service departments in Ireland. The reform of the sector and department began in 1978 with the creation of the Posts and Telegraphs Review Group. This led, following the delivery of a report in 1979, to the creation of the ad hoc Interim Board for Posts (An Bord Poist), chaired by Feargal Quinn, and the Interim Board for Telecommunications (An Bord Telecom), chaired by Michael Smurfit. These two boards continued to sit until An Post and Telecom Éireann, respectively, replaced them in 1984 as state-sponsored agencies.

History

The Department of Posts and Telegraphs ceased to exist in 1984, and its powers and responsibilities were transferred to the newly created Department of Communications. This was one of the largest reorganisations of the civil service in modern times, the old department having had a workforce of about 30,000 prior to dissolution. With the transfer of personnel to the new agencies, the number of civil service employees was almost halved overnight.

The Minister for Communications was created in 1983 to replace both the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and the Minister for Transport. In 1987, the transport functions of the department were moved to a new Department of Tourism and Transport. In 1991 the minister's functions were passed to the renamed Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications and the department ceased to exist, but was not formally abolished.

The functions which had initially been under the Minister for Communications are now under the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, and the Minister for Transport.

Alteration of name and transfer of functions

Name Change
2 June 1924 Establishment of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs[2]
2 January 1984 Establishment of the Department of Communications
Abolition of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs and the Department of Transport
Transfer of functions to the Department of Communications[3][4]
31 March 1987 Transfer of Shipping to the Department of the Marine[5]
31 March 1987 Transfer of Transport to the Department of Tourism and Transport[6]
8 February 1991 Transfer of all remaining functions to the Department of Tourism, Transport and Communications[7]

List of Ministers

Postmaster General 1922–1924[edit]

No. Name Term of office Party Government(s)[a]
1 James J. Walsh 1 April 1922 2 June 1924 Cumann na nGaedheal 1st PG • 2nd PG • 5th DM • 1st EC • 2nd EC

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs 1924–1984[edit]

No. Name Term of office Party Government(s)
James J. Walsh 2 June 1924 12 October 1927 Cumann na nGaedheal 2nd EC • 3rd EC
2 Ernest Blythe 12 October 1927 9 March 1932 Cumann na nGaedheal 4th EC • 5th EC
3 Joseph Connolly 9 March 1932 8 February 1933 Fianna Fáil 6th EC
4 Gerald Boland 8 February 1933 11 November 1936 Fianna Fáil 7th EC
5 Oscar Traynor 11 November 1936 8 September 1939 Fianna Fáil 7th EC • 8th EC • 1st • 2nd
6 Thomas Derrig 8 September 1939 27 September 1939 Fianna Fáil 2nd
7 Patrick Little 27 September 1939 18 February 1948 Fianna Fáil 2nd • 3rd • 4th
8 James Everett 18 February 1948 13 June 1951 National Labour Party 5th
9 Erskine H. Childers (1st time) 13 June 1951 2 June 1954 Fianna Fáil 6th
10 Michael Keyes 2 June 1954 20 March 1957 Labour 7th
11 Neil Blaney 20 March 1957 4 December 1957 Fianna Fáil 8th
12 John Ormonde 4 December 1957 23 June 1959 Fianna Fáil 8th
13 Michael Hilliard 23 June 1959 21 April 1965 Fianna Fáil 8th • 9th • 10th
14 Joseph Brennan 21 April 1965 10 November 1966 Fianna Fáil 11th
Erskine H. Childers (2nd time) 10 November 1966 2 July 1969 Fianna Fáil 12th
15 Patrick Lalor 2 July 1969 9 May 1970 Fianna Fáil 13th
16 Gerry Collins 9 May 1970 14 March 1973 Fianna Fáil 13th
17 Conor Cruise O'Brien 14 March 1973 5 July 1977 Labour 14th
18 Pádraig Faulkner 5 July 1977 11 December 1979 Fianna Fáil 15th
19 Albert Reynolds[b] 12 December 1979 30 June 1981 Fianna Fáil 16th
20 Patrick Cooney[b] 30 June 1981 9 March 1982 Fine Gael 17th
21 John Wilson[b] 9 March 1982 14 December 1982 Fianna Fáil 18th
22 Jim Mitchell[b] 14 December 1982 2 January 1984 Fine Gael 19th

Minister for Communications 1984–1991[edit]

No. Name Term of office Party Government(s)
1 Jim Mitchell 2 January 1984 10 March 1987 Fine Gael 19th
2 John Wilson 10 March 1987 31 March 1987 Fianna Fáil 20th
3 Ray Burke[c] 31 March 1987 6 February 1991 Fianna Fáil 20th • 21st
Notes
  1. ^ Before 1937: DM – Dáil Ministry; PG – Provisional Government; EC – Executive Council.
  2. ^ a b c d Also Minister for Transport
  3. ^ Also Minister for Justice from 12 July 1989 to 11 February 1992

List of Ministers of State

Under the Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924, the Executive Council could appoint Parliamentary Secretaries to assist Ministers in the Executive Council (renamed the Government in 1937). From 1978, this position was abolished and replaced by the position of Minister of State who could be appointed to a government department. The Minister of State did not hold cabinet rank.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs 1927–1978[edit]

Name Term of office Party Responsibilities Government
Michael Heffernan 11 October 1927 29 January 1932 Farmers' Party 4th EC • 5th EC
Patrick Lalor 16 November 1966 2 July 1969 Fianna Fáil 12th
Tom Fitzpatrick 5 July 1977 1 January 1978 Fianna Fáil 15th

Minister of State at the Department of Posts and Telegraphs 1978–1984[edit]

Name Term of office Party Responsibilities Government
Tom Fitzpatrick 1 January 1978 11 December 1979 Fianna Fáil 15th[8]
Mark Killilea Jnr 12 December 1979 30 June 1981 Fianna Fáil 16th[9]
Paddy Harte 30 June 1981 9 March 1982 Fine Gael Telecommunications[10] 17th
Terry Leyden 23 March 1982 14 December 1982 Fianna Fáil Telecommunications[11] 18th
John Donnellan 16 December 1982 15 December 1983 Fine Gael Posts and Telegraphs Service[12] 19th
Ted Nealon 18 February 1983 2 January 1984 Fine Gael Broadcasting[13]

Minister of State at the Department of Communications 1984–1987[edit]

Name Term of office Party Responsibilities Government
Ted Nealon 2 January 1984 10 March 1987 Fine Gael Radio and television[14][15] 19th

References

  1. ^ "Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924, Section 1: Establishment of the Departments of State, (Part ix)". Irish Statute Book. 21 April 1924. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  2. ^ "Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924 (Commencement) Order 1924". Irish Statute Book. 30 May 1924. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1983: Section 1, Definitions". Irish Statute Book. 27 December 1983. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Postal and Telecommunications Services Act 1983 (An Post) (Vesting Day) Order 1983". Irish Statute Book. 21 December 1983. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Communications (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 1987". Irish Statute Book. 31 March 1987. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Communications (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) (No. 2) Order 1987". Irish Statute Book. 31 March 1987. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Communications (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 1991". Irish Statute Book. 6 February 1991. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Posts and Telegraphs (Delegation of Ministerial Functions) Order, 1978". Irish Statute Book. 7 January 1978. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  9. ^ "An tOrdú Poist agus Telegrafa (Feidhmeanna Aire a Tharmligean) 1981". Irish Statute Book (in Irish). 22 January 1980. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  10. ^ "An tOrdú Poist agus Telegrafa (Feidhmeanna Aire a Tharmligean) 1981". Irish Statute Book (in Irish). 12 August 1981. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  11. ^ "Posts and Telegraphs (Delegation of Ministerial Functions) Order 1982". Irish Statute Book. 2 July 1982. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  12. ^ "An tOrdú Poist agus Telegrafa (Feidhmeanna Aire a Tharmligean) 1983". Irish Statute Book (in Irish). 1 March 1983. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  13. ^ "An tOrdú Poist agus Telegrafa (Feidhmeanna Aire a Tharmligean) (Uimh. 2) 1983". Irish Statute Book (in Irish). 15 April 1983. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Assignment of Department: Announcement by Taoiseach – Dáil Éireann (24th Dáil) – Wednesday, 8 January 1984". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  15. ^ "Communications (Delegation of Ministerial Functions) Order 1984". Irish Statute Book. 29 May 1984. Retrieved 5 January 2021.

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