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It is with great sadness that the Institute of International and European Affairs announces the death of our Founder and President Brendan Halligan.

Brendan died at his home surrounded by his family following a long illness which he fought with fortitude and dignity. Brendan made a formidable contribution to the public life of this country over 60 years.

Ruairí Quinn, IIEA Chairperson said: “Brendan’s contribution to fostering greater understanding of European issues in Irish public life was second to none. For over six decades, serving as a Senator, TD and MEP he sought to enhance public discourse on Ireland’s European identity.

A convinced European, he profoundly believed that Ireland’s interests, and those of its people, were best served at the heart of Europe. It was this belief that led to his vision for an international and European affairs think tank in Ireland, and the founding of the IIEA in 1990. We remain as committed as ever today to fulfilling his vision to generate public debate in Ireland on European issues and international affairs.”

Michael Collins, IIEA Director General, added: “The death today of Brendan Halligan is a great and sad loss to all of us at the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) but most of all at this time we express our deepest condolences and sympathy to his wife Margie and to his family.

Brendan’s death sees the passing of a loved one who also devoted his life and energy to his work as a politician and thinker. He was a man full of interest in the world around him. An Irishman and a committed European, he will be greatly missed by the Institute and all who who knew him.“

Read a full statement by Ruairí Quinn here.

Read a full statement by Michael Collins here.


Brendan trained as an economist, graduating with a Masters Degree from University College Dublin, Ireland, in 1964. He subsequently worked in the public and private sectors as an economist before entering politics. In 1967 he became General Secretary of the Irish Labour Party. While in that post, he was appointed by then-Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave as a member of the Senate in 1973. He was elected a member of Dáil Éireann in 1976 and later became a member of the European Parliament (1983/84) where he specialised in economic affairs and energy policy. He retired as General Secretary of the Labour Party in 1980 to become an economics lecturer. From 1985 to 1995 he served as Chairman of the Irish Peat Development Authority. In 2007, Brendan was appointed Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. He founded the Institute of International and European Affairs in 1990, an independent think tank of which he served as Chairperson from 1990 to 2017. From 2017 until his passing he served as President of the IIEA.