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Mervyn Taylor (born 1 December 1931) is an Irish former solicitor, Labour Party politician and government minister.[1]

Early life

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

Legal practice

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] Taylor later established his own firm of Taylor and Buchalter Solicitors with the late Don Buchalter, and practised as a solicitor for over 50 years before retiring from active practice in his 70s. He continued as a consultant to the firm of Taylor and Buchalter Solicitors for most of his 70s.


Taylor was elected to Dublin County Council in the 1970s, and to Dáil Éireann as a Labour Party Teachta Dála (TD) for Dublin South-West at the 1981 general election, on his third attempt.[3] He then held the seat at every election until his retirement from politics in 1997.

He was Chairman of the Labour Party, and Labour chief whip, from 1981 to 1988. He was assistant government chief whip from 1981 to 1982, and again from 1982 to 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 Taylor was in charge of the government proposal to legislate to remove the prohibition of divorce from the constitution; he steered the relevant bills through Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann, and won 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 a 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 two wide-ranging anti-discrimination measures, the Employment Equality Bill and the Equal Status Bill. These were 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 were ultimately published and enacted during the following Dáil term.


Taylor is married to Marilyn Taylor, who is the author of numerous books for young people. They have two sons, a daughter, and eight grandchildren.


  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. Cork University Press, 1998. ISBN 1-85918-149-X.
  3. ^ "Mervyn Taylor". Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Brian Cowen
Minister for Labour
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Department subsumed into Department of Enterprise and Employment
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