Records of Irish heads of government since 1922

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The Taoiseach (plural: Taoisigh) is the head of government (or prime minister) of Ireland. Prior to the enactment of the Constitution of Ireland in 1937, the head of government was referred to as the President of the Executive Council. This office was first held by W. T. Cosgrave from 1922 to 1932, and then by Éamon de Valera from 1932 to 1937. By convention Taoisigh are numbered to include Cosgrave,[1][2][3][4] for example Leo Varadkar is considered the 14th Taoiseach not the 13th.

The first list is of all heads of Irish governments since 1922 by electoral history. The second list is by periods in office. The third list gives the total number of days served in office by each and the fourth is a list of individual terms served in order of length. The fifth list is by longevity and the sixth list is by age on entering and leaving office. The seventh is a list of officeholders still living and the eighth list shows a timeline of living/deceased officeholders.

Electoral history[edit]

No. Name Born First elected   Party Constituency Left Dáil
1. W. T. Cosgrave 6 June 1880 10 August 1917[nb 1] Cumann na nGaedheal[nb 2] Kilkenny City (1917–18),
North Kilkenny (1918–21),
Carlow–Kilkenny (1921–27),
Cork Borough (1927–44)
30 May 1944
2. Éamon de Valera 14 October 1882 10 July 1917[nb 1] Fianna Fáil[nb 2] East Clare (1917–22),
Clare (1922–59)
23 June 1959
3. John A. Costello 20 June 1891 24 January 1933 Fine Gael[nb 3] Dublin County (1933–37),
Dublin Townships (1937–43; 1944–48),
Dublin South-East (1948–69)
18 June 1969
4. Seán Lemass 12 July 1899 18 November 1924 Fianna Fáil[nb 2] Dublin South (1924–48),
Dublin South-Central (1948–69)
18 June 1969
5. Jack Lynch 15 August 1917 29 March 1948 Fianna Fáil Cork Borough (1948–69),
Cork City North-West (1969–77),
Cork City (1977–81)
11 June 1981
6. Liam Cosgrave 13 April 1920 29 March 1943 Fine Gael Dublin County (1943–48),
Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown (1948–77),
Dún Laoghaire (1977–81)
11 June 1981
7. Charles Haughey 16 September 1925 29 March 1957 Fianna Fáil Dublin North-East (1957–77),
Dublin Artane (1977–81),
Dublin North-Central (1981–92)
25 November 1992
8. Garret FitzGerald 9 February 1926 18 June 1969 Fine Gael Dublin South-East 25 November 1992
9. Albert Reynolds 3 November 1932 16 June 1977 Fianna Fáil Longford–Westmeath (1977–92),
Longford–Roscommon (1992–2002)
17 May 2002
10. John Bruton 18 May 1947 18 June 1969 Fine Gael Meath 31 October 2004
11. Bertie Ahern 12 September 1951 16 June 1977 Fianna Fáil Dublin Finglas (1977–81),
Dublin Central (1981–2011)
1 February 2011
12. Brian Cowen 10 January 1960 14 June 1984 Fianna Fáil Laois–Offaly 1 February 2011
13. Enda Kenny 24 April 1951 12 November 1975 Fine Gael Mayo West (1975–97),
Mayo (1997–)
14. Leo Varadkar 18 January 1979 24 May 2007 Fine Gael Dublin West

Periods in office[edit]

No. Name Entered office Left office Elected Period   Party
1. W. T. Cosgrave 6 December 1922[nb 4] 9 March 1932 5 terms Cumann na nGaedheal
2. Éamon de Valera 9 March 1932[nb 5][nb 6] 18 February 1948 6 terms[nb 7] 1st time Fianna Fáil
3. John A. Costello 18 February 1948 13 June 1951 1 term 1st time Fine Gael
Éamon de Valera 13 June 1951 2 June 1954 1 term 2nd time Fianna Fáil
John A. Costello 2 June 1954 20 March 1957 1 term 2nd time Fine Gael
Éamon de Valera 20 March 1957 23 June 1959 1 term 3rd time Fianna Fáil
4. Seán Lemass 23 June 1959 10 November 1966 3 terms Fianna Fáil
5. Jack Lynch 10 November 1966 14 March 1973 2 terms 1st time Fianna Fáil
6. Liam Cosgrave 14 March 1973 5 July 1977 1 term Fine Gael
Jack Lynch 5 July 1977 11 December 1979 1 term 2nd time Fianna Fáil
7. Charles Haughey 11 December 1979 30 June 1981 1 term 1st time Fianna Fáil
8. Garret FitzGerald 30 June 1981 9 March 1982 1 term 1st time Fine Gael
Charles Haughey 9 March 1982 14 December 1982 1 term 2nd time Fianna Fáil
Garret FitzGerald 14 December 1982 10 March 1987 1 term 2nd time Fine Gael
Charles Haughey 10 March 1987 11 February 1992 2 terms 3rd time Fianna Fáil
9. Albert Reynolds 11 February 1992 15 December 1994 1 term Fianna Fáil
10. John Bruton 15 December 1994 26 June 1997 1 term Fine Gael
11. Bertie Ahern 26 June 1997 7 May 2008 3 terms Fianna Fáil
12. Brian Cowen 7 May 2008 9 March 2011 1 term Fianna Fáil
13. Enda Kenny 9 March 2011 14 June 2017 2 terms Fine Gael
14. Leo Varadkar 14 June 2017 Incumbent 1 term Fine Gael

Cumulative days served[edit]

No. Name First entered office Finally left office Periods Cumulative days[nb 8]
2. Éamon de Valera 9 March 1932[nb 5] 23 June 1959 3 7,735 (21 years, 2 months)[nb 9][nb 10]
11. Bertie Ahern 26 June 1997 7 May 2008 1 3,968 (10 years, 10 months)
1. W. T. Cosgrave 6 December 1922 9 March 1932 1 3,381 (9 years, 3 months)[nb 11]
5. Jack Lynch 10 November 1966 11 December 1979 2 3,205 (8 years, 9 months)
4. Seán Lemass 23 June 1959 10 November 1966 1 2,697 (7 years, 5 months)
7. Charles Haughey 11 December 1979 11 February 1992 3 2,646 (7 years, 3 months)[nb 8]
13. Enda Kenny 9 March 2011 14 June 2017 1 2,289 (6 years, 3 months)[nb 8]
3. John A. Costello 18 February 1948 20 March 1957 2 2,233 (6 years, 1 month)
8. Garret FitzGerald 30 June 1981 10 March 1987 2 1,799 (4 years, 11 months)
6. Liam Cosgrave 14 March 1973 5 July 1977 1 1,574 (4 years, 4 months)
9. Albert Reynolds 11 February 1992 15 December 1994 1 1,038 (2 years, 10 months)[nb 8]
12. Brian Cowen 7 May 2008 9 March 2011 1 1,036 (2 years, 10 months)
10. John Bruton 15 December 1994 26 June 1997 1 924 (2 years, 6 months)
14. Leo Varadkar 14 June 2017 Incumbent 1 722 (1 year, 11 months)

Length of individual periods[edit]

No. Name Entered office Left office Period No. Period length Length
in days[nb 8]
2. Éamon de Valera 9 March 1932[nb 5] 18 February 1948 1 15 years, 11 months, 16 days 5,824
11. Bertie Ahern 26 June 1997 7 May 2008 1 10 years, 10 months, 11 days 3,968
1. W. T. Cosgrave 6 December 1922 9 March 1932 1 9 years, 3 months, 4 days 3,381[nb 11]
4. Seán Lemass 23 June 1959 11 November 1966 1 7 years, 4 months, 17 days 2,697
5. Jack Lynch 11 November 1966 14 March 1973 1 6 years, 4 months, 4 days 2,316
13. Enda Kenny 9 March 2011 14 June 2017 1 6 years, 3 months, 5 days 2,289[nb 8]
7. Charles Haughey 10 March 1987 11 February 1992 3 4 years, 11 months, 1 day 1,799[nb 8]
6. Liam Cosgrave 14 March 1973 5 July 1977 1 4 years, 3 months, 22 days 1,574
8. Garret FitzGerald 14 December 1982 10 March 1987 2 4 years, 2 months, 27 days 1,547
3. John A. Costello 18 February 1948 13 June 1951 1 3 years, 3 months, 24 days 1,211
Éamon de Valera 13 June 1951 2 June 1954 2 2 years, 11 months, 19 days 1,085
9. Albert Reynolds 11 February 1992 15 December 1994 1 2 years, 10 months, 4 days 1,038[nb 8]
12. Brian Cowen 7 May 2008 9 March 2011 1 2 years, 10 months, 2 days 1,036
John A. Costello 2 June 1954 20 March 1957 2 2 years, 9 months, 18 days 1,022
10. John Bruton 15 December 1994 26 June 1997 1 2 years, 6 months, 11 days 924
Jack Lynch 5 July 1977 11 December 1979 2 2 years, 5 months, 6 days 889
Éamon de Valera 20 March 1957 23 June 1959 3 2 years, 3 months, 3 days 825
14. Leo Varadkar 14 June 2017 Incumbent 1 1 year, 11 months 722
Charles Haughey 11 December 1979 30 June 1981 1 1 year, 6 months, 19 days 567
Charles Haughey 9 March 1982 14 December 1982 2 9 months, 5 days 280
Garret FitzGerald 30 June 1981 9 March 1982 1 8 months, 9 days 252

Longevity[edit]

No. Name Born Died Age as of
6 June 2019
6. Liam Cosgrave 13 April 1920 4 October 2017 97 years, 174 days
2. Éamon de Valera 14 October 1882 29 August 1975 92 years, 319 days
1. W. T. Cosgrave 6 June 1880 16 November 1965 85 years, 163 days
8. Garret FitzGerald 9 February 1926 19 May 2011 85 years, 99 days
3. John A. Costello 20 June 1891 5 January 1976 84 years, 199 days
5. Jack Lynch 15 August 1917 20 October 1999 82 years, 66 days
9. Albert Reynolds 3 November 1932 21 August 2014 81 years, 291 days
7. Charles Haughey 16 September 1925 13 June 2006 80 years, 270 days
4. Seán Lemass 12 July 1899 11 May 1971 71 years, 303 days
10. John Bruton 18 May 1947 72 years, 19 days
13. Enda Kenny 24 April 1951 68 years, 43 days
11. Bertie Ahern 12 September 1951 67 years, 267 days
12. Brian Cowen 10 January 1960 59 years, 147 days
14. Leo Varadkar 18 January 1979 40 years, 139 days

Age on entering/leaving office[edit]

No. Name Born Entered office Age Left office Age
14. Leo Varadkar 18 January 1979 14 June 2017 38 years, 4 months Incumbent
1. W. T. Cosgrave 6 June 1880 6 December 1922 42 years, 6 months 9 March 1932 51 years, 9 months
11. Bertie Ahern 12 September 1951 26 June 1997 45 years, 9 months 7 May 2008 56 years, 7 months
10. John Bruton 18 May 1947 15 December 1994 47 years, 6 months 26 June 1997 50 years, 1 month
12. Brian Cowen 10 January 1960 7 May 2008 48 years, 3 months 9 March 2011 51 years, 1 month
5. Jack Lynch 15 August 1917 10 November 1966 49 years, 2 months 11 December 1979 62 years, 3 months
2. Éamon de Valera 14 October 1882 9 March 1932[nb 5] 49 years, 4 months 23 June 1959 76 years, 8 months
6. Liam Cosgrave 13 April 1920 14 March 1973 52 years, 11 months 5 July 1977 57 years, 2 months
7. Charles Haughey 16 September 1925 11 December 1979 54 years, 2 months 11 February 1992 66 years, 4 months
8. Garret FitzGerald 9 February 1926 30 June 1981 55 years, 4 months 10 March 1987 61 years, 1 month
3. John A. Costello 20 June 1891 18 February 1948 56 years, 7 months 20 March 1957 65 years, 9 months
9. Albert Reynolds 3 November 1932 11 February 1992 59 years, 3 months 15 December 1994 62 years, 1 month
13. Enda Kenny 24 April 1951 9 March 2011 59 years, 10 months 14 June 2017 66 years, 1 month
4. Seán Lemass 12 July 1899 23 June 1959 59 years, 11 months 10 November 1966 67 years, 3 months

Education[edit]

No. Name Second level Third level
1. W. T. Cosgrave St. Joseph's Secondary, Marino none
2. Éamon de Valera C.B.S. Charleville;
Blackrock College
Royal University of Ireland;
Trinity College Dublin (did not graduate)
3. John A. Costello St. Joseph's Secondary, Fairview;
O'Connell School
University College Dublin
4. Seán Lemass O'Connell School University College Cork
5. Jack Lynch North Monastery University College Cork;
King's Inns
6. Liam Cosgrave Synge Street CBS;
Castleknock College
King's Inns
7. Charles Haughey St. Joseph's Secondary, Fairview University College Dublin
8. Garret FitzGerald Belvedere College University College Dublin
9. Albert Reynolds Summerhill College none
10. John Bruton Clongowes Wood College University College Dublin;
King's Inns
11. Bertie Ahern St Aidan's C.B.S. College of Commerce, Rathmines
12. Brian Cowen Cistercian College, Roscrea University College Dublin;
Law Society of Ireland
13. Enda Kenny St Gerald's College, Castlebar St Patrick's College, Drumcondra;
University College Galway
14. Leo Varadkar The King's Hospital Trinity College Dublin

Living officeholders[edit]

There are currently four living former Taoisigh:

Taoiseach Term of office Date of birth
John Bruton 1994–1997 (1947-05-18) 18 May 1947 (age 72)
Bertie Ahern 1997–2008 (1951-09-12) 12 September 1951 (age 67)
Brian Cowen 2008–2011 (1960-01-10) 10 January 1960 (age 59)
Enda Kenny 2011–2017 (1951-04-24) 24 April 1951 (age 68)

Timeline of living/deceased officeholders[edit]

Date Living Deceased Notes
4 October 2017 5 9 Liam Cosgrave dies
14 June 2017 6 8 Leo Varadkar accedes
21 August 2014 5 8 Albert Reynolds dies
19 May 2011 6 7 Garrett FitzGerald dies
9 March 2011 7 6 Enda Kenny accedes
7 May 2008 6 6 Brian Cowen accedes
13 June 2006 5 6 Charles Haughey dies
20 October 1999 6 5 Jack Lynch dies
26 June 1997 7 4 Bertie Ahern accedes
15 December 1994 6 4 John Bruton accedes
11 February 1992 5 4 Albert Reynolds accedes
30 June 1981 4 4 Garret FitzGerald accedes
11 December 1979 3 4 Charles Haughey accedes
6 January 1976 2 4 John A. Costello dies
29 August 1975 3 3 Éamon de Valera dies
14 March 1973 4 2 Liam Cosgrave accedes
16 May 1971 3 2 Seán Lemass dies
10 November 1966 4 1 Jack Lynch accedes
11 May 1965 3 1 W. T. Cosgrave dies
23 June 1959 4 0 Seán Lemass accedes
18 February 1948 3 0 John A. Costello accedes
9 March 1932 2 0 Éamon de Valera accedes
6 December 1922 1 0 W. T. Cosgrave accedes

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b First elected to the British House of Commons in 1917 but did not take his seat.
  2. ^ a b c First elected as member of Sinn Féin.
  3. ^ First elected as a Cumann na nGaedheal Teachta Dála.
  4. ^ Cosgrave also headed the Irish Government from 22 August 1922, during the transitional period before the state became officially independent on 6 December 1922 (See Irish heads of government since 1919).
  5. ^ a b c d De Valera became Taoiseach on 29 December 1937 under the Constitution of Ireland.
  6. ^ De Valera also headed the pre-independence revolutionary Irish Government from 1 April 1919 to 9 January 1922 (See Irish heads of government since 1919).
  7. ^ De Valera also served 3 terms as President of the Executive Council.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Days shown include four short periods when a Taoiseach resigned but continued as Acting Taoiseach, as required by the Article 28.11.1 of the Constitution. These periods are 13 days for Charles Haughey (from 29 June to 12 July 1989), 57 days for Albert Reynolds (29 days from 14 December 1992 to 12 January 1993, and 28 days from 17 November to 15 December 1994), and 57 days for Enda Kenny (from 10 March to 6 May 2016).[5]
  9. ^ De Valera served as Taoiseach for 5,613 days (15 years, 4 months).
  10. ^ De Valera also headed the pre-independence revolutionary Irish Government from 1 April 1919 to 9 January 1922 (See Irish heads of government since 1919). Including these 1,015 extra days would raise his cumulative days served to 8,750 days (23 years, 11 months, 16 days).
  11. ^ a b Cosgrave also headed the Irish Government from 22 August 1922, during the transitional period before the state became officially independent on 6 December 1922 (See Irish heads of government since 1919). Including these 106 extra days would raise his cumulative days served to 3,487 days (9 years, 6 months, 19 days).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Coughlan new Tánaiste in Cowen Cabinet". The Irish Times. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 17 May 2008.
  2. ^ "Taoiseach reveals new front bench". RTÉ News. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 17 May 2008.
  3. ^ "Cowen confirmed as Taoiseach". BreakingNews.ie. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 17 May 2008.
  4. ^ "Former Taoisigh". Department of the Taoiseach. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  5. ^ Oireachtas Library and Research Service (28 June 2016). "Caretaker governments and caretaker conventions" (PDF). Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 21 March 2017. (Page 2) ... Article 28.11.1 ... (Page 4) ... Box 1. Irish Caretaker Governments ... 2016 ... 1994 ... 1992 ... 1989

External links[edit]