Avril Doyle was elected to the Senate
(Agricultural Panel) in 1997.
She was a Dáil Deputy between 1982
and 1989 and from 1992 to 1997.
She was a Senator (Fine Gael Deputy
Leader in the Senate) from 1989-92.
|Avril was Minister
of State at the Department of Finance with responsibility for Office
of Public Works and
the Environment in 1986-87 and between 1994 and 1997 she was Minister of State at the Departments of the
Taoiseach, Finance and Transport, Energy and Communications.
Senator Doyle, a Public Representative for almost a quarter of a century, was born in Dublin in 1949
to Dr. Dick Belton and Dr. Freda Belton. She was educated at Holy Child Convent, Killiney and at University
College, Dublin where she received a Bachelors Degree in Science (Biochemistry).
Further studies in the French Language took her to the University of Grenoble in South West France and
a course in English Literature brought her to Nottingham University in England.
Avril Doyle's professional experience includes a short period working in the Biochemistry laboratory at
St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin. She also taught Science and Mathematics at Holy Child Convent in Killiney
and Presentation Convent in Wexford, respectively.
Avril Doyle's extensive political experience has deep roots in her own family history, going back to
the foundation of the State. Her father, Dr. Dick Belton, was a member of Oireachtas Eireann as was her
grandfather, Paddy Belton, who was also Lord Mayor of Dublin. Two of Mrs. Doyle's uncles, Jack and Paddy
Belton, were also Lord Mayors of Dublin and members of the Oireachtas. Two cousins of hers, Luke and
Louis Belton, have also been members of the Oireachtas at various times, with Louis holding the second
Dáil seat for Fine Gael in Longford / Roscommon until the 1997 General Election
Senator Doyle's own career as a politician commenced with her election to Wexford Corporation and
Wexford County Council in June 1974. In 1976 she became the first woman Mayor of Wexford.
At her first attempt, she was elected to Dáil Eireann at the 1982 General Election when she was part of a
spectacular Fine Gael performance which saw three of the five seats for the county going to the Party.
Mrs. Doyle's first senior political appointment at national level was in 1986 when Taoiseach, Dr. Garret
FitzGerald, made her Minister of State with responsibility for Public Works and the Environment. She was
re-elected to the Dáil in 1987 and in the period that followed she was shadow spokesperson on Agriculture,
Marine and the Environment at different times.
When she lost her Dáil seat in 1989, Avril Doyle was elected to the Senate on the Agriculture Panel and was
made deputy leader in the Senate and finance spokeswoman.
She regained her Dáil seat in 1992 and was subsequently made spokeswoman on Agriculture.
She continued to serve in this position until December 1994 when Fine Gael entered Government with Labour
and Democratic Left.
In the outgoing Government, Mrs. Doyle was Minister of State at the Departments of the Taoiseach, Finance
and Transport, Energy and Communications. While in Government, she has responsibility for Strategic
Management Initiative in the Public Service and chaired the Government's Great Famine Commemoration
Committee and the 1798 Commemoration Committee. She was elected to the Seanad in August 1997.
In both her official capacities and in her private life, Avril Doyle has travelled extensively worldwide,
particularly in Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, China and the Middle East.
Mrs. Doyle's business experience includes the establishment of a successful retail clothing business,
The Chic Shop, in Wexford town in 1974. While she no longer has any interest in the business, the shop
continues to thrive.
As regards family matters, Avril Belton married Fred Doyle in December 1971 and settled in Wexford where
they have raised three daughters. Mrs. Doyle has a keen interest in a wide range of sports, but is perhaps
best known for her active interest in equestrian sports.