Mervyn Taylor

Mervyn Taylor

Mervyn Taylor (born 1 December 1931) is a former Irish Labour Party politician.[1]

Taylor was born in Dublin, Ireland to a Jewish family. He was educated at Zion School, Wesley College Dublin and at Trinity College Dublin where he qualified as a solicitor.

He worked for Herman Good Solicitors alongside Herman Good and future district judge Hubert Wine, Good's involvement in the Labour Party was instrumental in Taylor getting involved in politics.[2]

He was elected to Dublin County Council in the 1970s and to Dáil Éireann as the Labour Party Teachta Dála (TD) for Dublin South West at the 1981 general election and held the seat at every election until his retirement from politics in 1997.

He was Chairperson of the Labour Party and was Labour chief whip from 1981 until 1988. He was assistant government chief whip from 1981 to 1982, and again from 1982 until 1987. In 1993 he was appointed as Minister for Labour (for a brief period) and then served as Minister for Equality and Law Reform during the two Governments of 1993-94 and 1994-97.

In 1995, he was in charge of the government proposal to remove from the constitution the prohibition of divorce legislation, steering the relevant bills through Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann and winning the subsequent referendum by the narrow margin of 0.5 per cent. In the course of the campaign, he survived criticism of the measure directed at his Jewish faith, as well as an Irish Supreme Court ruling that public monies could not properly be spent in promoting the government's opinion on a referendum proposal.

His other major project was the introduction of new, wide ranging anti-discrimination measures, the Employment Equality Bill and the Equal Status Bill. These measures were both struck down by the Supreme Court but revised versions were approved by the Government in the final months of Taylor's term of office and these were ultimately published and enacted during the following Dáil term.

He is married to Marilyn Fisher, author of numerous books for young people. They have 2 sons and a daughter.


  1. ^ "Mr. Mervyn Taylor". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Jews in twentieth-century Ireland: refugees, anti-semitism and the Holocaust By Dermot Keogh
Political offices
Preceded by
Brian Cowen
Minister for Labour
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Department subsumed into Department of Enterprise and Employment
Preceded by
New office
Minister for Equality and Law Reform
Succeeded by
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn
Preceded by
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn
Minister for Equality and Law Reform
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Department merged with Department of Justice

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