1945 Irish presidential election

← 1938 14 June 1945 1952 →
Nominee Seán T. O'Kelly Seán Mac Eoin Patrick McCartan
Party Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Independent
1st preference 537,965
Final count 565,165

First count winner by local authority

President before election

Douglas Hyde

Elected President

Seán T. O'Kelly
Fianna Fáil

The 1945 Irish presidential election was held on 14 June 1945. It was Ireland's first contested presidential election. Outgoing president Douglas Hyde, who had served since 1938, decided not to seek a second term. Fianna Fáil nominated its deputy leader, Tánaiste Seán T. O'Kelly, as its candidate. Fine Gael nominated Seán Mac Eoin. Independent republican Patrick McCartan sought and failed to receive the necessary four nominations from local councils, but secured a nomination from Oireachtas members.

O'Kelly won on the second count but the degree of voting transfers between the two opposition candidates, and O'Kelly's failure to win on the first count, showed the depth of growing opposition to Éamon de Valera's government and the potential that existed for cooperation among various opposition groups. De Valera's government was defeated in the subsequent 1948 general election and replaced by a First Inter-Party Government.

The election took place on the same date as the 1945 local elections. Electoral law was amended to allow administrative counties and county boroughs to be used as constituencies instead of using Dáil constituencies, as previously required. This was to facilitate sorting and counting of ballots with ballots for the local elections.[1][2]

Nomination process

Under Article 12 of the Constitution of Ireland, candidates could be nominated by:

All Irish citizens on the Dáil electoral register were eligible to vote.

The first candidate nominated was Seán Mac Eoin, a Fine Gael TD who was nominated on 5 May by 17 members of his own party, as well as three independent TDs, Alfie Byrne, Tom O'Reilly and Richard Anthony.[3] Seán T. O'Kelly was nominated by Fianna Fáil Oireachtas members on 15 May. On the date before nominations closed on 16 May, the administrative council of the Labour Party voted to allow its Oireachtas members to sign the nomination form of Patrick McCartan, and Clann na Talmhan voted that its Oireachtas members would sign his nomination form, together guaranteeing his position on the ballot.[4]


1945 Irish presidential election
Candidate Nominated by % 1st Pref Count 1 Count 2
Seán T. O'Kelly Oireachtas: Fianna Fáil 49.5 537,965 565,165
Seán Mac Eoin Oireachtas: Fine Gael and Independents 30.9 335,539 453,425
Patrick McCartan Oireachtas: Labour Party and Clann na Talmhan 19.6 212,834  
Electorate: 1,803,463   Valid: 1,086,338   Spoilt: 50,287 (4.4%)   Quota: 543,170   Turnout: 63.0%
First preference vote
Mac Eoin
Final percentage
Mac Eoin

Results by local authority

Results were announced by county councils and county borough corporations rather than by constituency.[5]


  1. ^ "Presidential and Local Elections Act 1945, Section 6". Irish Statute Book. 1 May 1945. Archived from the original on 11 May 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Presidential and Local Elections Bill, 1945—Second and Subsequent Stages". Seanad Éireann debates. Oireachtas. 25 April 1945. Archived from the original on 15 September 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  3. ^ "First nomination for the presidency". The Irish Times. 7 May 1945.
  4. ^ "Dr McCartan secures nomination". The Irish Times. 16 May 1945.
  5. ^ "Presidential Elections 1938–2011" (PDF). Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 December 2017. Retrieved 18 June 2018.