September 1927 Irish general election

← Jun 1927 15 September 1927 1932 →

152 of 153 seats in Dáil Éireann
77 seats needed for a majority
Turnout69.0% Increase 0.9pp
  First party Second party Third party
Leader W. T. Cosgrave Éamon de Valera Thomas Johnson
Party Cumann na nGaedheal Fianna Fáil Labour
Leader since April 1923 26 March 1926 1922
Leader's seat Cork Borough Clare Dublin County
Last election 27.4% 26.2% 12.6%
Seats before 47 43 22
Seats won 61 57 13
Seat change Increase 14 Increase 14 Decrease 9
Popular vote 453,028 411,777 106,184
Percentage 38.6% 35.2% 9.1%
Swing Increase 11.2% Increase 9.0% Decrease 3.5%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Leader Michael Heffernan William Redmond James Larkin
Party Farmers' Party National League Irish Worker League
Leader since 1927 1926 1923
Leader's seat Tipperary Waterford Dublin North
Last election 8.9% 7.3% New
Seats before 11 8 0
Seats won 6 2 1[1]
Seat change Decrease 5 Decrease 6 Increase 1
Popular vote 74,626 18,990 12,473
Percentage 6.4% 1.6% 1.1%
Swing Decrease 2.5% Decrease 5.7% Increase 1.1%

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

President of the Executive Council before election

W. T. Cosgrave
Cumann na nGaedheal

President of the Executive Council after election

W. T. Cosgrave
Cumann na nGaedheal

The September 1927 Irish general election was held on Thursday, 15 September 1927. The newly elected members of the 6th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 11 October when the new President of the Executive Council and Executive Council of the Irish Free State were appointed. The result was a Cumann na nGaedheal minority government.[1]


The second general election of 1927 was caused by the uncertain political arithmetic within Dáil Éireann. Only three votes separated the two largest parties, Cumann na nGaedheal and Fianna Fáil, and the government was very unstable. When, during August, Fianna Fáil decided to enter the Dáil, it gave its support to the Labour Party's motion of no confidence in the Cumann na nGaedheal government and to replace it with a Labour-led coalition with Labour leader Thomas Johnson as President of the Executive Council. The Labour Party was supported by Fianna Fáil and the National League Party. On the other hand, the Cumann na nGaedheal government had the backing of the Farmers' Party and most of the Independent TDs. When the vote was taken, John Jinks, a National League TD, failed to attend. The Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Thomas J. O'Connell, was away in Canada at the time and also was unable to participate in the crucial vote. As a result, the vote was a dead heat and the Ceann Comhairle voted with the government. The motion failed.

W. T. Cosgrave realised that this situation could not continue and a general election was called in the hope of providing a clear result. Cumann na nGaedheal fought the election on its record in government so far. Fianna Fáil was the new party on the political scene with new policies and the promise of self-sufficiency. The Labour Party had done well on its last outing and was hoping, and was predicted, to win extra seats, in spite of internal divisions. The Farmers' Party represented the needs of agricultural labourers. Sinn Féin had been reduced by the founding of Fianna Fáil from 47 to five seats in the first 1927 election, and did not contest a single seat this time, due to lack of financial assets.


Election to the 6th Dáil – 15 September 1927[2][3][4]
Party Leader Seats ± % of
First pref.
% FPv ±%
Cumann na nGaedheal W. T. Cosgrave 62 +15 40.5 453,028 38.7 +11.3
Fianna Fáil Éamon de Valera 57 +13 37.3 411,777 35.2 +9.1
Labour Thomas Johnson 13 –9 8.5 106,184 9.1 –3.4
Farmers' Party Michael Heffernan 6 –5 3.9 74,626 6.4 –2.5
National League William Redmond 2 –6 1.3 18,990 1.6 –5.7
Irish Worker League James Larkin 1[2] New 0.7 12,473 1.1
Town Tenants' Association 0 0 832 0.1 0
Independent N/A 12 –4 7.8 92,959 7.9 –5.5
Spoilt votes 21,886
Total 153 0 100 1,192,755 100
Electorate/Turnout 1,730,177 69.0%

^ Although Jim Larkin won a seat in Dublin North, he was subsequently almost immediately disqualified from the position due to declaring bankruptcy as a result of losing a libel case brought against him by William O'Brien. As a result, a by-election was held for his seat on 3 April 1928. The winner of that by-election was Vincent Rice of Cumann na nGaedheal, who defeated Kathleen Clarke of Fianna Fáil and Larkin who ran again to try to regain his seat.

As stated above, Sinn Féin had won five seats in the first 1927 election, but did not contest a single seat this time. As a result, the number of seats it held decreased from five to zero.

Following the general election, Cumann na nGaedheal was able to form a minority government with the support of the Farmers' Party and other Independent TDs. The Labour Party leader, Thomas Johnson, lost his seat in the election and subsequently retired from politics.

Voting summary

First preference vote
Cumann na nGaedheal
Fianna Fáil
National League Party
Irish Worker League

Seats summary

Assembly seats
Cumann na nGaedheal
Fianna Fáil
National League Party
Irish Worker League

First time TDs

Outgoing TDs

See also


  1. ^ Pollock, James K. (1928). "The Irish Free State Elections of September, 1927". American Political Science Review. 22 (1): 154–156. doi:10.2307/1945072. ISSN 0003-0554.
  2. ^ "6th Dáil September 1927 General Election". Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
  3. ^ "Dáil elections since 1918". ARK Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
  4. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, pp1009-1017 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7