Biography of O'Daly, Carroll (Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh) - Archontology
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O'Daly, Carroll (Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh)

Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh = Carroll O'Daly

b. 12 Feb 1911, Bray, near Dublin, Co. Wicklow
d. 21 Mar 1978, Sneem, Co. Kerry

Title: Uachtarán na hÉireann = President of Ireland
Term: 19 Dec 1974 - 22 Oct 1976
Chronology: 3 Dec 1974, declared to have been elected by a certificate issued by the Presidential Returning Officer (unopposed nomination)
19 Dec 1974, sworn in, St Patrick's Hall, Dublin Castle, Dublin
22 Oct 1976, resignation

Born in the family active in the struggle for Irish independence, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh was educated at the University College, Dublin, graduating in Celtic studies (1931). He studied law at Kings Inns and was an Irish-language editor of the "Irish Press" in 1931-1940. He was called to the Bar in 1934 and to the Inner Bar in 1945. Appointed Senior counsel in 1945, Ó Dálaigh became Attorney-General (30 Apr 1946 - 18 Feb 1948, 14 Jun 1951 - 11 Jul 1953). In 1953 he was appointed judge of the Supreme Court and then Chief Justice (1961-1973). In this office he played a decisive part in liberalizing the law and developing the position of the Supreme Court as guardian of the rights of citizens enshrined in the Constitution. In 1972 Ó Dálaigh became Irish member of the EEC Court of Justice. He served as chairman of a number of Government commissions and of the Cultural Relations Committee. After the sudden death of President Erskine Childers, all the political parties in the Dáil Éireann agreed that Ó Dálaigh should succeed him, and he was inaugurated on 19 Dec 1974. In office he made state visits to France and Spain. In September 1976, when an Emergency Powers Bill was presented to him for signature and promulgation, he decided after consulting the Council of State to refer it to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality; the court judged that it was not repugnant to the Constitution, and he signed it. On 18 Oct 1976, at an army function in Columb Barracks, Mullingar, the Minister for Defense, Patrick Donegan, called the President 'a thundering disgrace'. A Dáil motion by the opposition for the resignation of the minister, who had meanwhile offered an apology, was defeated on 21 Oct 1976. The following day the President tendered his resignation, 'as the only way open to assert publicly my personal integrity and independence as President of Ireland and to protect the dignity and independence of the Presidency as an institution.' Biography source: [1][2]

[1] "A Dictionary of Irish Biography", ed. by Henry Boylan (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1998).
[2] Toghcháin Uachtaráin 1938-1997 Presidential Elections. Dublin: Stationery Office, September 2000.