Patrick Hillery

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Patrick John "Paddy" Hillery (Irish: Pádraig Seán Ó hIrighile; 2 May 1923 – 12 April 2008) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician and the sixth President of Ireland from 1976 until 1990. First elected at the 1951 general election as a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála (TD) for Clare, he remained in Dáil Éireann until 1973. During this time he served as Minister for Education (1959–1965), Minister for Industry and Commerce (1965–1966), Minister for Labour (1966–1969) and Minister for Foreign Affairs (1969–1973).[1] In 1973 he was appointed Ireland's first European Commissioner, serving until 1976 when he became President. He served two terms in the presidency, and, though widely seen as a somewhat lacklustre President, he was credited with bringing stability and dignity to the office, and he won widespread admiration when it emerged that he had withstood political pressure from his own Fianna Fáil party during a political crisis in 1982.

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Early and private life

Patrick John Hillery, more popularly known as Paddy Hillery, was born in Spanish Point, Miltown Malbay, County Clare in 1923. The son of Michael Joseph Hillery, a local doctor, and Ellen McMahon, a district nurse, he was educated locally at Miltown Malbay national school before later attending Rockwell College. At third level Hillery attended University College Dublin where he qualified with a degree in medicine. Upon his conferral in 1947 he returned to his native town where he followed in his father’s footsteps as a doctor. Hillery’s medical career in the 1950s saw him serve as a member of the National Health Council and as Medical Officer for the Miltown Malbay Dispensary District. He also spent a year working as coroner for West Clare.

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