Loughnane, William (‘Bill’, ‘Willie’) (1915–82), hurler, musician, doctor, and politician, was born 5 August 1915 in Feakle, Co. Clare, son of Willie Loughnane, farmer and shopkeeper, and Kate Loughnane (née McInerney), and educated at Feakle national school, St Flannan's College, Ennis, CBS Limerick, and UCD, where he studied medicine. In 1938, while at UCD, he won an all-Ireland senior hurling championship with Dublin, scoring Dublin's second goal in their 2–5 to 1–6 victory over Waterford. Having qualified as a doctor, he worked in the army medical corps till 1969, and was also a member of the Irish Medical Union and chairman of the Clare–Limerick branch of the Irish Medical Association (1966–7). A talented fiddle player, he was a member of CCÉ and the Tulla céilí band, with which he toured Britain and the USA and won two all-Ireland championships during the 1950s and 1960s.
Entering national politics in 1969 when he was elected a Fianna Fáil TD, he remained a member of Dáil Éireann till 1982, representing the constituencies of Clare–Galway South (1969–77), Galway West (1977–81), and Clare (1981–2). He was a strong supporter of Charles Haughey and an outspoken opponent of Jack Lynch (qv). His public criticism of Lynch, seen as an indication of backbench dissatisfaction with the Fianna Fáil leader, was a factor in Lynch's decision to resign as taoiseach in 1979. In November 1979, while on a visit to the USA, Lynch announced that British aircraft had been given permission to overfly the border as an anti-terrorist measure. Loughnane then accused the taoiseach of lying to the dáil about security cooperation with Britain. George Colley (qv) failed to convince a Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting to withdraw the party whip from Loughnane as a result of his comments, and he was merely asked to withdraw them instead. Lynch resigned as taoiseach the following month. Loughnane's comments on the issue were also an indication of his strong republican views; he supported the IRA prisoners during the 1981 H-block hunger strike, describing himself as ‘a republican like Bobby Sands (qv)’ (Ir. Press, 19 Oct. 1982). On 18 October 1982 Loughnane died at Ennis county hospital, having been taken suddenly ill. His death had serious political repercussions for Charles Haughey's minority Fianna Fáil government; with the hospitalisation of another Fianna Fáil TD, Jim Gibbons (qv), and the withdrawal of support for the government by left-wing TDs dissatisfied at budgetary cutbacks, the government was defeated in a confidence motion on 4 November. The ensuing general election returned a Fine Gael–Labour coalition.
Two months before his death, Loughnane married (28 August 1982) Margaret, daughter of Thomas Kirby and Julia Kirby (née Ryan) of Tuamgraney, Co. Clare. His first wife, Patricia McCabe, with whom he had two sons and three daughters, died in 1981. His son Billy unsuccessfully contested the November 1982 general election in Clare as an independent, unhappy with the decision of Fianna Fáil to select Síle de Valera as its candidate, and was also defeated in the 1989 general election, when he stood as a Fianna Fáil candidate in Clare–Galway.