Government of the 20th Dáil

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Government of the 20th Dáil
14th Government of Ireland
Date formed 14 March 1973
Date dissolved 5 July 1977
People and organizations
Head of government Liam Cosgrave
Deputy head of government Brendan Corish
Head of state Éamon de Valera (1973)
Erskine H. Childers (1973–74)
Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh (1974–76)
Patrick Hillery (1976–77)
Total number of ministers 16
Member parties Fine Gael
Labour Party
Status in legislature Coalition
Opposition leader Jack Lynch (Fianna Fáil)
History
Election(s) 1973 general election
Legislature term(s) 20th Dáil
Previous 13th Government of Ireland
Successor 15th Government of Ireland

The 20th Dáil was elected at the 1973 general election on 28 February 1973 and first met on 14 March when the 14th Government of Ireland was appointed. The 20th Dáil lasted for 1,569 days.

14th Government of Ireland[edit]

The 14th Government of Ireland (14 March 1973 – 5 July 1977) – or more commonly the National Coalition – was the name given to the coalition government formed in 1973 by Fine Gael and the Labour Party.[1] The National Coalition was led by Liam Cosgrave, the Fine Gael leader, as Taoiseach, and Brendan Corish, the Labour Party leader, as Tánaiste. It remained in power for four years but was defeated in the 1977 general election, when the opposition Fianna Fáil party won the biggest landslide in Irish electoral history.

The National Coalition is remembered, among other things, for restricting the power of the National Council for Educational Awards. This forced the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick and Thomond College of Education, Limerick to apply to the National University of Ireland for the conferring of degrees and diplomas. This government was also remembered as a reforming government, for instance removed the requirement that Irish be passed to obtain a Leaving Certificate; also of reforming the civil service by removing the requirement of knowledge in Irish and the mandatory retirement on marriage that many women faced during their civil service careers.

The coalition also governed during the term of President Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh. President Ó Dálaigh resigned as a result of comments made by the Minister of Defence, Paddy Donegan. The Minister had described the President as a "thundering disgrace" because the President had referred the Emergency Powers Act, 1976 to the Supreme Court. Although the Minister issued a belated apology and privately offered to resign, the Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave refused to remove him from the Cabinet. Ó Dálaigh felt that the refusal to remove the Minister was an affront to his office by the Government and resigned. This controversy damaged the image of the National Coalition severely.

Office Name Term Party
Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave 1973–77 Fine Gael
Tánaiste Brendan Corish 1973–77 Labour Party
Minister for Health
Minister for Social Welfare
Minister for Agriculture Mark Clinton 1973–77 Fine Gael
Minister for Defence Paddy Donegan 1973–76 Fine Gael
Minister for Education Richard Burke[2] 1973–76 Fine Gael
Minister for Finance Richie Ryan 1973–77 Fine Gael
Minister for the Public Service
Minister for Foreign Affairs Garret FitzGerald 1973–77 Fine Gael
Minister for the Gaeltacht Tom O'Donnell 1973–77 Fine Gael
Minister for Industry and Commerce Justin Keating 1973–77 Labour Party
Minister for Justice Patrick Cooney 1973–77 Fine Gael
Minister for Labour Michael O'Leary 1973–77 Labour Party
Minister for Lands Tom Fitzpatrick 1973–76 Fine Gael
Minister for Local Government James Tully 1973–77 Labour Party
Minister for Posts and Telegraphs Conor Cruise O'Brien 1973–77 Labour Party
Minister for Transport and Power Peter Barry 1973–76 Fine Gael

Changes 2 December 1976[edit]

Office Name Term Party
Minister for Education Peter Barry 1976–77 Fine Gael
Minister for Transport and Power Tom Fitzpatrick 1976–77 Fine Gael
Minister for Lands Paddy Donegan 1976–77 Fine Gael
Minister for Defence[3] Liam Cosgrave (acting) Fine Gael

Changes 16 December 1976[edit]

Office Name Term Party
Minister for Defence Oliver J. Flanagan 1976–77 Fine Gael

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "History of Government – Twentieth Dáil". Department of the Taoiseach. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Richard Burke resigned from cabinet on 2 December 1976 in order to become Ireland's EC Commissioner.
  3. ^ Liam Cosgrave was acting Minister for Defence from 2 to 16 December 1976.