List of Dáil by-elections
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This is a list of by-elections to Dáil Éireann, the house of representatives of the Oireachtas, the Irish legislature. By-elections in Ireland occur to fill vacant seats which can be caused by the death, resignation or expulsion of a sitting Teachta Dála (member of parliament).
There have been 131 by-elections since 1923, to fill 133 vacancies. 92 of these were caused by the death of a sitting Teachta Dála (TD). There were seven by-elections during the lifetime of the 31st Dáil. There were no by-elections during the 3rd, 7th, 9th, 11th, 22nd, 25th and 26th Dála. The longest period without a by-election was almost 10 years between 1984 and 1994. The largest number of by-elections on one day was on 11 March 1925, when seven constituencies filled nine vacancies caused by the National Party's split from Cumann na nGaedheal. Those seven by-elections included two which filled two vacancies, via the single transferable vote. All the other by-elections have used its single-winner analogue, the alternative vote.
Twenty-two TDs were first elected at a by-election and never subsequently re-elected at a general election. The only person twice elected at by-elections was Thomas Hennessy.
First and Second Dáil
The First Dáil was established by Sinn Féin members returned in the 1918 election to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. Convention in the Commons was that the writ for a by-election be moved by a party colleague of the vacating member, which was impossible for the abstentionist Sinn Féin. There were three by-elections held for Westminster constituencies vacated by Unionist members during the lifetime of the First Dáil, all of whom took their seats in Westminster.
When Pierce McCan died on 6 March 1919, his East Tipperary seat was left vacant at Westminster. In April 1919 a Dáil committee considering how to fill the vacancy considered allowing nomination by the Labour Party (which had stood aside in the 1918 election to avoid splitting the nationalist vote) before recommending that the Sinn Féin constituency organisation should nominate. However, in June 1919 the Dáil decided that "it was due to the memory of the late Pierce McCann that his place should not be filled at present". Later vacancies were also left unfilled; when Diarmuid Lynch resigned his seat in 1920, Arthur Griffith said "as the letter of resignation was addressed to the people of South-East Cork, the next step in the matter lay with the South-East Cork Executive of Sinn Fein".
Four Sinn Féin TDs represented two separate constituencies: Éamon de Valera, Arthur Griffith, Eoin MacNeill and Liam Mellowes. Ordinarily, this would prompt them to choose one constituency to represent, and to move a writ for a by-election in the other constituency. Again, as they were not sitting in the House of Commons, no writ was moved.
|Winner||Party||Constituency||Date||Outgoing||Party||Reason for vacancy||Notes|
|Hugh T. Barrie||U||North Londonderry||4 March 1919||Hugh Anderson||U||Resignation||This was the only by-election contested by Sinn Féin, Patrick McGilligan losing.|
|George Hanna||Ind U||East Antrim||27 May 1919||Robert McCalmont||U||Appointed commander of the Irish Guards|
|William Jellett||U||University of Dublin||28 July 1919||Arthur Samuels||U||Appointed to the High Court of Justice in Ireland||Returned unopposed|
|Seat left vacant||East Tipperary||none||Pierce McCan||SF||Died 6 March 1919|
|Seat left vacant||South East Cork||none||Diarmuid Lynch||SF||Resignation in August 1920|
|Seat left vacant||Mid Cork||none||Terence MacSwiney||SF||Died 25 October 1920|
The Second Dáil comprised those returned in the 1921 elections to the House of Commons of Southern Ireland and the House of Commons of Northern Ireland. There were no by-elections to either body during the lifetime of the Second Dáil.
By-elections since 1923
By-elections in which seats changed hands are indicated with a grey background.
- TDs who were never subsequently re-elected.
- A single by-election to fill two vacancies in the same constituency.
- Walker, Brian M, ed. (1992). Parliamentary election results in Ireland, 1918–92. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. ISBN 0-901714-96-8. ISSN 0332-0286.
- "Dáil by-elections 1918–2005". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- Mitchell, Arthur (1995). Revolutionary Government in Ireland: Dáil Éireann, 1919-22. Gill & MacMillan. p. 24. ISBN 9780717114818.
- "East Tipperary Vacancy". Dáil Éireann debate. Oireachtas. 17 June 1919. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
- "Report of Select Committee on East Tipperary Vacancy". Dáil Éireann debate. Oireachtas. 17 June 1919. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
- "Resignation Of Deputy For South-East Cork". Dáil Éireann debate. Oireachtas. 6 August 1920. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
- Laffan, Michael (1999). The Resurrection of Ireland: The Sinn Féin Party, 1916–1923. Cambridge University Press. p. 309. ISBN 9781139426299. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
- Dáil debates Vol.5 No.1 p.5
- Dáil debates Vol.5 No.4 p.19
- Dáil debates Vol.21 No.1 p.3