Friday 19 October 2018

The many resignations of O Dalaigh

Ronan Fanning

LAST week saw the thirtieth anniversary of Cearbhall O Dalaigh's resignation as President of Ireland on 22 October 1976 after the outrageous after-dinner remarks by the Minister for Defence, Paddy Donegan, when he described the President as a "thundering disgrace". The Minister made the remarks in an army barracks in Mullingar after the President had delayed signing stringent

LAST week saw the thirtieth anniversary of Cearbhall O Dalaigh's resignation as President of Ireland on 22 October 1976 after the outrageous after-dinner remarks by the Minister for Defence, Paddy Donegan, when he described the President as a "thundering disgrace". The Minister made the remarks in an army barracks in Mullingar after the President had delayed signing stringent new anti-terrorlegislation.

No other president has resigned because of a disagreement with the government of the day and the episode has long been recognised as the closest Ireland has come to a constitutional crisis centred on the office of the president. That impression is confirmed by Cearbhall O Dalaigh's private papers now available in the UCD archives.

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