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President of Dáil Éireann

The head of government under the Dáil Constitution adopted by the First Dáil of the Irish Republic in January 1919. Known variously as the Príomh Áire (literally 'prime minister') and President of Dáil Éireann. The latter version was preferred by the second holder, Eamon de Valera during his visit to the United States (1920-21). Contrary to what many think, the office was not head of state, merely head of government. It was replaced by a head of state, called, President of the Republic, by a constitutional amendment passed by Dáil Éireann in August 1921.

The constitutional structures of the Irish Republic continued in existence, answerable to Dáil Éireann following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, alongside a Provisional Government[?] selected by the House of Commons of Southern Ireland (elected in 1921 under the Government of Ireland Act, 1920[?]) and appointed by the Lord Lieutenant. In reality, The House of Commons of Southern Ireland had an identical membership to the Second Dáil (except for four Unionist members who refused to attend the Dáil) and the memberships of both governments were made up of largely the same personnel, with the Republic's Minister for Finance, Michael Collins, serving as head of the Provisional Government. Both the Republican and Provisional Governments merged into one under the leadership of W.T. Cosgrave in August 1921, as did both their parliaments, following a new general election which produced a body variously described as the 'Third Dáil', the 'Constituent Assembly' and the 'Provisional Parliament'. All previous administrations and regimes disappeared in law with the appearance of the Irish Free State and its new parliament, the Oireachtas, made up of the King[?], Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann.

The Office Holders were:

Príomh Áire/President of Dáil Éireann

President of the Republic

Note 1: Following de Valera's resignation as President of the Republic in January 1922, Arthur Griffith was elected to replace him. Griffith chose to call himself 'President of Dáil Éireann' but never changed the title in the constitution.

Note 2: Following the deaths in rapid succession of President Griffith and the head of the Provisional Government, Michael Collins, William Thomas Cosgrave assumed both titles, making him for a few months simultaneously a Crown-appointed prime minister & a president of the Republic!

Preceded by:
No equivalent office
Irish Prime Ministerial Offices Succeeded by:
President of the Republic



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