Dick Roche (born 30 March 1947) is a former Irish Fianna F il politician. He was a Teachta D la (TD) for the Wicklow constituency, and also served in Seanad ireann from 1992 to 1997.
Early and private life
Roche was born in Wexford and was educated at Wexford Christian Brothers School and University College Dublin (UCD) where he received Bachelor of Commerce Degree and a Masters Degree in Public Administration. Roche's grandfather, Jem Roche, was a one-time heavyweight boxing champion of Ireland who also fought unsuccessfully for the world title.
Roche is married to Eleanor Griffin, and they have three sons and one daughter. They live in County Wicklow.
On 15 December 2008 he was held hostage during a robbery at the Druids Glen Marriott Hotel and Country Club in County Wicklow.
Roche worked as a public servant at the Departments of Posts and Telegraphs, Transport and Power, Finance and at the Department of Economic Planning and Development. In 1978 he was appointed lecturer in Public Administration and Public Finance at UCD. In 1978 Roche became the first Irish Citizen to be awarded a United Nations Human Rights fellowship. He subsequently became a member of the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace and served as a time as Chairman of the Commission.
Roche began his political career in 1985 when he was elected to Wicklow County Council. Two years later, at the 1987 general election he was elected to D il ireann as a Fianna F il TD for the Wicklow constituency.
Roche lost his seat at the 1992 general election but was elected to Seanad ireann. In the Irish Senate Roche introduced a Freedom of Information Bill based closely on the Norwegian Freedom of Information legislation. He was returned to the 28th D il at the 1997 general election and remained a TD until 2011.
Following the 2002 general election Roche was appointed Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for European Affairs. In his role, effectively as Minister for Europe, he played a large role during Ireland's Presidency of the European Council in 2004. In 2004 Roche was conferred with the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana by the Government of Estonia for his support of Estonia's accession to the European Union. In 2004 he became Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. He retained his seat at the 2007 general election but, on the formation of the new government, was the only member of the previous Cabinet to be demoted, being re-appointed to his Minister of State for European Affairs role.
His last act as Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government was the signing of an order that was to lead to work being resumed on the controversial M3 motorway near the Hill of Tara. He remained Minister of State for European Affairs, during which Ireland conducted two referendums on the Treaty of Lisbon of the European Union.
2011 election defeat
He lost his seat at the 2011 general election, polling only 5.5% of the vote which was down from the 15.8% he polled four years previously. Roche prolonged the count by demanding a recount when it was found that only three votes separated him and his Fianna F il running mate Pat Fitzgerald, an action which was criticised by other candidates including Fitzgerald, who described it as "disgusting". Fitzgerald also accepted that there wouldn't be a seat for Fianna F il. He was not present at the announcement of his elimination which was greeted with widespread cheering and applause at the count centre.
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