Ben Briscoe, former Fianna Fáil politician, is born on March 11, 1934, in Dublin. He is a Teachta Dála (TD) for 37 years, representing constituencies in the south Dublin city area.
Briscoe is first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil TD for the Dublin South-West constituency at the 1965 Irish general election, succeeding his father, Robert Briscoe, who had been a TD for 38 years. He is elected at the 1969 Irish general election for Dublin South-Central, where he is re-elected in 1973. Following major boundary changes for the 1977 Irish general election, he is elected for the Dublin Rathmines West constituency. A subsequent boundary revision in advance of the 1981 Irish general election abolishes Dublin Rathmines West and divides the area between the neighbouring constituencies. Briscoe is re-elected for the re-established Dublin South-Central constituency, which he holds until he retires at the 2002 Irish general election.
At the 1992 Irish general election Briscoe is involved in a marathon recount battle with Democratic Left‘s Eric Byrne to decide the fate of the final seat in Dublin South-Central. He is declared the victor after ten days of re-counting and re-checking ballot papers, leading to him describing the long count as being like “the agony and the ex-TD.”
Briscoe is sometimes critical of the leader of Fianna Fáil in the 1980s, once describing Charles Haughey‘s leadership as a “Fascist Dictatorship.” He fronts a quietly discontented anti-Haughey faction within the Parliamentary Party, which includes Charlie McCreevy, during Haughey’s time as Taoiseach.
In 1988–1989 Briscoe is Lord Mayor of Dublin, a post previously held by his father. His term covers the second half of Dublin’s Millennium Year 1988. After the Dublin City Council makes him Lord Mayor, he describes his selection for the honour as “one of the proudest moments of my life.”
The Molly Malone statue, previously at the bottom end of Grafton Street and now outside the Dublin Tourist Information Office around the corner, is unveiled by Briscoe during the Dublin Millennium celebrations in 1988, and he declares June 13 as Molly Malone Day in Dublin.
Briscoe is one of Ireland’s most famous Jewish politicians. The small Irish Jewish community have been enthusiastic and active participants in the country’s political and legal world. His father is one of several Jews involved in the Irish War of Independence and Sinn Féin movements. In his time, each of the three main political parties have a Jewish member in Ireland’s 166-member Dáil.