Morrissey, Daniel (1895–1981), trade unionist, politician, and businessman, was born 28 November 1895 in Silver St., Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, one of three sons and one daughter of William Morrissey, carter-contractor, and Bridget Morrissey (née Gleeson). Educated at Nenagh CBS until age 12, he then worked firstly as a grocer's shopboy and thereafter in various labouring jobs. After a dispute with a foreman on the Great Southern Railway (1918) he walked off vowing never to remove his coat ‘for you or for anyone again’ (Guardian (Nenagh) (1978), 4). He secured work as an agent with Pearl Insurance, Nenagh, while also becoming involved in the trade union movement. Within months he helped organise in Nenagh the first south Tipperary branch of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union. Rising rapidly in the movement, he was soon on the union's national executive, a union delegate to the Irish Labour Party and Trade Union Congress (ILPTUC), and a friendly delegate to the Scottish TUC. He opposed the ILPTUC decision not to contest the 1918 general election. He was a leader of the two-week Nenagh general strike (December 1919), and the following month won election to both Nenagh urban council and the board of guardians. Withstanding anti-treatyite pressure, including threats to his life, to withdraw his candidacy, he was elected to Dáil Éireann in the June 1922 general election as Labour deputy for Tipperary Mid, North and South (1922–3), commencing an unbroken dáil tenure that would continue over thirty-five years (1922–57). Reelected in 1923 for the new Tipperary constituency (1923–48), he was Labour chief whip (1923–7) and deputy leader (1927–31). As leas ceann comhairle (1928–32) he won wide respect for his command of parliamentary procedure and his fairness in presiding over frequently turbulent debates after Fianna Fáil's entry to the dáil. In the wake of two murders in his constituency, he broke the Labour whip to support the Cosgrave government's public safety bill (1931), which cracked down on political violence by establishing military courts empowered to impose sentences – including capital punishment – without appeal. Expelled from the Labour Party, he successfully contested the 1932 general election as independent labour. He joined Cumann na nGaedheal in advance of the 1933 election, and when that party merged with the Centre Party and the National Guard (Blueshirts) (September 1933), he was selected to the executive of the resultant Fine Gael.
Partner from the early 1930s in the Nenagh auctioneering firm of Morrissey & Flannery, he subsequently transferred business to Dublin where he established Daniel Morrissey & Sons. Sitting on Fine Gael's front bench through the 1930s and 1940s, he topped the poll in the newly formed Tipperary North constituency (1948–57) in the February 1948 general election. Utilising personal contacts in the trade unions and both wings of the divided Labour Party, he played a key role in forging the first inter-party government under John A. Costello (qv). As minister for industry and commerce (1948–51), he took part in negotiating the 1948 Anglo-Irish trade agreement, securing favourable terms for Irish produce, and pushed through the bill that nationalised the transport company, CIÉ. The first dáil minister ever to travel to Belfast to confer with Northern Ireland ministers (1950), he engaged in discussions on the finances and cross-border service of the Great Northern Railway, and on details of the Erne drainage and hydroelectric scheme. His ministry was noteworthy for institutional innovations implementing policies of the first Irish government to engage in economic planning, a controversial departure necessitated by application for Marshall plan assistance. On foot of recommendations of a committee that examined the serious dollar deficit, he established Córas Tráchtála to promote Irish exports. His most enduring achievement was the founding of the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), launched in 1950 against Fianna Fáil opposition amid considerable recrimination, arising from poor relations between Morrissey and senior civil servants and resentment within both his department and Finance of a transfer of powers to a non-cabinet agency. While ‘conservative and strongly catholic’ (V. Browne, 319), he strenuously promoted reforms in technical education to meet the labour demands of a modernising economy. Genial and approachable, he was an omnivorous reader and a strong platform speaker. Ill-health, requiring hospitalisation and surgery, plagued his time in office, and he was switched to the less demanding Department of Justice for the final three months of the coalition (1951). He assisted in the formation of the second inter-party government (1954), but did not enter the cabinet for health reasons. On the dissolution of the fifteenth dáil (1957) he retired from politics to attend to his health and business. After reorganisation and the opening of a thriving market at Collinstown, Co. Dublin, by the mid 1960s his firm of property, machinery, and general-merchandise auctioneers was among the most successful in the country, involved in the demolition and rebuilding of Liberty Hall among other lucrative contracts. While handing over day-to-day management to his sons in 1965, he did not formally retire until 1978.
Morrissey's wife, Mary, predeceased him; they had two sons and five daughters. He died at his residence, ‘Holmfels,‘ Stillorgan, Co. Dublin, on 4 November 1981.