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In December 1936, then President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State Éamon de Valera had ensured the passage of the Constitution (Amendment No. 27) Act, intended to abolish the office of governor-general. However he was advised by his Attorney-General, James Geoghegan, the Secretary to the Executive Council, Maurice Moynihan and Mr Matheson of the Parliamentary Draftsman's office that that Act did not actually abolish the office. They informed de Valera that removing the governor-generalship from the Irish Free State Constitution in itself did not abolish the office, as the office had an existence independent to the constitution in a number of sources, namely
and in other sources. To conclusively abolish the office, all mention of the governor-generalship would need to be removed from these and others also. In May 1937 de Valera introduced the Executive Powers (Consequential Provisions) Act, 1937 to do that.
The Act had three main aims:
The media and the opposition focused exclusively on the issue of the pension and failed to draw the public's attention to the fact that the new Bill was re-abolishing an office that de Valera had told them he had already abolished. By focusing on the pension (as he had hoped) the opposition failed to make capital out of one of de Valera's most dramatic and potentially humiliating mis-judgments, his first failed attempt to abolish the office of governor-general.