1965 Irish General Election
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1965 Irish General Election

1965 Irish general election

← 1961 7 April 1965 1969 →

143 of 144 seats in Dáil Éireann
73 seats needed for a majority
Turnout75.1% Increase 4.5pp
  First party Second party
  Seán Lemass, 1966.jpg James Dillon circa 1930s.jpg
Leader Seán Lemass James Dillon
Party Fianna Fáil Fine Gael
Leader since 22 June 1959 21 March 1959
Leader's seat Dublin South-Central Monaghan
Last election 70 seats, 43.8% 47 seats, 32.0%
Seats before 71 48
Seats won 72 47
Seat change Increase1 Decrease1
Percentage 47.7% 34.1%
Swing Increase3.9% Increase2.1%

  Third party Fourth party
  Brendan Corish 1949.png Seán MacBride circa 1947.jpg
Leader Brendan Corish Seán MacBride
Party Labour Clann na Poblachta
Leader since 2 March 1960 21 January 1946
Leader's seat Wexford N/A
Last election 16 seats, 11.6% 1 seat, 1.1%
Seats before 17 1
Seats won 22 1
Seat change Increase5 Steady 0
Percentage 15.4% 0.8%
Swing Increase3.7% Decrease0.3%

Irish general election 1965.png
Percentage of seats gained by each of the three major parties, and number of seats gained by smaller parties and independents.

Taoiseach before election

Seán Lemass
Fianna Fáil

Subsequent Taoiseach

Seán Lemass
Fianna Fáil

The 1965 Irish general election was held on 7 April 1965. The newly elected members of the 18th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 21 April when the new Taoiseach and government were appointed.

The general election took place in 42 parliamentary constituencies throughout Ireland for 144 seats in the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann.


The general election of 1965 was caused by the ruling Fianna Fáil party's failure to gain a seat in a by-election. The success of Eileen Desmond of the Labour Party in Cork Mid in holding a seat previously held by her husband Dan Desmond, led to an unacceptable mathematical situation with regard to the government's majority. The Taoiseach, Seán Lemass immediately dissolved the Dáil and the campaign began in earnest.

Fianna Fáil ran its campaign on its record in government. Over the last number of years the economy had seen a huge improvement and the party played up on its record in government. The party also played up heavily on the personality of the party leader with the slogan "Let Lemass Lead On". Fine Gael put forward a comprehensive manifesto, which included the establishment of a government department concerned with economic planning. However, the older, conservative members of the party did not warm to the new turn the party was taking.

Television and radio

This was the first Irish General Election to be covered on television by state broadcaster RTÉ, which had formed on 31 December 1961. Election Newsroom was broadcast live on Telefís Éireann from their Donnybrook studios in Dublin, presented by John O'Donoghue with analysis provided by John Healy (Irish Times), John O'Sullivan (The Cork Examiner), Garret FitzGerald and Professor Basil Chubb. Cameras were present in four count centres: Bolton Street (Dublin), Wexford, Cork and Monaghan. The GPO provided direct links as results were announced. Raidió Éireann provided special coverage from 3 pm on the day of the count due to the coverage on Telefís Éireann. It was a new approach to election coverage on the state's radio service, which began broadcasting in 1926.[1]


18th Irish general election – 7 April 1965[2][3][4]
Irish general election 1965.svg
Party Leader Seats ± % of
First Pref
% FPv ±%
Fianna Fáil Seán Lemass 72 +2 50.0 597,414 47.7 +3.9
Fine Gael James Dillon 47 0 32.6 427,081 34.1 +2.1
Labour Brendan Corish 22 +6 15.3 192,740 15.4 +3.8
Clann na Poblachta Seán MacBride[5] 1 0 0.7 9,427 0.8 -0.3
Irish Workers' Party Michael O'Riordan 0 0 0 183 0.0 0
Independent N/A 2 -4 1.4 26,277 2.1 -3.5
Spoilt votes 11,544
Total 144 0 100 1,264,666 100
Electorate/Turnout 1,683,019 75.1%
  • Fianna Fáil majority government formed.

The general election gave Fianna Fáil an extra two seats, and with it an overall majority in the Dáil. Seán Lemass continued as Taoiseach. James Dillon resigned as leader of Fine Gael immediately after the result was announced.

Voting summary

First preference vote
Fianna Fáil
Fine Gael
Clann na Poblachta

Seats summary

Assembly seats
Fianna Fáil
Fine Gael
Clann na Poblachta

First time TDs

Re-elected TDs

Outgoing TDs

See also


  1. ^ "RTÉ COVERAGE OF GENERAL ELECTIONS - 1965 GENERAL ELECTION". RTÉ Libraries and Archives. Retrieved 2011.
  2. ^ "18th Dáil 1965 General Election". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 2009.
  3. ^ "Dáil elections since 1918". ARK Northern Ireland. Retrieved 2009.
  4. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, pp1009-1017 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  5. ^ After the election, while Seán MacBride was leader of Clann na Poblachta, John Tully became leader and the sole member of the parliamentary party.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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