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Irish presidential election, 1974

Irish presidential election, 1974
Republic of Ireland
← 1973 17 November 1974
1976 →
Nominee Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh
Party Fianna Fáil
Popular vote N/A
Percentage N/A

President before election

Erskine H. Childers
Fianna Fáil

Elected President

Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh

The Irish presidential election of 1974 resulted from the sudden death in office of President Erskine H. Childers. Initially all parties secretly agreed to nominate the late president's widow, Rita Childers. Before it was announced, or indeed before she was even informed of the plan, a mix-up led to the collapse of the arrangement.[citation needed]

A partially deaf Fine Gael minister, Tom O'Donnell, misheard a journalist's question asking about the decision of a local council to propose that Mrs. Childers be elected president. Thinking that the journalist already knew of Mrs. Childers' proposed nomination, O'Donnell confirmed that Rita Childers would indeed be the fifth president of Ireland. However the opposition Fianna Fáil withdrew from the agreement, thinking that it was being set up by the Government. It feared that the Government was seeking to gain political credit for her selection.

Instead Fianna Fáil proposed Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh, a former Chief Justice and an Attorney-General under Éamon de Valera. All parties agreed to the nomination. With no other candidates nominated, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh was declared elected without a poll as the fifth president of Ireland.[1]

Fianna Fáil leader Jack Lynch only discovered that the Fine Gael minister's confirmation of the planned nomination of Mrs. Childers had been an accident, and not a political set up, while chatting to ministers at President Ó Dálaigh's inauguration.[citation needed]


Irish presidential election, 1974[1]
Party Candidate 1st Pref  % Seat Count
Independent Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh Unopposed

See also


  1. ^ a b "Presidential Election 17 November 1974". Retrieved 4 December 2009.