Irish presidential election, 1976
The Irish presidential election of 1976 was precipitated by the sudden resignation of President 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...

 in October 1976, following an attack on him by Paddy Donegan
Paddy Donegan
Patrick Sarsfield "Paddy" Donegan was an Irish Fine Gael Party politician.He was educated at a Christian Brothers School in Drogheda and at the Vincentian Castleknock College. Donegan was first elected as a Fine Gael Teachta Dála at the 1954 general election. He lost his seat at the following...

, the Minister for Defence
Minister for Defence (Ireland)
The Minister for Defence is the senior minister at the Department of Defence in the Government of Ireland. Under new arrangements this department is being merged with the Department of Justice over which Mr. Shatter will also preside....

 in which the Minister called the President a "thundering disgrace" and implied he was disloyal to the state. Ó Dálaigh's resignation followed Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann is the lower house, but principal chamber, of the Oireachtas , which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann . It is directly elected at least once in every five years under the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote...

's decision to vote confidence in the minister in the ensuring row.

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...

 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....

 proposed as the party's presidential election candidate Patrick Hillery
Patrick Hillery
Patrick John "Paddy" Hillery was an Irish politician and the sixth President of Ireland from 1976 until 1990. First elected at the 1951 general election as a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Clare, he remained in Dáil Éireann until 1973...

, retiring European Commissioner
European Commissioner
A European Commissioner is a member of the 27-member European Commission. Each Member within the college holds a specific portfolio and are led by the President of the European Commission...

 for Social Affairs and former Minister for External Affairs
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Ireland)
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade is the senior minister at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Government of Ireland. Its headquarters are at Iveagh House, on St Stephen's Green in Dublin; "Iveagh House" is often used as a metonym for the department as a whole.The current...

. Charles Haughey
Charles Haughey
Charles James "Charlie" Haughey was Taoiseach of Ireland, serving three terms in office . He was also the fourth leader of Fianna Fáil...

, a critic of Lynch, proposed Donegal Teachta Dála
Teachta Dála
A Teachta Dála , usually abbreviated as TD in English, is a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas . It is the equivalent of terms such as "Member of Parliament" or "deputy" used in other states. The official translation of the term is "Deputy to the Dáil", though a more literal...

 (TD) Joseph Brennan, a former Minister for Social Welfare
Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Ireland)
The Minister for Social Protection is the senior minister at the Department of Social Protection in the Government of Ireland.The current Minister for Social Protection is Joan Burton, TD.-Overview:...

. However, Hillery easily won the party nomination.

The government parties, 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...

 and the Labour Party
Labour Party (Ireland)
The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in the Republic of Ireland. The Labour Party was founded in 1912 in Clonmel, County Tipperary, by James Connolly, James Larkin and William X. O'Brien as the political wing of the Irish Trade Union Congress. Unlike the other main Irish...

, could have nominated a joint candidate, but following the debacle over the events that led to the resignation of President Ó Dálaigh, it was thought unwise to do so.

With no other candidates nominated, Hillery was elected without the need for a poll and was inaugurated as the sixth President of Ireland
President of Ireland
The President of Ireland is the head of state of Ireland. The President is usually directly elected by the people for seven years, and can be elected for a maximum of two terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the President does exercise certain limited powers with absolute...

 on 3 December 1976.


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