The 1966 Irish presidential election was the fifth election in Ireland and was held on 1 June 1966. Incumbent president Éamon de Valera, 83 and with a rapidly deteriorating eyesight, standing for Fianna Fáil was narrowly re-elected, with Fine Gael candidate Tom O'Higgins coming within 1% (or 10,718 votes) of defeating de Valera.
Under Article 12 of the Constitution of Ireland, a candidate for president may be nominated by:
On 27 April, the Minister for Local Government made the order for the presidential election, with noon on 10 May as the date for nominations, and 1 June as the date of polling. Eoin "the Pope" O'Mahony, who had sought and failed to be nominated in 1959, tried again, unsuccessfully. He had the support of North Tipperary County Council.
As president, Éamon de Valera had the right to nominate himself for a second term, but he chose to be nominated by Fianna Fáil, the party he had led from 1926 until his election in 1959. Then Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach Seán Lemass had urged de Valera not to retire, as he had been considering. De Valera's campaign manager was Charles Haughey, later to become Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach.
Fine Gael nominated Tom O'Higgins, who had served as a TD since 1948, and was 49 at the time of the election. Gerard Sweetman served as his election director.
De Valera did not campaign, and to maintain balance, RTÉ chose not to cover the campaign of O'Higgins either.
|1966 Irish presidential election|
|Candidate||Nominated by||% 1st Pref||Count 1|
|Éamon de Valera||Oireachtas: Fianna Fáil||50.5||558,861|
|Tom O'Higgins||Oireachtas: Fine Gael||49.5||548,144|
|Electorate: 1,709,161 Valid: 1,107,005 Spoilt: 9,910 (0.9%) Quota: 553,503 Turnout: 65.3%|
|Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown||13,869||37.7||22,945||62.3|