Ireland: Vacancy in the Office of President of Dáil Éireann: 1922

Vacancy in the Office of President of Dáil Éireann: 1922

The sudden death of President of Dáil Éireann Arthur Griffith on 12 Aug 1922 created a vacancy in the office of President. The Dáil Éireann Constitution of 1921 in Article 2 (g) required that

... if at any time there is no President or President Substitute or if there is no President or President Substitute able to perform the functions of the Presidential Office, a meeting of Dáil shall be convened to elect a President.

The Dáil was not in session from 8 Jun 1922 and its meeting was prorogued by proclamations of the Provisional Government on five occasions from 1 Jul 1922 to 9 Sep 1922. Finally, on 24 Aug 1922, William T. Cosgrave, in capacity of the Acting Chairman of the Provisional Government, signed the Proclamation, which fixed 9 Sep 1922 as the day for the convening of the Third Dáil Éireann. On that day, Cosgrave opened the session, which subsequently elected him President of Dáil Éireann on the motion of deputy Risteárd Ó Maolchatha.

The authors of "A New History of Ireland" (Oxford, 1984) in a listing of "Heads of Irish Government 1919-22" included the following footnote to the name of Cosgrave:

Cosgrave was appointed chairman at the meeting of the provisional government on 25 Aug., and again, more formally, in a resolution dealing with the general reallocation of ministerial posts, adopted at the meeting of 30 Aug. (State Paper Office of Ireland, Dublin Castle; minutes of provisional government G1/3, P.G. 100, 104). Cosgrave had often previously been acting chairman in Collins's absence and was acting president of Dáil Éireann after Griffith's death; he was elected president by the third dáil at its assembly on 9 Sept. 1922. [1, vol. IX , p. 544]

However, the question how Cosgrave could succeed Griffith as "acting president of Dáil Éireann" and when it did happen remains open for discussion.

[1] "A New History of Ireland", ed. by T.W. Moody, F.X. Martin, F.J. Byrne, under the Auspices of the Royal Irish Academy (Oxford, 1984).
Last updated on: 24 May 2010 22:31:53