Lynch held a number of government posts, including minister for education (1957–1959), industry and commerce (1959–1965), and finance (1965–1966). In November 1966 he succeeded Séan Lemass as both the leader of the Fianna Fáil party and prime minister. The chief problem confronting Lynch was the outbreak of violence in Northern Ireland in 1969. He took a different position regarding Northern Ireland, believing that unity would only be achieved with the consent of the North.
In 1970 Prime Minister Lynch was confronted with a serious crisis when two of his cabinet ministers were accused of seeking to divert government funds to purchase arms for the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Lynch promptly fired both men. He also took a strong stance against paramilitaries by backing passage of the Offenses Against the State Amendment Act. Lynch supported Ireland's entry into the European Economic Community (EEC) and shepherded a successful referendum on the issue in 1972.
Narrowly defeated in the 1973 general election, Lynch returned to power in 1977 when Fianna Fáil won an absolute majority in the Dáil. In domestic policies, he resorted to borrowing in order to jump-start the sluggish Irish economy. In November 1979 he resigned as prime minister while concurrently serving as president of the EEC and was replaced by Charles Haughey. Lynch died in Dublin on 20 October 1999.
Cezar Stanciu and Spencer C. Tucker
O'Mahony, T. P. Jack Lynch: A Biography. Dublin, Ireland: Blackwater, 1991.; O'Malley, Padraig. Uncivil Wars: Ireland Today. Boston: Beacon, 1991.