President of Ireland

Template:Infobox political post

The President of Ireland (Irish: Uachtarán na hÉireann OOk-theerawn na HAY-run) is the head of state of Ireland. It is mostly ceremonial and elections are held every seven years, a person can be elected for up to two terms. The current President of Ireland is Michael D. Higgins.


  • Appoints the government: The President formally appoints the Taoiseach (head of government) and other ministers, and accepts their resignations.
  • Signs bills into law: The President cannot veto a bill that the Dáil and the Seanad have adopted.
  • Power of pardon: The President, on the advice of the Government, has "the right of pardon and the power to commute or remit punishment".[1]
  • The President is ex officio President of the Irish Red Cross Society.[2]
  • The President appoints, on the advice of the Government, the Senior Professors and chairman of the council of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies;[3]

List of Presidents of Ireland

The functions of the President were exercised by the Presidential Commission from the coming into force of the Constitution on 29 December 1937 until the election of Douglas Hyde in 1938, and during the vacancies of 1974, 1976, and 1997.

No. Name
Portrait Previous service Term of office Nominated by Election
1 Douglas Hyde
60px Senator
(1925, 1938)
25 June 1938 24 June 1945 All-party nomination 1938
2 Séan T. O'Kelly
60px Tánaiste
25 June 1945 24 June 1959 Fianna Fáil 1945
Himself[n 1] 1952
3 Éamon de Valera
60px Taoiseach
(1932–1948, 1951–1954, 1957–1959)
25 June 1959 24 June 1973 Fianna Fáil 1959
Fianna Fáil[n 2] 1966
4 Erskine H. Childers
25 June 1973 17 November 1974 Fianna Fáil 1973
5 Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh[4]
Chief Justice of Ireland
19 December 1974 22 October 1976 All-party nomination 1974
6 Patrick Hillery
60px European Commissioner for Social Affairs
3 December 1976 2 December 1990 Fianna Fáil 1976
Fianna Fáil 1983
7 Mary Robinson
60px Senator
3 December 1990 12 September 1997 Labour Party 1990
Workers' Party
8 Mary McAleese
60px Reid Professor of Criminal law, Criminology and
Penology at Trinity College, Dublin
11 November 1997 10 November 2011 Fianna Fáil 1997
Herself 2004
9 Michael D. Higgins
60px Minister for Arts, Culture and Gaeltacht
11 November 2011 Incumbent Labour Party 2011


  1. In 1952 Seán T. O'Kelly re-nominated himself, as was his right under the Constitution. This allowed him a free run, as he was not the nominee of a specific party, and the other parties could let him be re-elected unopposed without loss of face.
  2. Unlike Seán T. O'Kelly in 1952, De Valera was renominated in 1966 by Fianna Fáil. As a result, Fine Gael felt honour bound to nominate a candidate, albeit low key. In the event their candidate, Tom O'Higgins, came within 1% (or 10,000 votes) of winning.


  1. Constitution of Ireland: Article 13.6
  2. Red Cross Act, 1944 Irish Statute Book
  3. Institute For Advanced Studies Act, 1940
  4. His name is sometimes given in the alternative spelling of Carroll O'Daly. Harris M. Lentz, Heads of States and Governments Since 1945 (2014, Template:Catalog lookup linkScript error: No such module "check isxn".), p. 421

Other websites

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