Irish heads of government since 1919

Ireland

The head of government, or prime minister, of Ireland is known as the Taoiseach and heads a cabinet called the Government. However, since 1919, heads of government in the Irish state have borne a number of titles. Under the short-lived Irish Republic of 1919–22 the head of government was known first as the President of Dáil Éireann and later as the President of the Republic. Under the Irish Free State of 1922–37 the head of government was the President of the Executive Council. There also briefly existed, immediately before the creation of the Irish Free State, an interim office of Chairman of the Provisional Government. For a brief period in 1921 the offices of President of the Republic and Chairman of the Provisional Government existed simultaneously.

Offices

List of office-holders

No. Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Political party Constituency Government
Took office Left office Time in office
1 Cathalbrugha.JPG Cathal Brugha
(1874–1922)
21 January 1919 1 April 1919 70 days Sinn Féin Waterford County 1st Ministry
2 Eamon de Valera c 1922-30.jpg Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
1 April 1919 9 January 1922 2 years, 283 days Sinn Féin Clare East and Mayo East
(1919–1921)
Clare
(1921–1922)
2nd Ministry
(1919–1921)
3rd Ministry
(1921–1922)
3 Arthur Griffith.jpg Arthur Griffith
(1872–1922)[b]
10 January 1922 12 August 1922 214 days Sinn Féin
(Pro-Treaty faction)
Cavan 4th Ministry
4 Michael Collins.jpg Michael Collins
(1890–1922)[b]
16 January 1922 22 August 1922 218 days Sinn Féin
(Pro-Treaty faction)
Cork Mid, North,
South, South East and West
1st Provisional Government
5 William Thomas Cosgrave.jpg W. T. Cosgrave
(1880–1965)
22 August 1922 9 March 1932 9 years, 200 days Cumann na nGaedheal[c] Carlow–Kilkenny
(1922–1927)
Cork Borough
(1927–1932)
1st Provisional Government
(1922)
2nd Provisional Government
(1922)
1st Executive Council
(1922–1923)
2nd Executive Council
(1923–1927)
3rd Executive Council
(1927)
4th Executive Council
(1927–1930)
5th Executive Council
(1930–1932)
(2) Eamon de Valera c 1922-30.jpg Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
9 March 1932 18 February 1948 15 years, 346 days Fianna Fáil[d] Clare 6th Executive Council
(1932–1933)
7th Executive Council
(1933–1937)
8th Executive Council
(1937)
1st Government
(1937–1938)
2nd Government
(1938–1943)
3rd Government
(1943–1944)
4th Government
(1944–1948)
6 John A Costello, 1949.jpg John A. Costello
(1891–1976)
18 February 1948 13 June 1951 3 years, 115 days Fine Gael[e] Dublin South-East 5th Government
(2) Eamon de Valera c 1922-30.jpg Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
13 June 1951 2 June 1954 2 years, 354 days Fianna Fáil Clare 6th Government
(6) John A Costello, 1949.jpg John A. Costello
(1891–1976)
2 June 1954 20 March 1957 2 years, 291 days Fine Gael Dublin South-East 7th Government
(2) Eamon de Valera c 1922-30.jpg Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
20 March 1957 23 June 1959 2 years, 95 days Fianna Fáil Clare 8th Government
7 Seán Lemass, 1966.jpg Seán Lemass
(1899–1971)
23 June 1959 10 November 1966 7 years, 140 days Fianna Fáil Dublin South-Central 9th Government
(1959–1961)
10th Government
(1961–1965)
11th Government
(1965–1966)
8 Jack Lynch 1967 (cropped).jpg Jack Lynch
(1917–1999)
10 November 1966 14 March 1973 6 years, 124 days Fianna Fáil Cork Borough
(1966–1969)
Cork City North-West
(1969–1973)
12th Government
(1966–1969)
13th Government
(1969–1973)
9 Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave-Patricks Day 1976.jpg Liam Cosgrave
(1920–2017)
14 March 1973 5 July 1977 4 years, 113 days Fine Gael Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown 14th Government
(8) Jack Lynch 1967 (cropped).jpg Jack Lynch
(1917–1999)
5 July 1977 11 December 1979 2 years, 159 days Fianna Fáil Cork City 15th Government
10 Charles Haughey.jpg Charles Haughey
(1925–2006)
11 December 1979 30 June 1981 1 year, 201 days Fianna Fáil Dublin Artane 16th Government
11 Garret FitzGerald 1975 (cropped).jpg Garret FitzGerald
(1926–2011)
30 June 1981 9 March 1982 252 days Fine Gael Dublin South-East 17th Government
(10) Charles Haughey.jpg Charles Haughey
(1925–2006)
9 March 1982 14 December 1982 280 days Fianna Fáil Dublin North-Central 18th Government
(11) Garret FitzGerald 1975 (cropped).jpg Garret FitzGerald
(1926–2011)
14 December 1982 10 March 1987 4 years, 86 days Fine Gael Dublin South-East 19th Government
(10) Charles Haughey.jpg Charles Haughey
(1925–2006)
10 March 1987 11 February 1992 4 years, 338 days Fianna Fáil Dublin North-Central 20th Government
(1987–1989)
21st Government
(1989–1992)
12 Albert Reynolds (cropped).jpg Albert Reynolds
(1932–2014)
11 February 1992 15 December 1994 2 years, 307 days Fianna Fáil Longford–Roscommon 22nd Government
(1992–1993)
23rd Government
(1993–1994)
13 John Bruton 2011.jpg John Bruton
(born 1947)
15 December 1994 26 June 1997 2 years, 193 days Fine Gael Meath 24th Government
(1994–1997)
14 BertieAhernBerlin2007.jpg Bertie Ahern
(born 1951)
26 June 1997 7 May 2008 10 years, 315 days Fianna Fáil Dublin Central 25th Government
(1997–2002)
26th Government
(2002–2007)
27th Government
(2007–2008)
15 Brian Cowennoflag.jpg Brian Cowen
(born 1960)
7 May 2008 9 March 2011 2 years, 306 days Fianna Fáil Laois–Offaly 28th Government
16 Enda Kenny EPP 2014 (cropped).jpg Enda Kenny
(born 1951)
9 March 2011 14 June 2017 6 years, 97 days Fine Gael Mayo 29th Government
(2011–2016)
30th Government
(2016–2017)
17 Leo Varadkar 2016.jpg Leo Varadkar
(born 1979)
14 June 2017 27 June 2020 3 years, 13 days Fine Gael Dublin West 31st Government
18 Micheál Martin TD (cropped).jpg Micheál Martin
(born 1960)
27 June 2020 Incumbent 285 days Fianna Fáil Cork South-Central 32nd Government

Northern Ireland

The most recent devolved cabinet in Northern Ireland is the Northern Ireland Executive, established under the Good Friday Agreement. The Executive has been in operation, intermittently, since 1999; but had existed continuously since 2007, but after elections following a government collapsed on 16 January 2017, no Executive was formed until January 2020, when the parties came to an agreement and an Executive was subsequently established. Since 1921, there have been three different prime ministerial offices in Northern Ireland. The most recent structure, the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister, represents a diarchy. As such, there is no longer a singular executive office, but rather a dual office.

Offices

Head Cabinet Date
Prime Minister Government 7 June 1921 – 30 March 1972
Chief Executive Executive (Sunningdale) 1 January 1974 – 28 May 1974
First Minister and deputy First Minister Executive 1 July 1998 – present

List of office-holders

No. Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Term of office Political party Constituency Government
Took office Left office Time in office
1 James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon.jpg Sir James Craig
(1871–1940)[f]
7 June 1921 24 November 1940 19 years, 170 days Ulster Unionist Party Down
(1921–1929)
North Down
(1929–1940)
Craigavon ministry
2 John Miller Andrews.jpg John Miller Andrews
(1871–1956)
25 November 1940 1 May 1943 2 years, 157 days Ulster Unionist Party Mid Down Andrews ministry
3 Brookeborough 1963 UUC Yearbook.jpg Sir Basil Brooke
(1888–1973)[g]
1 May 1943 25 March 1963 19 years, 328 days Ulster Unionist Party Lisnaskea Brookeborough ministry
4 Terence O'Neill 1964 UUC Yearbook.jpg Terence O'Neill
(1914–1990)
25 March 1963 1 May 1969 6 years, 37 days Ulster Unionist Party Bannside O'Neill ministry
5 James Chichester-Clark 1970.jpg James Chichester-Clark
(1923–2002)
1 May 1969 23 March 1971 1 year, 326 days Ulster Unionist Party South Londonderry Chichester-Clark ministry
6 Brian Faulkner 1963 UUC Yearbook.jpg Brian Faulkner
(1921–1977)
23 March 1971 30 March 1972 1 year, 7 days Ulster Unionist Party East Down Faulkner ministry
1 January 1974 28 May 1974 147 days South Down 1974 Executive
First Ministers
1 David Trimble.jpg David Trimble
(born 1944)
1 July 1998 14 October 2002 4 years, 105 days Ulster Unionist Party Upper Bann First Executive
2 Ian Paisley - (cropped).png Ian Paisley
(1926–2014)
8 May 2007 5 June 2008 1 year, 28 days Democratic Unionist Party North Antrim Second Executive
3 Peter Robinson MLA DUP.jpg Peter Robinson
(born 1944)
5 June 2008 11 January 2016 7 years, 220 days Democratic Unionist Party Belfast East Second Executive
(2008–2011)
Third Executive
(2011–2016)
4 Arlene Foster MLA.jpg Arlene Foster
(born 1970)
11 January 2016 9 January 2017 364 days Democratic Unionist Party Fermanagh and South Tyrone Fourth Executive
11 January 2020 Incumbent 1 year, 87 days Fifth Executive
deputy First Ministers
1 Seamus Mallon speaking at John Hewitt International Summer School 2017.png Seamus Mallon
(1936–2020)
1 July 1998 6 November 2001 3 years, 128 days Social Democratic and Labour Party Newry and Armagh First Executive
2 MarkDurkan.jpg Mark Durkan
(born 1960)
6 November 2001 14 October 2002 342 days Social Democratic and Labour Party Foyle First Executive
3 Martin McGuinness MLA.jpg Martin McGuinness
(1950–2017)
8 May 2007 9 January 2017 9 years, 246 days Sinn Féin Mid Ulster
(2007–2016)
Foyle
(2016–2017)
Second Executive
(2007–2011)
Third Executive
(2011–2016)
Fourth Executive
(2016–2017)
4 Michelle O'Neill (cropped from Martin McGuinness, Michelle O'Neill, Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams).jpg Michelle O'Neill
(born 1977)
11 January 2020 Incumbent 1 year, 87 days Sinn Féin Mid Ulster Fifth Executive

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