Irish heads of government since 1919

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Ireland[edit]

The head of government, or prime minister, of Ireland is known as the Taoiseach and heads a cabinet called the Government. However, since 1919, heads of government in the Irish state have borne a number of titles. Under the short-lived Irish Republic of 1919–22 the head of government was known first as the President of Dáil Éireann and later as the President of the Republic. Under the Irish Free State of 1922–37 the head of government was the President of the Executive Council. There also briefly existed, immediately before the creation of the Irish Free State, an interim office of Chairman of the Provisional Government. For a brief period in 1921 the offices of President of the Republic and Chairman of the Provisional Government existed simultaneously.

Offices[edit]

Head Deputy Cabinet State Constitution Date
President of Dáil Éireann/
President of the Irish Republic[1]
N/A Ministry Irish Republic Dáil Constitution 21 January 1919 – 6 December 1922
26 August 1921 – 6 December 1922
Chairman of the Provisional Government N/A Provisional Government Southern Ireland Irish Free State (Agreement) Act 1922 3 May 1921 – 6 December 1922
President of the Executive Council Vice-President Executive Council Irish Free State Constitution of the Irish Free State 6 December 1922 – 29 December 1937
Taoiseach Tánaiste Government Ireland Constitution of Ireland 29 December 1937 – present

List of office-holders[edit]

No. Name
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Term of office Party Constituency Government
1. Cathal Brugha
(1874–1922)
Cathalbrugha.JPG 21 January 1919 1 April 1919 Sinn Féin Waterford 1st Ministry
2. Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
Eamon de Valera c 1922-30.jpg 1 April 1919 9 January 1922 Sinn Féin Clare 2nd Ministry
(1919–1921)
3rd Ministry
(1921–1922)
3. Arthur Griffith
(1872–1922)[2]
Arthur Griffith (1871-1922).jpg 10 January 1922 12 August 1922 Sinn Féin
(Pro-Treaty faction)
Cavan 4th Ministry
4. Michael Collins
(1890–1922)[2]
Michael Collins 1921.jpg 16 January 1922 22 August 1922 Sinn Féin
(Pro-Treaty faction)
Cork Mid, North,
South, South East and West
1st Provisional Government
5. W. T. Cosgrave
(1880–1965)
WTCosgrave2.jpg 22 August 1922 9 March 1932 Cumann na nGaedheal[3] Carlow–Kilkenny
(1922–1927)
Cork Borough
(1927–1932)
1st Provisional Government
(1922)
2nd Provisional Government
(1922)
1st Executive Council
(1922–1923)
2nd Executive Council
(1923–1927)
3rd Executive Council
(1927)
4th Executive Council
(1927–1930)
5th Executive Council
(1930–1932)
(2) Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
Eamon de Valera c 1922-30.jpg 9 March 1932 18 February 1948 Fianna Fáil[4] Clare 6th Executive Council
(1932–1933)
7th Executive Council
(1933–1937)
8th Executive Council
(1937)
1st Government
(1937–1938)
2nd Government
(1938–1943)
3rd Government
(1943–1944)
4th Government
(1944–1948)
6. John A. Costello
(1891–1976)
US visit of Taoiseach Costello in 1956 (cropped).jpg 18 February 1948 13 June 1951 Fine Gael[5] Dublin South-East 5th Government
(2) Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
Eamon de Valera c 1922-30.jpg 13 June 1951 2 June 1954 Fianna Fáil Clare 6th Government
(6) John A. Costello
(1891–1976)
US visit of Taoiseach Costello in 1956 (cropped).jpg 2 June 1954 20 March 1957 Fine Gael Dublin South-East 7th Government
(2) Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
Eamon de Valera c 1922-30.jpg 20 March 1957 23 June 1959 Fianna Fáil Clare 8th Government
7. Seán Lemass
(1899–1971)
Séan Lemass at Schiphol Airport (cropped).jpg 23 June 1959 10 November 1966 Fianna Fáil Dublin South-Central 9th Government
(1959–1961)
10th Government
(1961–1965)
11th Government
(1965–1966)
8. Jack Lynch
(1917–1999)
Jack Lynch 1967 (cropped).jpg 10 November 1966 14 March 1973 Fianna Fáil Cork Borough
(1966–1969)
Cork City North-West
(1969–1973)
12th Government
(1966–1969)
13th Government
(1969–1973)
9. Liam Cosgrave
(1920–2017)
Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave-Patricks Day 1976.jpg 14 March 1973 5 July 1977 Fine Gael Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown 14th Government
(8) Jack Lynch
(1917–1999)
Jack Lynch 1967 (cropped).jpg 5 July 1977 11 December 1979 Fianna Fáil Cork City 15th Government
10. Charles Haughey
(1925–2006)
Charles Haughey 1967.jpg 11 December 1979 30 June 1981 Fianna Fáil Dublin Artane 16th Government
11. Garret FitzGerald
(1926–2011)
Garret FitzGerald Lisbon 2009 crop.jpg 30 June 1981 9 March 1982 Fine Gael Dublin South-East 17th Government
(10) Charles Haughey
(1925–2006)
Charles Haughey 1967.jpg 9 March 1982 14 December 1982 Fianna Fáil Dublin North-Central 18th Government
(11) Garret FitzGerald
(1926–2011)
Garret FitzGerald Lisbon 2009 crop.jpg 14 December 1982 10 March 1987 Fine Gael Dublin South-East 19th Government
(10) Charles Haughey
(1925–2006)
Charles Haughey 1967.jpg 10 March 1987 11 February 1992 Fianna Fáil Dublin North-Central 20th Government
(1987–1989)
21st Government
(1989–1992)
12. Albert Reynolds
(1932–2014)
Albert Reynolds crop.jpg 11 February 1992 15 December 1994 Fianna Fáil Longford–Roscommon 22nd Government
(1992–1993)
23rd Government
(1993–1994)
13. John Bruton
(born 1947)
John Bruton 2011.jpg 15 December 1994 26 June 1997 Fine Gael Meath 24th Government
(1994–1997)
14. Bertie Ahern
(born 1951)
BertieAhernBerlin2007.jpg 26 June 1997 7 May 2008 Fianna Fáil Dublin Central 25th Government
(1997–2002)
26th Government
(2002–2007)
27th Government
(2007–2008)
15. Brian Cowen
(born 1960)
Brian Cowennoflag.jpg 7 May 2008 9 March 2011 Fianna Fáil Laois–Offaly 28th Government
16. Enda Kenny
(born 1951)
Enda Kenny EPP 2014 (cropped).jpg 9 March 2011 14 June 2017 Fine Gael Mayo 29th Government
(2011–2016)
30th Government
(2016–2017)
17. Leo Varadkar
(born 1979)
Tallinn Digital Summit. Handshake Leo Varadkar and Jüri Ratas (36679163084) (cropped).jpg 14 June 2017 Incumbent Fine Gael Dublin West 31th Government

Northern Ireland[edit]

The most recent devolved cabinet in Northern Ireland is the Northern Ireland Executive, established under the Good Friday Agreement. The Executive has been in operation, intermittently, since 1999; but had existed continuously since 2007, but after elections following a government collapsed on 16 January 2017, no Executive has been formed. Since 1921, there have been three different prime ministerial offices in Northern Ireland. The most recent structure, the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister, represents a diarchy. As such, there is no longer a singular executive office, but rather a dual office.

Offices[edit]

Head Cabinet Date
Prime Minister Government 7 June 1921 – 30 March 1972
Chief Executive Executive (Sunningdale) 1 January 1974 – 28 May 1974
First Minister and deputy First Minister Executive 1 July 1998 – present

List of office-holders[edit]

No. Name
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Term of office Party Constituency Government
1. Sir James Craig
(1871–1940)[6]
James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon.jpg 7 June 1921 24 November 1940 Ulster Unionist Party Down
(1921–1929)
North Down
(1929–1940)
Craigavon ministry
2. John Miller Andrews
(1871–1956)
John Miller Andrews.jpg 25 November 1940 1 May 1943 Ulster Unionist Party Mid Down Andrews ministry
3. Sir Basil Brooke
(1888–1973)[7]
No image.png 1 May 1943 25 March 1963 Ulster Unionist Party Lisnaskea Brookeborough ministry
4. Terence O'Neill
(1914–1990)
No image.png 25 March 1963 1 May 1969 Ulster Unionist Party Bannside O'Neill ministry
5. James Chichester-Clark
(1923–2002)
James Chichester-Clark 1970.jpg 1 May 1969 23 March 1971 Ulster Unionist Party South Londonderry Chichester-Clark ministry
6. Brian Faulkner
(1921–1977)
No image.png 23 March 1971 30 March 1972 Ulster Unionist Party East Down Faulkner ministry
(6) 1 January 1974 28 May 1974 South Down 1974 Executive
First Ministers
1. David Trimble
(born 1944)
David Trimble.jpg 1 July 1998 14 October 2002 Ulster Unionist Party Upper Bann First Executive
2. Ian Paisley
(1926–2014)
Ian Paisley - (cropped).png 8 May 2007 5 June 2008 Democratic Unionist Party North Antrim Second Executive
3. Peter Robinson
(born 1944)
Peter Robinson MLA DUP.jpg 5 June 2008 11 January 2016 Democratic Unionist Party Belfast East Second Executive
(2008–2011)
Third Executive
(2011–2016)
4. Arlene Foster
(born 1970)
Arlene Foster DUP MLA.jpg 11 January 2016 9 January 2017 Democratic Unionist Party Fermanagh and South Tyrone Fourth Executive
deputy First Ministers
1. Seamus Mallon
(born 1936)
Seamus Mallon speaking at John Hewitt International Summer School 2017.png 1 July 1998 6 November 2001 Social Democratic and Labour Party Newry and Armagh First Executive
2. Mark Durkan
(born 1960)
MarkDurkan.jpg 6 November 2001 14 October 2002 Social Democratic and Labour Party Foyle First Executive
3. Martin McGuinness
(1950–2017)
Martin McGuinness MLA.jpg 8 May 2007 9 January 2017 Sinn Féin Mid Ulster
(2007–2016)
Foyle
(2016–2017)
Second Executive
(2007–2011)
Third Executive
(2011–2016)
Fourth Executive
(2016–2017)

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ The President of Dáil Éireann, also known as the Príomh Aire, was upgraded to a head of state-level President of the Irish Republic in August 1921.
  2. ^ a b From January to August 1922 there were two administrations operating in parallel, the Ministry of the self-declared independent Irish Republic and the Provisional Government accepted by the United Kingdom, and each cabinet had an overlapping membership. De Valera had filled both posts, but after his resignation there were two heads of government, Arthur Griffith, as President of the Republic, and Michael Collins as Chairman of the Provisional Government of Southern Ireland. This anomalous situation came about because the British Government would only recognise the parliament that it had established through the Government of Ireland Act, so Sinn Féin participated in the charade to move matters along. To add to the confusion, Collins was Griffith's Minister of Finance, while Griffith was Collins's Minister for Foreign Affairs. The dual leadership came to an end when W. T. Cosgrave assumed both offices on the deaths of Griffith, on 12 August 1922, and Collins, on 22 August, and merged the two parallel administrations.
  3. ^ When W. T. Cosgrave first became head of government he was still technically a member of Sinn Féin. However the pro-Treaty faction of Sinn Féin reformed itself as Cumann na nGaedheal shortly afterwards.
  4. ^ Successor of the Sinn Féin Anti-Treaty faction
  5. ^ Successor of Cumann na nGaedheal and two more parties.
  6. ^ After 1927, the Viscount Craigavon
  7. ^ After 1952, the Viscount Brookeborough