Erskine Childers (Irish politician) (1905-1974)

Erskine Childers (Irish politician) (1905-1974), president of Ireland (1973-1974). Childers sought to reunify Northern Ireland and Ireland through negotiation, and condemned the violent methods of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). He was a strong advocate of Ireland`s membership in the European Community (now the European Union).

Erskine Hamilton Childers was born in London

Erskine Hamilton Childers was born in London, and studied history at Trinity College, Cambridge. He moved to Ireland in 1932 when he became advertising manager of the "Irish Press". He also served as secretary of the Federation of Irish Manufacturers from 1936 to 1944.

Childers was first elected to the Dil

Childers was first elected to the Dil ireann, the lower house of the Irish Parliament, in 1938, as a member of the Fianna Fil party. During his 35-year career in the Dil, he served in many cabinet posts, including deputy prime minister, minister for health, minister for transport and power, and minister for posts and telegraphs. He was credited with transforming the Irish health service and pioneering new approaches to education, production, and postwar planning. He also worked to increase cooperation between Northern Ireland and Ireland in such areas as tourism and the development of energy resources. He supported Ireland`s integration with the rest of Europe, believing that Ireland needed to expand its export markets beyond Britain to lessen potentially damaging economic dependence.

Childers was elected president in 1973

Childers was elected president in 1973 and attempted to develop a broader and more political role for the largely ceremonial office of the president; however he was unable to make much progress due to resistance from within the government and his own untimely death. He is remembered as one of Ireland`s most popular presidents. He died of a heart attack in Dublin on November 17, 1974.

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