1944 Irish general election

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138 seats in Dáil Éireann[a]
70 seats needed for a majority
Turnout69.2% Decrease 5.0pp
  First party Second party Third party
Éamon de Valera.jpg
Gen. Richard Mulcahy cropped.jpg
Leader Éamon de Valera Richard Mulcahy Joseph Blowick
Party Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Clann na Talmhan
Leader since 26 March 1926 1944 1944
Leader's seat Clare Tipperary Mayo South
Last election 67 seats, 41.9% 32 seats, 23.1% 10 seats, 9.0%
Seats before 67 32 13
Seats won 76[a] 30 9
Seat change Increase9 Decrease2 Decrease4
Popular vote 595,259 249,329 122,745
Percentage 48.9% 20.5% 10.8%
Swing Increase7.0% Decrease2.6% Increase1.8%

  Fourth party Fifth party
William Norton circa 1927 to 1932.png
James Everett, 1949.jpg
Leader William Norton James Everett
Party Labour National Labour Party
Leader since 1932 1944
Leader's seat Carlow–Kildare Wicklow
Last election 17 seats, 15.7% Did not stand
Seats before 12 5
Seats won 8 4
Seat change Decrease4 Decrease1
Popular vote 106,767 32,732
Percentage 8.7% 2.7%
Swing Decrease7.0% New party

Irish general election 1944.png
Percentage of seats gained by each of the five biggest parties, and number of seats gained by smaller parties and independents.

Taoiseach before election

Éamon de Valera
Fianna Fáil

Taoiseach after election

Éamon de Valera
Fianna Fáil

The 1944 Irish general election was held on Tuesday, 30 May, having been called on 9 May by President Douglas Hyde on the advice of Taoiseach Éamon de Valera. The general election took place in 34 parliamentary constituencies for 138 seats in Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas (parliament). Fianna Fáil won an overall majority, and when the newly elected members of the 12th Dáil assembled on 9 June, de Valera was re-appointed as Taoiseach at the head of a majority government.


The outgoing Fianna Fáil government was a minority government. Following a defeat for the second reading of its Transport Bill, Taoiseach Éamon de Valera called a snap election, just one year after the previous election, in hopes of getting an overall majority. The campaign was not wanted by the opposition parties. Fianna Fáil fought the election on its record in government and also in the hope of securing a fresh mandate for its policies. During the campaign Fine Gael put forward the proposal of forming a coalition government with the Labour Party and Clann na Talmhan; however, this was ridiculed by Fianna Fáil as untenable. A split in the Labour movement meant that the party was by no means ready to fight an election.

Due to the fractured nature of the opposition, Éamon de Valera's tactic of calling a snap general election succeeded, as it had in 1933 and 1938.


The election was fought while the Emergency Powers Act 1939 was still in force and under the terms of the General Elections (Emergency Provisions) Act 1943, which allowed a general election to be called without a dissolution of the 11th Dáil.

The Constitution requires the President to dissolve the Dáil before a general election; however, this procedure was overridden by the General Elections (Emergency Provisions) Act 1943.[3][4][5] The Act, which would have been unconstitutional if not for the state of emergency in effect during World War II, was intended to increase national security by minimising the interval during which no Dáil is in existence.[4] The election was called on 9 May but the Dáil met as scheduled on the following day, when an adjournment debate was held in which the opposition TDs condemned the decision to hold an election in wartime as unnecessary and reckless.[5] The 11th Dáil was dissolved on 7 June 1944.[6]


Election to the 12th Dáil – 30 May 1944[7][8][9][10]
Irish general election 1944.svg
Party Leader Seats ± % of
First pref.
% FPv ±%
Fianna Fáil Éamon de Valera 76[a] +9 55.1 595,259 48.9 +7.0
Fine Gael Richard Mulcahy 30 –2 21.8 249,329 20.5 –2.6
Clann na Talmhan Joseph Blowick 9 –1 6.5 122,745 10.1 +0.3
Labour William Norton 8 –9 5.8 106,767 8.8 –6.9
National Labour Party James Everett 4 New 2.9 32,732 2.7
Monetary Reform Party Oliver J. Flanagan 1 0 0.7 9,856 0.8 +0.5
Ailtirí na hAiséirghe 0 0 0 5,809 0.5 +0.3
Independent N/A 10 0 7.2 94,852 7.8 –0.9
Spoilt votes 12,790
Total 138[a] 0 100 1,230,139 100
Electorate/Turnout 1,816,142 69.2%

Voting summary

First preference vote
Fianna Fáil
Fine Gael
Clann na Talmhan
National Labour
Monetary Reform
Ailtirí na hAiséirghe

Seats summary

Dáil seats
Fianna Fáil
Fine Gael
Clann na Talmhan
National Labour
Monetary Reform

Government formation

Fianna Fáil formed the 4th Government of Ireland, a majority government.

First-time TDs

Re-elected TDs

Outgoing TDs

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Including Frank Fahy (FF), returned automatically for Galway East as outgoing Ceann Comhairle, under Art. 16.6 of the Constitution and the Electoral (Chairman of Dáil Éireann) Act 1937.[1][2]


  1. ^ Electoral (Chairman of Dail Eireann) Act 1937, s. 3: Re-election of outgoing Ceann Comhairle (No. 25 of 1937, s. 3). 1 November 1937. Act of the Oireachtas. Irish Statute Book.
  2. ^ "12th Dáil 1944: Galway East". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Constitution of Ireland". Irish Statute Book. Article 16.3. Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2018.; General Elections (Emergency Provisions) Act 1943 (No. 11 of 1943). Act of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 27 March 2018, Irish Statute Book.
  4. ^ a b "General Elections (Emergency Provisions) Bill, 1943—Second Stage". Dáil Éireann debates. Oireachtas. 14 April 1943. Archived from the original on 15 June 2020. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  5. ^ a b de Valera, Éamon (10 May 1944). "Adjournment of the Dáil". Vol.93 No.15 p.3 c.2497–2498. Archived from the original on 23 September 2021. Retrieved 15 June 2020. I did not ask for a dissolution of the Dáil. This Dáil would not have been meeting to-day if there had been a dissolution. ... I did not ask for a dissolution, because we passed an Act last year to enable the Dáil, during this critical period, to be brought together at any time that there was need for doing so, so that the Executive at any time would have to assemble the Dáil in case there was any national issue that demanded its assembly. ... when the Dáil adjourns now it will not meet again unless there is some national issue which makes it necessary to call the Dáil together.
  6. ^ "Dáil dissolved". The Irish Times. 8 June 1944. p. 3.
  7. ^ "12th Dáil 1944 General Election". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
  8. ^ "Dáil elections since 1918". ARK Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
  9. ^ Maurice Manning (1972) notes that the Clann na Talmhan figure is often listed in error, due to the inclusion of Independent Farmer TDs in the CnaT total.
  10. ^ Nohlen, Dieter; Stöver, Philip (2010). Elections in Europe: A data handbook. pp. 1009–1017. ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7.