Taoiseach

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The Taoiseach (pronounced "TEE-shock"; plural: Taoisigh [TEE-shig]) is the official title of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland. The title has its origin in the leaders of clans in medieval Ireland. The Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland is known as the Tánasite. The current Taoiseach is Brian Cowen, leader of the Fianna Fail party.

History

The origin of the office of Taoiseach comes from the establishment of the Irish Free State, the precursor to the current Republic of Ireland, in 1923. The premier of the new free state was known as the President of the Executive Council. When a new Irish Constitution was passed in 1937, this office was replaced with that of the Taoiseach, though its roles and fucntions remained the same. The office of Taoiseach is usually assumed by the leader of whatever party which gains the most votes in a general election. A Taoiseach's term lasts five years, and unlike the American presidential system, there is no term limit. The longest serving Taoiseach so far is Eamon de Valera, who served as Taoiseach (renaming it from President in 1937) from 1932 to 1948, a total of sixteen years. The shortest term for any Taoiseach so far was Charles Haughey's second term, which lasted a little over nine months.

Taoisigh of Ireland

Taoiseach Years County Party Tánaiste
William T. Cosgrave 6 Dec 1922 - 9 Mar 1932 Dublin Cumann na nGaedheal O'Higgins (1922 - 1927); Blythe (1927 - 1932)
Eamon de Valera 9 Mar 1932 - 29 Dec 1937 Clare Fíanna Fáil O'Ceallaigh
Eamon de Valera 29 Dec 1937 - 18 Feb 1948 Clare Fíanna Fáil O'Ceallaigh (1937 - 1945); Lemass (1945 - 1948)
John A. Costello 18 Feb 1948 - 13 June 1951 Dublin Fine Gael Norton
Eamon de Valera 13 June 1951 - 2 June 1954 Clare Fíanna Fáil Lemass
John A. Costello 2 June 1954 - 20 Mar 1957 Dublin Fine Gael Norton
Eamon de Valera 20 Mar 1957 - 23 June 1959 Clare Fíanna Fáil Lemass
Sean Lemass 23 June 1959 - 10 Nov 1966 Dublin Fíanna Fáil McEntee (1959 - 1965); Aiken (1965 - 1966)
Jack Lynch 10 Nov 1966 - 14 Mar 1973 Cork Fíanna Fáil Aiken (1966 - 1969); Childers (1969 - 1973)
Liam Cosgrave 14 Mar 1973 - 5 July 1977 Dublin Fine Gael Corish
Jack Lynch 5 July 1977 - 11 Dec 1979 Cork Fíanna Fáil Colley
Charles Haughey 11 Dec 1979 - 20 Jun 1981 Dublin Fíanna Fáil Colley
Garret FitzGerald 20 Jun 1981 - 9 Mar 1982 Dublin Fine Gael O'Leary
Charles Haughey 9 Mar 1982 - 14 Dec 1982 Dublin Fíanna Fáil McSharry
Garret FitzGerald 14 Dec 1982 - 10 Mar 1987 Dublin Fine Gael Spring (1982 - 1987); Barry (1987)
Charles Haughey 10 Mar 1987 - 11 Feb 1992 Dublin Fíanna Fáil Lenihan (1987 - 1990); Wilson (1990 - 1992)
Albert Reynolds 11 Feb 1992 - 15 Dec 1994 Dublin Fíanna Fáil Wilson (1992 - 1993); Spring (1993 - 1994)
John Bruton 15 Dec 1994 - 26 Jun 1997 Dublin Fine Gael Spring
Bertie Ahern 26 Jun 1997 - 7 May 2008 Dublin Fíanna Fáil Harney (1997 - 2006); McDowell (2006 - 2007); Cowen (2007 - 2008)
Brian Cowen 7 May 2008 - Offaly Fíanna Fáil Coughlan
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