Irish presidential election, 1974
The Irish presidential election of 1974 resulted from the sudden death in office of President Erskine H. Childers
Erskine Hamilton Childers
Erskine Hamilton Childers served as the fourth President of Ireland from 1973 until his death in 1974. He was a Teachta Dála from 1938 until 1973...

. Initially all parties secretly agreed to nominate the late president's widow, Rita Childers
Rita Childers
Margaret "Rita" Childers was the second wife of Erskine Hamilton Childers, the fourth President of Ireland . She formerly worked as a press attaché in the British Embassy in Dublin...

. Before it was announced, or indeed before she was even informed of the plan, a mix-up led to the collapse of the arrangement.

A partially deaf Fine Gael
Fine Gael
Fine Gael is a centre-right to centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland. It is the single largest party in Ireland in the Oireachtas, in local government, and in terms of Members of the European Parliament. The party has a membership of over 35,000...

 minister, Tom O'Donnell
Tom O'Donnell
Thomas G. O'Donnell is a former Irish Fine Gael politician. He was born at Bulgaden, County Limerick and was educated at the Crescent College, Salesian College and University College Dublin where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree...

, misheard a journalist's question asking about the decision of a local council to propose that Mrs. Childers be elected president. Thinking that the journalist already knew of Mrs. Childers' proposed nomination, O'Donnell confirmed that Rita Childers would indeed be the fifth president of Ireland. However the opposition Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party , more commonly known as Fianna Fáil is a centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland, founded on 23 March 1926. Fianna Fáil's name is traditionally translated into English as Soldiers of Destiny, although a more accurate rendition would be Warriors of Fál...

 withdrew from the agreement, thinking that it was being set up by the Government. It feared that the Government was seeking to gain political credit for her selection.

Instead Fianna Fáil proposed Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh
Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh
Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh served as the fifth President of Ireland, from 1974 to 1976. He resigned in 1976 after a clash with the government. He also had a notable legal career, including serving as Chief Justice of Ireland.- Early life :Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh, one of four children, was born on 12 February...

, a former Chief Justice and an Attorney-General under Éamon de Valera
Éamon de Valera
Éamon de Valera was one of the dominant political figures in twentieth century Ireland, serving as head of government of the Irish Free State and head of government and head of state of Ireland...

. All parties agreed to the nomination. With no other candidates nominated, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh was declared elected to be the fifth president of Ireland without a poll.

Fianna Fáil leader Jack Lynch
Jack Lynch
John Mary "Jack" Lynch was the Taoiseach of Ireland, serving two terms in office; from 1966 to 1973 and 1977 to 1979....

 only discovered that the Fine Gael minister's confirmation of the planned nomination of Mrs. Childers had been an accident, and not a political set up, while chatting to ministers at President Ó Dálaigh's inauguration.


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