Tánaiste and Uachtarán Fhianna Fáil Micheál Martin TD conveys his deep sorrow on the passing of former Fianna Fáil TD Ben Briscoe

Published on: 11 July 2023

It is with great sadness that I have learned of the passing of our colleague and friend, Ben Briscoe. 


Ben served as a Fianna Fáil TD for 37 years and is remembered fondly by all who served with him.  Popular across all parties because of his good humour and decency, he was a stalwart of our democratic parliament. As a whip, member of the Public Accounts Committee and of the forerunners of the Oireachtas Commission, he worked to build a system of accountability for public spending and ensure decent conditions for those who work in our parliament. 


The Southside Dublin communities which he so proudly represented had in Ben a champion who was always focused on securing support for those most in need.  He hated destructive politics and felt that it was the duty of all representatives to try to work together.  On many occasions he would insist that colleagues from other parties be included in debates and he never sought an unfair advantage.  At difficult moments, such as the introduction of new forms of drug treatment, he never wavered in support for essential services even when loud opposition was encountered. 


Ben’s proudest achievement was the year he spent as Lord Mayor of Dublin. He led a council which succeeded in getting our capital through a difficult financial period while protecting services.  During the 1988 Dublin Millennium he was a high-profile advocate for the city and helped ensure that that celebration marked a turning point for Dublin. 


Ben also introduced the Lord Mayor’s Awards scheme in order to have a means of recognising the contribution of ordinary citizens and was proud to have been the Lord Mayor when Dublin Corporation agreed to grant the Freedom of the City to Nelson Mandela, while he was still in prison. 


Ben was the son of Bob Briscoe who was an important figure in Ireland’s revolutionary struggle, a founder of Fianna Fáil, a member of Dáil Éireann for 34 years and one of the most famous ever holders of the office of Lord Mayor of Dublin.  Bob was also a powerful advocate for the German Jewish communities and a voice against Hitler and all he stood for. 


Ben grew up in a large family of exceptional siblings, including his late brother Joe who was one of the longest ever holders of a commission in our defence forces. 


Ben learned from his family a deep republicanism and pride in Ireland’s history and in the Jewish heritage of his family. 


Today, our thoughts go out to Ben’s wife, Carol and the Briscoe family.  


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