Constructing the Irish Presidency: the Early Incumbents, 1938-1973

Ciara Meehan

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Eamon de Valera's 1937 constitution created the office of President. Initially viewed with suspicion and interpreted by some as a step towards dictatorship, the presidency gradually came to be seen as a remote office and place of retirement for elder statesmen. The age profile of the three presidents examined in this article and their collective time in office initially appear to confirm such observations. Theirs tended to be a quiet office with days filled entertaining or dealing with correspondence. However, the first three presidents should not be considered as passive. Their willingness to exercise their discretionary powers was an important part of ensuring that the office functioned properly and effectively. It was also during these early years that the protocols and procedures of the office were decided. Though less remarkable than the later, more active presidents, the first three office holders played an important role in ensuring the smooth emergence of the presidency
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-75
JournalIrish Political Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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