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Dáil Éireann By Elections 1923-2013

Of the 127 TDs elected in by-elections, 22 of them (17%) were never subsequently re-elected. This trend was reversed in the 2002 general election with all six by-election winners retaining their seats. George Lee won a by-election in Dublin South during the lifetime of the 30th Dáil but resigned a few months later and the by-election was not held. By-elections were also not held in Donegal North-East (James McDaid) and Waterford (Martin Cullen). 14 members of the 31st Dáil were elected in by-elections from Enda Kenny in 1975 to Patrick Nulty in 2011.

Most by-elections were caused by the death of a sitting member but some have been due to the resignation or disqualification of a member. The by-elections in 1925 were due to the resignation of 9 Cumann Na nGaedheal TDs over the government’s handling of the army mutiny. Sixty one (48%) of the by-elections have seen the failure of the outgoing party to retain its seat. This trend was repeated during the last Dáil when Fianna Fail failed to retain Seamus Brennan’s seat in Dublin South or Pat the Cope Gallagher’s in Donegal South-West. They also lost their only seat in Dublin in the recent by-election in Dublin West.

Patrick McGilligan achieved the largest first preference vote in a by-election when taking 76.49% of the vote in 1923. Three other winning candidates have taken over 70% of the first preference vote with the most recent being Patrick Shanahan in 1945. Catherine Murphy’s share of the first preference vote of 23.64% in Kildare North in 2005 was the third lowest ever by a winning candidate in a by-election. The lowest winning vote at a single seat by-election, was by Patrick Kinane who won 21.44%, in Tipperary in 1947 (Samuel Holt got just 20.25% in Leitrim-Sligo in 1925 but there were two seats on offer at that by-election).

Samuel Holt won a by-election in Leitrim-Sligo in 1925 but his death gave rise to a by-election in 1926 (won by General Sean MacEoin). Similarly William Norton of Labour won a byelection in Dublin County in 1926 and his death subsequently gave rise to a by-election in 1964 in Kildare. T F O’Higgins (senior) was also elected at a by-election in 1929 and his death gave rise to a by-election in 1954. Clement Coughlan won a by-election in 1980 but his death gave rise to another one in 1983 which was won by his brother Cathal who died in 1986 but a byelection was not held prior to the 1987 general election. Hugh Coveney won a by-election in 1994 but his death gave rise to another one in 1998. Brian Lenihan jnr. was first elected at a byelection in 1996 and his death caused a by-election in Dublin West in 2011. Shane McEntee who died in 2012 is the seventh example of a winner of a by-election subsequently causing a byelection. Thomas Hennessy is the only candidate to win two by-elections - Dublin South in 1925 and 1927.

The turnout for the 1999 by-election in Dublin South-Central was the lowest ever with the valid poll of 27.88% eclipsing the previous lowest of 28.29% in 1945 in Dublin North-West. But low turnouts at by-elections are not unusual as Wm. Norton was elected in Dublin County in 1926 with a valid poll of just 34.25% of which he got a higher percentage, 35.69%. The average turnout for by-elections is about 10 points below the general election figure with the average valid poll at 60.39% compared to 70.71% for General Elections.

From Seán Donnelly's book Elections 2011 p403


There were no By Elections during the 7th, 9th, 11th, 22nd, 25th and 26th Dálai. The longest period without a By Election was nearly 10 years between 1984 and 1994. The most By Elections on one day was nine in March 1925. There has been one By Election so far during the 31st Dáil, with another one pending.

Click here for details of the writs moved for By Elections, and seats that were vacant at dissolution.

Constituency names shown below in bold have full count and transfer details available, or required only a single count.

Gains are indicated by yellow shading.


No Constituency Date Outgoing Party Winner Party

4th Dáil Elected 27 August 1923 - 21 By Elections

1 Dublin South 25 October 1923 Michael Hayes Cumann na nGaedheal Hugh Kennedy Cumann na nGaedheal
2 NUI 3 November 1923 Prof Eoin MacNeill Cumann na nGaedheal Patrick McGilligan Cumann na nGaedheal
3 Dublin South 12 March 1924 Philip Cosgrave* Cumann na nGaedheal James O'Meara Cumann na nGaedheal
4 Dublin County 19 March 1924 James Derham* Cumann na nGaedheal Batt O'Connor Cumann na nGaedheal
5 Limerick 28 May 1924 Richard Hayes Cumann na nGaedheal Richard O'Connell Cumann na nGaedheal
6 Cork East 18 November 1924 Thomas O'Mahony* Cumann na nGaedheal Michael Noonan Cumann na nGaedheal
7 Dublin South 18 November 1924 Hugh Kennedy Cumann na nGaedheal Sean Lemass Republican
8 Mayo North 18 November 1924 Henry Coyle Cumann na nGaedheal John Madden Republican
9 Cork Borough 19 November 1924 Alfred O'Rahilly Cumann na nGaedheal Michael Egan Cumann na nGaedheal
10 Donegal 20 November 1924 Peter Ward1 Cumann na nGaedheal Denis McCullough Cumann na nGaedheal
11 Carlow Kilkenny 11 March 1925 Sean Gibbons Cumann na nGaedheal Thomas Bolger Cumann na nGaedheal
12 Cavan 11 March 1925 Sean Milroy Cumann na nGaedheal John O'Reilly Cumann na nGaedheal
13 Dublin North 11 March 1925 Frank Cahill Cumann na nGaedheal Patrick Leonard Cumann na nGaedheal
14 Sean McGarry Cumann na nGaedheal Oscar Traynor Republican
15 Dublin South 11 March 1925 Daniel McCarthy Cumann na nGaedheal Thomas Hennessy Cumann na nGaedheal
16 Leitrim Sligo 11 March 1925 Thomas Carter Cumann na nGaedheal Samuel Holt Republican
17 Alex McCabe Cumann na nGaedheal Martin Roddy Cumann na nGaedheal
18 Mayo North 11 March 1925 Joseph McGrath Cumann na nGaedheal Michael Tierney Cumann na nGaedheal
19 Roscommon 11 February 1926 Henry Finlay Cumann na nGaedheal Martin Conlon Cumann na nGaedheal
20 Dublin County 18 February 1926 Darrell Figgis* Independent William Norton Labour
21 Leix Offaly 18 February 1926 John McGuinness Republican James Dwyer Cumann na nGaedheal

5th Dáil Elected 9 June 1927 - 2 By Elections

22 Dublin South 24 August 1927 Constance de Markievicz* Fianna Fáil Thomas Hennessy Cumann na nGaedheal
23 Dublin County 24 August 1927 Kevin O'Higgins* Cumann na nGaedheal Gearoid O'Sullivan Cumann na nGaedheal

6th Dáil Elected 15 September 1927 - 7 By Elections

24 Carlow Kilkenny 3 November 1927 W T Cosgrave Cumann na nGaedheal Denis Gorey Cumann na nGaedheal
25 Dublin North 3 April 1928 James Larkin Irish Workers' League Vincent Rice Cumann na nGaedheal
26 Dublin North 14 March 1929 Alfie Byrne Independent Thomas F O'Higgins Cumann na nGaedheal
27 Leitrim Sligo 7 June 1929 Samuel Holt* Fianna Fáil General Sean MacEoin Cumann na nGaedheal
28 Longford Westmeath 13 June 1930 James Killane* Fianna Fáil James Geoghegan Fianna Fáil
29 Dublin County 9 December 1930 Bryan Cooper* Cumann na nGaedheal Thomas Finlay Cumann na nGaedheal
30 Kildare 29 June 1931 Hugh Colohan* Labour Thomas Harris Fianna Fáil

8th Dáil Elected 24 January 1933 - 5 By Elections

31 Dublin University 13 October 1933 Sir James Craig* Independent Dr Robert Rowlette Independent
32 Dublin County 17 June 1935 Batt O'Connor* Fine Gael Cecil Lavery Fine Gael
33 Galway 19 June 1935 Martin McDonogh* Fine Gael Eamon Corbett Fianna Fáil
34 Galway 13 August 1936 Patrick Hogan* Fine Gael Martin Neilan Fianna Fáil
35 Wexford 17 August 1936 Osmond Esmonde* Fine Gael Denis Allen Fianna Fáil

10th Dáil Elected 17 June 1938 - 2 By Elections

36 Dublin South 6 June 1939 James Beckett* Fine Gael John McCann Fianna Fáil
37 Galway West 30 May 1940 Sean Tubridy* Fianna Fáil John J Keane Fianna Fáil

12th Dáil Elected 30 May 1944 - 10 By Elections

38 Kerry South 10 November 1944 Fionán Lynch Fine Gael Donal O'Donoghue Fianna Fáil
39 Clare 4 December 1945 Patrick Burke* Fine Gael Patrick Shanahan Fianna Fáil
40 Dublin North West 4 December 1945 Sean T O'Kelly Fianna Fáil Vivion de Valera Fianna Fáil
41 Kerry South 4 December 1945 Frederick Crowley* Fianna Fáil Honor Mary Crowley Fianna Fáil
42 Mayo South 4 December 1945 Michael Clery Fianna Fáil Bernard Commons Clann na Talmhan
43 Wexford 4 December 1945 Richard Corish* Labour Brendan Corish Labour
44 Cork Borough 14 June 1946 William Dwyer Independent Pat McGrath Fianna Fáil
45 Dublin County 29 October 1947 Patrick Fogarty* Fianna Fáil Sean MacBride Clann na Poblachta
46 Tipperary 29 October 1947 William O'Donnell* Clann na Talmhan Patrick Kinane Clann na Poblachta
47 Waterford 29 October 1947 Michael Morrissey* Fianna Fáil John Ormonde Fianna Fáil

13th Dáil Elected 4 February 1948 - 3 By Elections

48 Donegal East 7 December 1948 Neil Blaney* Fianna Fáil Neil T Blaney Fianna Fáil
49 Cork West 15 June 1949 Timothy Murphy* Labour William Murphy Labour
50 Donegal West 16 November 1949 Brian Brady* Fianna Fáil Patrick O'Donnell Fine Gael

14th Dáil Elected 30 May 1951 - 9 By Elections

51 Limerick East 26 June 1952 Daniel Bourke* Fianna Fáil John Carew Fine Gael
52 Mayo North 26 June 1952 Patrick Ruttledge* Fianna Fáil Phelim Calleary Fianna Fáil
53 Waterford 26 June 1952 Bridget Redmond* Fine Gael William Kenneally Fianna Fáil
54 Dublin North West 12 November 1952 Alfred Byrne* Independent Thomas Byrne Independent
55 Cork East 18 June 1953 Sean Keane* Labour Richard Barry Fine Gael
56 Wicklow 18 June 1953 Thomas Brennan* Fianna Fáil Mark Deering Fine Gael
57 Galway South 21 August 1953 Frank Fahy* Fianna Fáil Robert Lahiffe Fianna Fáil
58 Cork Borough 3 March 1954 T F O'Higgins Snr* Fine Gael Stephen Barrett Fine Gael
59 Louth 3 March 1954 James Coburn* Fine Gael George Coburn Fine Gael

15th Dáil Elected 18 May 1954 - 7 By Elections

60 Limerick West 13 December 1955 David Madden* Fine Gael Michael Colbert Fianna Fáil
61 Kerry North 29 February 1956 John Connor* Clann na Poblachta Kathleen O'Connor Clann na Poblachta
62 Dublin North East 30 April 1956 Alfred Byrne* Independent Patrick Byrne Independent
63 Leix Offaly 30 April 1956 William Davin* Labour Kieran Egan Fianna Fáil
64 Cork Borough 2 August 1956 Patrick McGrath* Fianna Fáil John Galvin Fianna Fáil
65 Carlow Kilkenny 14 November 1956 Thomas Walsh* Fianna Fáil Martin Medlar Fianna Fáil
66 Dublin South West 14 November 1956 Peadar Doyle* Fine Gael Noel Lemass Fianna Fáil

16th Dáil Elected 5 March 1957 - 8 By Elections

67 Dublin North Central 14 November 1957 Colm Gallagher* Fianna Fáil Frank Sherwin Independent
68 Galway South 30 May 1958 Patrick Beegan* Fianna Fáil Anthony Millar Fianna Fáil
69 Dublin South Central 25 June 1958 John Murphy Independent Patrick Cummins Fianna Fáil
70 Clare 22 July 1959 Eamon de Valera Fianna Fáil Sean O Ceallaigh Fianna Fáil
71 Dublin South West 22 July 1959 Bernard Butler* Fianna Fáil Richie Ryan Fine Gael
72 Meath 22 July 1959 James Griffin* Fianna Fáil Henry Johnston Fianna Fáil
73 Carlow Kilkenny 23 June 1960 Joseph Hughes* Fine Gael Patrick Teehan Fianna Fáil
74 Sligo Leitrim 1 March 1961 Stephen Flynn* Fianna Fáil Joseph McLoughlin Fine Gael

17th Dáil Elected 4 October 1961 - 6 By Elections

75 Dublin North East 30 May 1963 Jack Belton* Fine Gael Patrick Belton Fine Gael
76 Cork Borough 19 February 1964 John Galvin* Fianna Fáil Sheila Galvin Fianna Fáil
77 Kildare 19 February 1964 William Norton* Labour Terence Boylan Fianna Fáil
78 Roscommon 8 July 1964 James Burke* Fine Gael Joan Burke Fine Gael
79 Galway East 3 December 1964 Michael Donnellan* Clann na Talmhan John Donnellan Fine Gael
80 Cork Mid 10 March 1965 Daniel Desmond* Labour Eileen Desmond Labour

18th Dáil Elected 7 April 1965 - 7 By Elections

81 Kerry South 7 December 1966 Honor Mary Crowley* Fianna Fáil John O'Leary Fianna Fáil
82 Waterford 7 December 1966 Thaddeus Lynch* Fine Gael Patrick Browne Fianna Fáil
83 Cork Borough 9 November 1967 Sean Casey* Labour Sean French Fianna Fáil
84 Limerick West 9 November 1967 James Collins* Fianna Fáil Gerard Collins Fianna Fáil
85 Clare 14 March 1968 William Murphy* Fine Gael Sylvester Barrett Fianna Fáil
86 Wicklow 14 March 1968 James Everett* Labour Godfrey Timmins Fine Gael
87 Limerick East 22 May 1968 Donogh O'Malley* Fianna Fáil Desmond O'Malley Fianna Fáil

19th Dáil Elected 18 June 1969 - 6 By Elections

88 Dublin South West 4 March 1970 Sean Dunne* Labour Sean Sherwin Fianna Fáil
89 Kildare 14 April 1970 Gerard Sweetman* Fine Gael Patrick Malone Fine Gael
90 Longford Westmeath 14 April 1970 Patrick Lenihan* Fianna Fáil Patrick Cooney Fine Gael
91 Donegal Leitrim 2 December 1970 Patrick O'Donnell* Fine Gael Patrick Delap Fianna Fáil
92 Dublin County South 2 December 1970 Kevin Boland Fianna Fáil Lawrence McMahon Fine Gael
93 Cork Mid 2 August 1972 Patrick Forde* Fianna Fáil Gene Fitzgerald Fianna Fáil

20th Dáil Elected 28 February 1973 - 7 By Elections

94 Monaghan 27 November 1973 Erskine Childers Fianna Fáil Brendan Toal Fine Gael
95 Cork North East 13 November 1974 Liam Ahern* Fianna Fáil Sean Brosnan Fianna Fáil
96 Galway North East 4 March 1975 Michael Kitt1* Fianna Fáil Michael Kitt2 Fianna Fáil
97 Galway West 4 March 1975 John Geoghegan* Fianna Fáil Maire Geoghegan Quinn Fianna Fáil
98 Mayo West 12 November 1975 Henry Kenny* Fine Gael Enda Kenny Fine Gael
99 Donegal North East 10 June 1976 Liam Cunningham* Fianna Fáil Patrick Keaveney Independent Fianna Fáil
100 Dublin South West 10 June 1976 Noel Lemass* Fianna Fáil Brendan Halligan Labour

21st Dáil Elected 16 June 1977 - 3 By Elections

101 Cork City 7 November 1979 Patrick Kerrigan* Labour Liam Burke Fine Gael
102 Cork North East 7 November 1979 Sean Brosnan* Fianna Fáil Myra Barry Fine Gael
103 Donegal 6 November 1980 Joseph Brennan* Fianna Fáil Clement Coughlan Fianna Fáil

23rd Dáil Elected 18 February 1982 - 2 By Elections

104 Dublin West 25 May 1982 Richard Burke Fine Gael Liam Skelly Fine Gael
105 Galway East 20 July 1982 John Callanan* Fianna Fáil Noel Treacy Fianna Fáil

24th Dáil Elected 24 November 1982 - 3 By Elections

106 Donegal South West 13 May 1983 Clement Coughlan* Fianna Fáil Cathal Coughlan Fianna Fáil
107 Dublin Central 23 Nov 1983 George Colley* Fianna Fáil Thomas Leonard Fianna Fáil
108 Laoighis Offaly 14 June 1984 Bernard Cowen* Fianna Fáil Brian Cowen Fianna Fáil

27th Dáil Elected 25 November 1992 - 7 By Elections

109 Dublin South Central 9 June 1994 John O'Connell Fianna Fáil Eric Byrne Democratic Left
110 Mayo West 9 June 1994 Padraig Flynn Fianna Fáil Michael Ring Fine Gael
111 Cork North Central 10 November 1994 Gerry O'Sullivan* Labour Kathleen Lynch Democratic Left
112 Cork South Central 10 November 1994 Pat Cox Progressive Democrats Hugh Coveney Fine Gael
113 Wicklow 29 June 1995 Johnny Fox* Independent Mildred Fox Independent
114 Donegal North East 2 April 1996 Neil Blaney* Independent Fianna Fáil Cecilia Keaveney Fianna Fáil
115 Dublin West 2 April 1996 Brian Lenihan Snr 1* Fianna Fáil Brian Lenihan Jnr 2 Fianna Fáil

28th Dáil Elected 6 June 1997 - 6 By Elections

116 Limerick East 11 March 1998 James Kemmy* Labour Jan O'Sullivan Labour
117 Dublin North 11 March 1998 Ray Burke Fianna Fáil Seán Ryan Labour
118 Cork South Central 23 October 1998 Hugh Coveney* Fine Gael Simon Coveney Fine Gael
119 Dublin South Central 27 October 1999 Pat Upton* Labour Mary Upton Labour
120 Tipperary South 22 June 2000 Michael Ferris* Labour Seamus Healy Independent
121 Tipperary South 30 June 2001 Theresa Ahearn* Fine Gael Tom Hayes Fine Gael

29th Dáil Elected 17 May 2002 - 2 By Elections

122 Kildare North 11 March 2005 Charlie McCreevy Fianna Fáil Catherine Murphy Independent
123 Meath 11 March 2005 John Bruton Fine Gael Shane McEntee Fine Gael

30th Dáil Elected 24 May 2007 - 3 By Elections

124 Dublin South 5 June 2009 Seamus Brennan* Fianna Fail George Lee Fine Gael
125 Dublin Central 5 June 2009 Tony Gregory* Independent Maureen O'Sullivan Independent
126 Donegal South West 25 November 2010 Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher Fianna Fail Pearse Doherty Sinn Fein

31st Dáil Elected 25 February 2011 - 1 By Election, 1 pending

127 Dublin West 27 October 2011 Brian Lenihan* Fianna Fail Patrick Nulty Labour
128 Meath East 27 March 2013 Shane McEntee* Fine Gael Helen McEntee Fine Gael

*By Election caused by
death of TD: 92
Never subsequently
re-elected: 22

 
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