P. J. Mara

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P.J. Mara
In office
May – December 1982
In office
July 1981 – October 1981
ConstituencyNominated by the Taoiseach
Personal details
Drumcondra, Dublin, Ireland
Died15 January 2016(2016-01-15) (aged 73)
Sandyford, Dublin, Ireland
Political partyFianna Fáil
Spouse(s)Breda (deceased)
Domestic partnerSheila Brogan

Patrick James Mara (1942 – 15 January 2016) was an Irish public affairs consultant and senator.[1] He was a political adviser to former Taoiseach Charles Haughey, and served briefly in the Seanad on two separate occasions, in 1981 and 1982. On both occasions, he was nominated by Haughey. Mara served as Press Secretary to Fianna Fáil between 1983 and 1987. In 1987 he was appointed Government Press Secretary, and he held this position until February 1992, when he left the public service to move into the private sector. He subsequently returned to serve as Fianna Fáil director of elections for the 1997, 2002, and 2007 general elections.[2] He was a member of the board of Digicel, the company founded by Denis O'Brien to build mobile networks in the Caribbean.

He was regularly lampooned on the satirical Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) radio sketch show Scrap Saturday, which ran from 1989 to 1991.

Early life[edit]

Mara was born in Dublin and grew up on Millmount Avenue in Drumcondra. He was educated at O'Connell's Richmond Street, and at Coláiste Mhuire, an Irish-language Christian Brothers secondary school (Gaelscoil) on Parnell Square. Mara's father, a Garda, died when Mara was still in school. He was raised by his mother and sister. After school, Mara worked at Boland's Mill for a short time.[3]

Flood Tribunal[edit]

Mara was one of the components of the so-called Century Radio module at the Flood Tribunal. Mara told the Tribunal that during the course of his employment as a Press Secretary, his financial remuneration was not sufficient to meet his immediate financial requirements, and he experienced financial difficulties. He said he received assistance from his friends, Oliver Barry and financier Dermot Desmond, in the form of loans. However there was no interest charge, nor was there any fixed schedule for repayment. Those making the loans did not intend that the sums advanced would be treated as gifts by Mara, but were content to receive their money back, once Mara was in a position so to do. Desmond told the Tribunal that he had lent £46,000 to Mr Mara between 1986 and 1989. Mr Barry said he remembered lending Mara a sum of £2,000 on one occasion between 1982 and 1984.[4]

In the Second Interim Report of the Flood Tribunal, Judge Feargus Flood found that Mara failed to co-operate with the Tribunal by: "Failing to provide the Tribunal with details of an account in the name of Pullman Limited, operated by him at Royal Bank of Scotland in the Isle of Man, when swearing his Affidavit of Discovery made pursuant to an Order of the Tribunal requiring him to discover, inter alia, any such account."[4]

Personal life[edit]

Mara married Breda Brogan from Kinvara, County Galway. They had one son, John. Breda died in 2003. With his partner Sheila, Mara had a daughter, Elena, born in 2013.[5][6]


Mara died at the Beacon Hospital after a long illness on 15 January 2016 at the age of 73. He died without a will, leaving an estate of €1,593,213.[7][8][9][6]He was buried in Kinvara, Co. Galway.[10]


  1. ^ "Patrick Mara". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  2. ^ "Irish Examiner". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  3. ^ PJ Mara obituary: flamboyant character who was central to FF for three decades, Irish Times, January 15, 2016
  4. ^ a b "The Second Interim Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Mattersand Payments" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  5. ^ http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/obituary-pj-mara-a-cultured-and-affable-lover-of-life-but-with-ruthless-streak-34369230.html
  6. ^ a b http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/fianna-fil-stalwart-pj-mara-left-no-will-for-his-16m-estate-35115134.html
  7. ^ "Long-serving Fianna Fáil political advisor PJ Mara has died". Journal. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Tributes pour in as former political strategist PJ Mara (73) passes away". Irish Independent. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Former advisor to Charlie Haughey, PJ Mara, has died". evoke.ie. 15 January 2016.
  10. ^ Siggins, Lorna. "Former taoisigh among mourners at PJ Mara's burial". www.irishtimes.com. Retrieved 6 November 2020.