1969 Irish general election

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144 seats in Dáil Éireann[a]
73 seats needed for a majority
Turnout76.9% Increase 1.8pp
  First party Second party Third party
Jack Lynch 1979 (cropped).jpg
Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave-Patricks Day 1976.jpg
Brendan Corish 1949.png
Leader Jack Lynch Liam Cosgrave Brendan Corish
Party Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Labour
Leader since 9 November 1966 21 April 1965 2 March 1960
Leader's seat Cork City North-West Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown Wexford
Last election 72 seats, 47.7% 47 seats, 34.1% 22 seats, 15.4%
Seats before 75 46 19
Seats won 75[a] 50 18
Seat change Steady0 Increase4 Decrease1
Percentage 45.7% 34.1% 17.0%
Swing Decrease2.0% Steady0% Increase1.6%

Irish general election 1969.png
Percentage of seats gained by each of the three major parties, and number of seats gained by smaller parties and independents.

Taoiseach before election

Jack Lynch
Fianna Fáil

Taoiseach after election

Jack Lynch
Fianna Fáil

The 1969 Irish general election was held on Wednesday, 18 June 1969. The 19th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 2 July when the new Taoiseach and government were appointed. The general election took place in 42 parliamentary constituencies throughout Ireland for 144 seats in the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann.


Labour election poster
Labour election poster

The general election of 1969 saw two new leaders of the two main parties fight their first general election. Jack Lynch of Fianna Fáil had become Taoiseach in 1966 and was attempting to win his first election. Liam Cosgrave had taken charge of Fine Gael in 1965 and was now leading his party into his first election. Brendan Corish was fighting his third general election as leader of the Labour Party.[4]

Fianna Fáil had been in power since 1957, and in spite of media predictions the party was still very popular with the voters. Its leader Jack Lynch proved to be the party's biggest electoral asset. His quiet, easy-going and reassuring style, coupled with the catchy slogan "Let's back Jack!", attracted many new voters to Fianna Fáil. The party had introduced many innovative pieces of legislation during the 1960s and was now looking for a fresh mandate. Fianna Fáil were also helped by a deeply divided opposition.

Fine Gael had internal divisions. There was tension between the older conservative members, who wanted to keep the party as it was, and the younger deputies who wanted to move the party to the left. One of the party's policies proposed to abolish compulsory Irish for State examinations and civil service jobs.

The Labour Party on the other hand were predicted to make gains after firmly ruling out a pre-election pact with Fine Gael. The party fielded a number of new, high-profile candidates, including Justin Keating, Conor Cruise O'Brien, David Thornley and Noël Browne.[4] The slogan "The Seventies will be Socialist" was popular with Labour supporters; however, Fianna Fáil played the "red card", linking the Labour Party with communism. The tactic worked successfully.


Election to the 19th Dáil – 18 June 1969[5][6][7][8]
Irish general election 1969.svg
Party Leader Seats ± % of
First pref.
% FPv ±%
Fianna Fáil Jack Lynch 75[a] +3 52.1 602,234 45.7 –2.0
Fine Gael Liam Cosgrave 50 +3 34.7 449,749 34.1 0
Labour Brendan Corish 18 –4 12.5 224,498 17.0 +1.6
Irish Workers' Party Michael O'Riordan 0 0 0 242 0.0 0
Independent N/A 1 –1 0.7 42,230 3.2 +1.1
Spoilt votes 16,010
Total 144[a] 0 100 1,334,963 100
Electorate/Turnout 1,735,388 76.9%

The result marked a third successive victory for Fianna Fáil, led by Jack Lynch. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael each lost votes, yet gained seats. Labour gained votes, yet lost seats. It was the last re-election of an Irish government for thirty-three years—until the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats government was re-elected with an increased majority in the 2002 general election.

Voting summary

First preference vote
Fianna Fáil
Fine Gael

Seats summary

Dáil seats
Fianna Fáil
Fine Gael

Government formation

Fianna Fáil formed the 13th Government of Ireland, a majority government, led by Jack Lynch as Taoiseach.

Changes in membership

First time TDs

A total of 37 TDs were elected for the first time:

Re-elected TDs

Outgoing TDs

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Including Cormac Breslin (FF), returned automatically for Donegal–Leitrim as outgoing Ceann Comhairle, under Art. 16.6 of the Constitution and the Electoral Act 1963, as adapted by the Electoral (Amendment) Act 1969.[1][2][3]


  1. ^ Electoral Act 1963, s. 14: Re-election of outgoing Ceann Comhairle (No. 19 of 1963, s. 14). 12 July 1963. Act of the Oireachtas. Irish Statute Book.
  2. ^ Electoral (Amendment) Act 1969, s. 5: Re-election of outgoing Ceann Comhairle (No. 3 of 1969, s. 5). 26 March 1969. Act of the Oireachtas. Irish Statute Book.
  3. ^ "19th Dáil 1969: Donegal–Leitrim". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  4. ^ a b Kagachi, Chihiro (2002). History of Irish Politics. pp. 133–134.
  5. ^ "Election results and transfer of votes in general election (June, 1969) for nineteenth Dáil and bye-elections to eighteenth Dáil (1965–1969)" (PDF). Dublin Stationery Office. January 1970. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  6. ^ "19th Dáil 1969 General Election". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
  7. ^ "Dáil elections since 1918". ARK Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
  8. ^ Nohlen, Dieter; Stöver, Philip (2010). Elections in Europe: A data handbook. pp. 1009–1017. ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7.

Further reading