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Irish general election, 1951

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Irish general election, 1951

Irish general election, 1951

30 May 1951

146 of 147 seats in Dáil Éireann
74 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Éamon de Valera Richard Mulcahy William Norton
Party Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Labour Party
Leader since 26 March 1926 1944 1932
Leader's seat Clare Tipperary Kildare
Last election 68 seats, 41.9% 31 seats, 19.8% 19 seats, 11.3%[1]
Seats before 66 32 19
Seats won 69 40 16
Seat change 3 8 3
Percentage 46.3% 25.8% 11.4%
Swing 4.4% 6.0% 0.1%

  Fourth party Fifth party
Leader Joseph Blowick Seán MacBride
Party Clann na Talmhan Clann na Poblachta
Leader since 1944 1946
Leader's seat Mayo South Dublin South–West
Last election 7 seats, 5.5% 10 seats, 13.3%
Seats before 7 10
Seats won 6 2
Seat change 1 8
Percentage 2.9% 4.1%
Swing 2.6% 9.2%

Percentage of seats gained by each of the five biggest parties, and number of seats gained by smaller parties and independents.

Taoiseach before election

John A. Costello
Fine Gael

Subsequent Taoiseach

Éamon de Valera
Fianna Fáil

The Irish general election of 1951 was held on 30 May 1951. The newly elected members of the 14th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 13 June when the new Taoiseach and government were appointed.

The general election took place in 40 parliamentary constituencies throughout Ireland for 147 seats in the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann.


  • Campaign 1
  • Result 2
  • First time TDs 3
  • Re-elected TDs 4
  • Outgoing TDs 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7


The general election of 1951 was caused by a number of crises within the First Inter-Party Government, most notably the Mother and Child Scheme. While the whole affair, which saw the resignation of the Minister for Health, Noël Browne, was not entirely to blame for the collapse of the government it added to the pressure between the various political parties. There were other problems facing the country such as rising prices, balance of payments problems and two farmer TDs withdrew their support for the government because of rising milk prices.

Although the first inter-party government was now coming to an end it had a number of achievements. It proved that the country could be led by a group other than Fianna Fáil. It also provided a fresh perspective after sixteen years of unbroken rule by that party.

The coalition parties fought the general election on their record on government over the previous three years, while Fianna Fáil argued strongly against coalition governments.


14th Irish general election – 30 May 1951[2][3][4]
Party Leader Seats ± % of
First Pref
% FPv ±%
Fianna Fáil Éamon de Valera 69 +1 46.9 616,212 46.3 +4.4
Fine Gael Richard Mulcahy 40 +9 27.2 349,922 25.8 +6.0
Labour Party William Norton 16 –3[1] 10.9 151,828 11.4 +2.7
Clann na Talmhan Joseph Blowick 6 –1 4.1 38,872 2.9 –2.7
Clann na Poblachta Seán MacBride 2 –8 1.4 54,210 4.1 –9.1
Irish Workers' League Michael O'Riordan 0 New 0 295 0.0
Independent N/A 14 +3 9.5 127,234 9.6 +2.4
Spoilt votes 12,043
Total 147 0 100 1,343,616 100
Electorate/Turnout 1,785,144 75.3%
  • Fianna Fáil minority government formed.

The election result was inconclusive. Fianna Fáil's support increased by 61,000 votes, however, the party only gained one extra seat. The coalition parties had mixed fortunes. Fine Gael were the big winners increasing to forty seats. The Labour Party patched up its differences with the National Labour Party and fought the election together but in spite of this the party lost seats. Clann na Poblachta were the big losers of the election. Three years earlier the party was a big political threat, but now the party was shattered.

Fianna Fáil had not won enough seats to govern alone. However, the party was able to form a government with the support of Noël Browne, the sacked Minister for Health, and other Independent deputies.

First time TDs

Re-elected TDs

Outgoing TDs

See also


  1. ^ a b The Labour Party and the National Labour Party had reunited since the last election. The figures for the Labour party are compared to the two parties combined totals in the previous election.
  2. ^ "14th Dáil 1951 General Election". Retrieved 23 May 2009. 
  3. ^ "Dáil elections since 1918". ARK Northern Ireland. Retrieved 23 May 2009. 
  4. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, pp1009-1017 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
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