1976 Irish presidential election
|Patrick Hillery ran unopposed|
Background to the election
Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh resigned as president soon after an attack on him by Paddy Donegan, the Minister for Defence, in which the minister called the President a "thundering disgrace" for having referred the Emergency Powers Bill 1976 to the Supreme Court. Ó Dálaigh resigned on 22 October after Dáil Éireann supported the minister in a motion of no confidence.
Under Article 12 of the Constitution of Ireland, a candidate for president could be nominated by:
- at least twenty of the 204 serving members of the Houses of the Oireachtas, or
- at least four of 31 councils of the administrative counties, including county boroughs
- a former or retiring president, on their own nomination.
Fianna Fáil leader Jack Lynch proposed as the party's presidential election candidate Patrick Hillery, retiring European Commissioner for Social Affairs and former Minister for External Affairs. Charles Haughey, a critic of Lynch, proposed Joseph Brennan, TD for Donegal–Leitrim and a former Minister for Social Welfare. Hillery easily won the party nomination.
|Irish presidential election 1976|
|Patrick Hillery||Oireachtas: Fianna Fáil|
Patrick Hillery was inaugurated as president on 3 December.
- It was widely believed at the time, including by Ó Dálaigh himself, that Donegan's actual words were "thundering bollocks and fucking disgrace", and that the version published by the media was sanitised. However, the one journalist present at the occasion (a correspondent for The Cork Examiner newspaper) has always insisted that the actual words used were "thundering disgrace" and nothing else. Of more offence was Donegan's comment that "the fact is the army must stand behind the state", a comment which the President interpreted as implying that he, the Army's Commander-in-Chief, did not. Donegan was ultimately demoted from cabinet on 2 December, the day before Hillery took office as president, and received treatment for his drink problem.
- "Dáil Éireann Debate: Call for Resignation of Minister: Motion". Houses of the Oireachtas. 21 October 1976. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
- "Presidential Elections 1938–2011" (PDF). Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. p. 30. Retrieved 8 August 2018.