Leader of the Opposition (Ireland)

parliamentary position of the Irish Parliament, Dáil Éireann

The Leader of the Opposition (Irish: Ceannaire an Fhreasúra) in Ireland is the politician who, de facto, leads the Parliamentary Opposition in the lower house of the Irish Parliament, Dáil Éireann.

Leader of the Opposition
Ceannaire an Fhreasúra
Micheal Martin (official portrait).jpg
Incumbent
Micheál Martin

since 9 March 2011
Term lengthWhile leader of the largest political party not in government
Inaugural holderThomas Johnson
Formation6 December 1922

When in the Dáil, the Leader of the Opposition sits on the right-hand side of the Ceann Comhairle and directly opposite of the Taoiseach.

To date there have been 17 Opposition Leaders, 9 of whom have been Taoiseach. The current Leader of the Opposition is Micheál Martin TD of the Fianna Fáil party, following the opening of the 31st Dáil on 9 March 2011.

Leader of the OppositionEdit

  • Leaders who later became Taoiseach are indicated in bold.
No. Name
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Constituency Term of office Party Taoiseach[nb 1]
1. Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
  Clare 9 January 1922 8 June 1922 Sinn Féin (Anti-Treaty) Arthur Griffith (1922)
2. Thomas Johnson
(1872–1963)
  Dublin County 9 September 1922 11 August 1927 Labour Party W. T. Cosgrave (1922–32)
(1) Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
  Clare 11 August 1927 9 March 1932 Fianna Fáil
3. W. T. Cosgrave
(1880–1965)
  Cork Borough 9 March 1932 January 1944 Cumann na nGaedheal Éamon de Valera (1932–48)
Fine Gael
4. Thomas F. O'Higgins
(1890–1953)
  Leix–Offaly January 1944 9 June 1944
5. Richard Mulcahy
(1886–1971)
  Tipperary 9 June 1944 18 February 1948
(1) Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
  Clare 18 February 1948 13 June 1951 Fianna Fáil John A. Costello (1948–51)
6. John A. Costello
(1891–1976)
  Dublin South-East 13 June 1951 2 June 1954 Fine Gael Éamon de Valera (1951–54)
(1) Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
  Clare 2 June 1954 20 March 1957 Fianna Fáil John A. Costello (1954–57)
(6) John A. Costello
(1891–1976)
  Dublin South-East 20 March 1957 21 October 1959 Fine Gael Éamon de Valera (1957–59)
Seán Lemass (1959–66)
7. James Dillon
(1902–1986)
  Monaghan 21 October 1959 21 April 1965
8. Liam Cosgrave
(1920-2017)
  Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown 21 April 1965 14 March 1973
Jack Lynch (1966–73)
9. Jack Lynch
(1917–1999)
  Cork City North-West 14 March 1973 5 July 1977 Fianna Fáil Liam Cosgrave (1973–77)
10. Garret FitzGerald
(1926–2011)
  Dublin South-East 5 July 1977 30 June 1981 Fine Gael Jack Lynch (1977–79)
Charles Haughey (1979–81)
11. Charles Haughey
(1925–2006)
  Dublin North-Central 30 June 1981 9 March 1982 Fianna Fáil Garret FitzGerald (1981–82)
(10) Garret FitzGerald
(1926–2011)
  Dublin South-East 9 March 1982 14 December 1982 Fine Gael Charles Haughey (1982)
(11) Charles Haughey
(1925–2006)
  Dublin North-Central 14 December 1982 10 March 1987 Fianna Fáil Garret FitzGerald (1982–87)
12. Alan Dukes
(born 1945)
  Kildare 10 March 1987 20 November 1990 Fine Gael Charles Haughey (1987–92)
13. John Bruton
(born 1947)
  Meath 20 November 1990 15 December 1994
Albert Reynolds (1992–94)
14. Bertie Ahern
(born 1951)
  Dublin Central 15 December 1994 26 June 1997 Fianna Fáil John Bruton (1994–97)
(13) John Bruton
(born 1947)
  Meath 26 June 1997 9 February 2001 Fine Gael Bertie Ahern (1997–2008)
15. Michael Noonan
(born 1943)
  Limerick East 9 February 2001 6 June 2002
16. Enda Kenny
(born 1951)
  Mayo 6 June 2002 9 March 2011
Brian Cowen (2008–11)
17. Micheál Martin
(born 1960)
  Cork South-Central 9 March 2011 Incumbent Fianna Fáil Enda Kenny (2011–2017)
Leo Varadkar (2017–present)

NotesEdit

  1. President of Dáil Éireann to 6 December 1922. President of the Executive Council to 29 December 1937.