President of Ireland
The President of Ireland serves as the Head of State of the Republic of Ireland. He or she is elected every seven years, with a two-term limit. The office is based on that of the Governor General, the representative of the British monarch which technically existed in Ireland until Ireland's secession from the British Commonwealth in 1949, but was so diminished during the second decade of independent Ireland's existence that it had been replaced by the office of President eleven years beforehand. Presidential candidates are nominated by the major political parties, though when elected, a President is required to be non-partisan.
The President is largely a ceremonial figure. He or she represents Ireland at important events, and makes state visits to other heads of state on a regular basis. He or she is also responsible for signing bills into law, though beyond this he or she does not have any political power. The President resides in Arás an Uachtaráin (a-raws on ook-ti-rawn, literally, "The President's House") in Phoenix Park, Dublin.
The current President of Ireland is Mary McAleese, who was first elected in 1997. She was re-elected without contest in 2004, and her term expires in 2011.
Presidents of Ireland
|1||Douglas Hyde||1938 - 1945||Unanimous nomination||At the time, his status as a Protestant President was regarded a sign of progression.|
|2||Sean T. O'Kelly||1945 - 1959||Fíanna Fáil||First President to serve two terms.|
|3||Eamon de Valera||1959 - 1973||Fíanna Fáil|
|4||Erskine Childers||1973 - 1974||Fíanna Fáil||First President to die in office.|
|5||Cerbhaill O'Dálaigh||1974 - 1976||Unanimous nomination||First President to resign.|
|6||Patrick Hillery||1976 - 1990||Fíanna Fáil|
|7||Mary Robinson||1990 - 1997||Labour Party||Ireland's first female President.|
|8||Mary McAleese||1997 -||Fíanna Fáil / Independent|