1966 Irish presidential election
The 1966 Irish presidential election was the fifth election in Ireland and was held on 1 June 1966. Incumbent president Éamon de Valera, 83 and with a rapidly deteriorating eyesight, standing for Fianna Fáil was narrowly re-elected, with Fine Gael candidate Tom O'Higgins coming within 1% (or 10,718 votes) of defeating de Valera.
Under Article 12 of the Constitution of Ireland, a candidate for president may be nominated by:
- at least twenty of the 204 serving members of the Houses of the Oireachtas, or
- at least four of 31 councils of the administrative counties, including county boroughs, or
- themselves, in the case of a former or retiring president.
On 27 April, the Minister for Local Government made the order for the presidential election, with noon on 10 May as the date for nominations, and 1 June as the date of polling. Eoin "the Pope" O'Mahony, who had sought and failed to be nominated in 1959, tried again, unsuccessfully. He had the support of North Tipperary County Council.
As president, Éamon de Valera had the right to nominate himself for a second term, but he chose to be nominated by Fianna Fáil, the party he had led from 1926 until his election in 1959. Then Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach Seán Lemass had urged de Valera not to retire, as he had been considering. De Valera's campaign manager was Charles Haughey, later to become Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach.
De Valera did not campaign, and to maintain balance, RTÉ chose not to cover the campaign of O'Higgins either.
|1966 Irish presidential election|
|Candidate||Nominated by||% 1st Pref||Count 1|
|Éamon de Valera||Oireachtas: Fianna Fáil||50.5||558,861|
|Tom O'Higgins||Oireachtas: Fine Gael||49.5||548,144|
|Electorate: 1,709,161 Valid: 1,107,005 Spoilt: 9,910 (0.9%) Quota: 553,503 Turnout: 65.3%|
|Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown||13,869||37.7||22,945||62.3|
- "Presidential election". The Irish Times. 28 April 1966.
- "O'Mahony still seeks nomination". The Irish Times. 29 April 1966.
- Ryan, Ray (20 August 2018). "How Dev almost lost the 1966 presidential election". The Irish Times. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
- "Why Lemass urged de Valera to stay". The Irish Times. 10 May 1966.
- "Presidential nomination papers handed in". The Irish Times. 11 May 1966.
- "Presidential Elections 1938–2011" (PDF). Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. p. 26. Retrieved 25 August 2018.