Minister for Defence (Ireland)
|Minister for Defence|
|Department of Defence|
|Member of||Government of Ireland|
|Inaugural holder||Richard Mulcahy|
|Formation||22 January 1919|
|Website||Department of Defence|
The Minister for Defence (Irish: An tAire Cosanta) is the senior minister at the Department of Defence in the Government of Ireland. The current Minister for Defence is Simon Coveney, TD. He is also Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Department is responsible for the Irish Defence Forces. The Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924 assigned the minister the additional title of Commander-in-Chief as the Chairman of the Council of Defence. The Defence Act 1954 removed this title, as a result of the reconstitution of the Council of Defence. The President of Ireland, a largely ceremonial role, is considered the Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces. In practice, the Minister acts on the President's behalf and reports to the Irish Government. The Minister for Defence is advised by the Council of Defence on the business of the Department of Defence.
From 1978 to 2020, the Minister for Defence was assisted by the junior ministerial role of Minister of State at the Department of Defence.
Ministers for Defence since 1919
|No.||Name||Term of office||Party||Government(s)[a]|
|1||Richard Mulcahy[b] (1st time)||22 January 1919||1 April 1919||Sinn Féin||1st DM|
|2||Cathal Brugha[c]||1 April 1919||9 January 1922||Sinn Féin||2nd DM · 3rd DM|
|Richard Mulcahy (2nd time)||10 January 1922||19 March 1924||Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty)||4th DM · 1st PG · 2nd PG · 5th DM ·|
1st EC · 2nd EC
|3||W. T. Cosgrave (acting)||20 March 1924||21 November 1924||Cumann na nGaedheal||2nd EC|
|4||Peter Hughes||21 November 1924||23 June 1927||Cumann na nGaedheal||2nd EC|
|5||Desmond FitzGerald||23 June 1927||9 March 1932||Cumann na nGaedheal||3rd EC · 4th EC · 5th EC|
|6||Frank Aiken||9 March 1932||8 September 1939||Fianna Fáil||6th EC · 7th EC · 8th EC · 1st · 2nd|
|7||Oscar Traynor (1st time)||8 September 1939||18 February 1948||Fianna Fáil||2nd · 3rd · 4th|
|8||Thomas F. O'Higgins||18 February 1948||7 March 1951||Fine Gael||5th|
|9||Seán Mac Eoin (1st time)||7 March 1951||13 June 1951||Fine Gael||5th|
|Oscar Traynor (2nd time)||13 June 1951||2 June 1954||Fianna Fáil||6th|
|Seán Mac Eoin (2nd time)||2 June 1954||20 March 1957||Fine Gael||7th|
|10||Kevin Boland||20 March 1957||11 October 1961||Fianna Fáil||8th · 9th|
|11||Gerald Bartley||11 October 1961||21 April 1965||Fianna Fáil||10th|
|12||Michael Hilliard||21 April 1965||2 July 1969||Fianna Fáil||11th · 12th|
|13||Jim Gibbons||2 July 1969||9 May 1970||Fianna Fáil||13th|
|14||Jerry Cronin||9 May 1970||14 March 1973||Fianna Fáil||13th|
|15||Paddy Donegan||14 March 1973||2 December 1976||Fine Gael||14th|
|16||Liam Cosgrave (acting)[d]||2 December 1976||16 December 1976||Fine Gael||14th|
|17||Oliver J. Flanagan||16 December 1976||5 July 1977||Fine Gael||14th|
|18||Bobby Molloy||5 July 1977||11 December 1979||Fianna Fáil||15th|
|19||Pádraig Faulkner||12 December 1979||15 October 1980||Fianna Fáil||16th|
|20||Sylvester Barrett||15 October 1980||30 June 1981||Fianna Fáil||16th|
|21||James Tully||30 June 1981||9 March 1982||Labour Party||17th|
|22||Paddy Power||9 March 1982||14 December 1982||Fianna Fáil||18th|
|23||Patrick Cooney||14 December 1982||14 February 1986||Fine Gael||19th|
|24||Paddy O'Toole||14 February 1986||10 March 1987||Fine Gael||19th|
|25||Michael J. Noonan||10 March 1987||12 July 1989||Fianna Fáil||20th|
|26||Brian Lenihan||12 July 1989||31 October 1990||Fianna Fáil||21st|
|27||Charles Haughey (acting)[d]||1 November 1990||5 February 1991||Fianna Fáil||21st|
|28||Brendan Daly||5 February 1991||14 November 1991||Fianna Fáil||21st|
|29||Vincent Brady||14 November 1991||11 February 1992||Fianna Fáil||21st|
|30||John Wilson||11 February 1992||12 January 1993||Fianna Fáil||22nd|
|31||David Andrews[e] (1st time)||12 January 1993||15 December 1994||Fianna Fáil||23rd|
|32||Hugh Coveney[e]||15 December 1994||23 May 1995||Fine Gael||24th|
|33||Seán Barrett[e]||23 May 1995||26 June 1997||Fine Gael||24th|
|David Andrews (2nd time)||26 June 1997||8 October 1997||Fianna Fáil||25th|
|34||Michael Smith||8 October 1997||29 September 2004||Fianna Fáil||25th · 26th|
|35||Willie O'Dea||29 September 2004||18 February 2010||Fianna Fáil||26th · 27th · 28th|
|36||Brian Cowen (acting)[d]||18 February 2010||23 March 2010||Fianna Fáil||28th|
|37||Tony Killeen||23 March 2010||19 January 2011||Fianna Fáil||28th|
|38||Éamon Ó Cuív[f]||20 January 2011||9 March 2011||Fianna Fáil||28th|
|39||Alan Shatter[g]||9 March 2011||7 May 2014||Fine Gael||29th|
|40||Enda Kenny (acting)[d]||7 May 2014||11 July 2014||Fine Gael||29th|
|41||Simon Coveney[h] (1st time)||11 July 2014||6 May 2016||Fine Gael||29th|
|Enda Kenny[d]||6 May 2016||14 June 2017||Fine Gael||30th|
|42||Leo Varadkar[d]||14 June 2017||27 June 2020||Fine Gael||31st|
|Simon Coveney[i] (2nd time)||27 June 2020||Incumbent||Fine Gael||32nd|
- Before 1937: DM – Dáil Ministry; PG – Provisional Government; EC – Executive Council.
- On the first occasion he served as minister Mulcahy bore the title Minister for National Defence.
- Brugha bore the title Secretary of State for Defence.
- Also Taoiseach.
- Also Minister for the Marine.
- Also Minister for Social Protection and (from 23 January) Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
- Also Minister for Justice and Equality.
- Also Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
- Also Minister for Foreign Affairs.
- Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces (Ireland)
- Minister of State at the Department of Defence
- Director of Military Intelligence (Ireland)
- "List of Ministers and Ministers of State", Government of Ireland, retrieved 31 July 2020
- Defence Act 1954
- "Ministers And Secretaries Act 1924, Section 8: Constitution of the Council of Defence". Retrieved 27 June 2020.
the Minister for Defence […] shall be assisted by a Council of Defence