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Leader of the Opposition (Ireland)




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Leader of the Opposition
Ceannaire an Fhreasúra
Mary Lou McDonald (official portrait).jpg
Incumbent
Mary Lou McDonald

since 27 June 2020
Term lengthWhile leader of the largest political party not in government
Inaugural holderThomas Johnson
Formation6 December 1922

The Leader of the Opposition (Irish: Ceannaire an Fhreasúra) in Ireland is the politician who, de facto, leads the Parliamentary Opposition in the lower house of the Irish Parliament, Dáil Éireann.

When in the Dáil, the Leader of the Opposition sits on the right-hand side of the Ceann Comhairle and directly opposite of the Taoiseach.

To date there have been 17 Opposition Leaders, 9 of whom have been Taoiseach. The current Leader of the Opposition is Mary Lou McDonald TD of the Sinn Féin party since June 2020.

Leader of the Opposition

  • Leaders who later became Taoiseach are indicated in bold.
List of leaders of the opposition
No. Name
(Birth–Death)
Portrait Constituency Term of office Party Taoiseach[nb 1]
From To
1. Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
Eamon de Valera c 1922-30.jpg Clare 9 January 1922 8 June 1922 Sinn Féin (Anti-Treaty) style="background-color: Template:Sinn Féin (Pro-Treaty)/meta/color" | Arthur Griffith (1922)
2. Thomas Johnson
(1872–1963)
Tomjohnson.jpg Dublin County 9 September 1922 11 August 1927 style="background-color: Template:Labour Party (Ireland)/meta/color" | Labour Party style="background-color: Template:Cumann na nGaedheal/meta/color" rowspan=2| W. T. Cosgrave (1922–32)
(1) Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
Eamon de Valera c 1922-30.jpg Clare 11 August 1927 9 March 1932 style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" | Fianna Fáil
3. W. T. Cosgrave
(1880–1965)
William Thomas Cosgrave.jpg Cork Borough 9 March 1932 January 1944 style="background-color: Template:Cumann na nGaedheal/meta/color" | Cumann na nGaedheal style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" rowspan=4| Éamon de Valera (1932–48)
style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" rowspan=3| Fine Gael
4. Thomas F. O'Higgins
(1890–1953)
No image.png Leix–Offaly January 1944 9 June 1944
5. Richard Mulcahy
(1886–1971)
Gen. Richard Mulcahy LCCN2014717121.jpg Tipperary 9 June 1944 18 February 1948
(1) Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
Eamon de Valera c 1922-30.jpg Clare 18 February 1948 13 June 1951 style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" | Fianna Fáil style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" | John A. Costello (1948–51)
6. John A. Costello
(1891–1976)
US visit of Taoiseach Costello in 1956 (cropped).jpg Dublin South-East 13 June 1951 2 June 1954 style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" | Fine Gael style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" | Éamon de Valera (1951–54)
(1) Éamon de Valera
(1882–1975)
Eamon de Valera c 1922-30.jpg Clare 2 June 1954 20 March 1957 style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" | Fianna Fáil style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" | John A. Costello (1954–57)
(6) John A. Costello
(1891–1976)
US visit of Taoiseach Costello in 1956 (cropped).jpg Dublin South-East 20 March 1957 21 October 1959 style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" rowspan=5| Fine Gael style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" rowspan=5| Éamon de Valera (1957–59)
Seán Lemass (1959–66)
7. James Dillon
(1902–1986)
James Dillon circa 1930s.jpg Monaghan 21 October 1959 21 April 1965
8. Liam Cosgrave
(1920-2017)
Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave-Patricks Day 1976.jpg Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown 21 April 1965 14 March 1973
Jack Lynch (1966–73)
9. Jack Lynch
(1917–1999)
Jack Lynch 1967 (cropped).jpg Cork City North-West 14 March 1973 5 July 1977 style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" | Fianna Fáil style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" | Liam Cosgrave (1973–77)
10. Garret FitzGerald
(1926–2011)
Garret FitzGerald 1975 (cropped).jpg Dublin South-East 5 July 1977 30 June 1981 style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" rowspan=2| Fine Gael style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" rowspan=2| Jack Lynch (1977–79)
Charles Haughey (1979–81)
11. Charles Haughey
(1925–2006)
(Charles Haughey) Rueda de prensa de Felipe González y el primer ministro de Irlanda. Pool Moncloa. 25 de abril de 1990 (cropped).jpeg Dublin North-Central 30 June 1981 9 March 1982 style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" | Fianna Fáil style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" | Garret FitzGerald (1981–82)
(10) Garret FitzGerald
(1926–2011)
Garret FitzGerald 1975 (cropped).jpg Dublin South-East 9 March 1982 14 December 1982 style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" | Fine Gael style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" | Charles Haughey (1982)
(11) Charles Haughey
(1925–2006)
(Charles Haughey) Rueda de prensa de Felipe González y el primer ministro de Irlanda. Pool Moncloa. 25 de abril de 1990 (cropped).jpeg Dublin North-Central 14 December 1982 10 March 1987 style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" | Fianna Fáil style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" | Garret FitzGerald (1982–87)
12. Alan Dukes
(born 1945)
No image.png Kildare 10 March 1987 20 November 1990 style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" rowspan=3| Fine Gael style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" rowspan=3| Charles Haughey (1987–92)
13. John Bruton
(born 1947)
John Bruton 2011.jpg Meath 20 November 1990 15 December 1994
Albert Reynolds (1992–94)
14. Bertie Ahern
(born 1951)
BertieAhernBerlin2007-bis.jpg Dublin Central 15 December 1994 26 June 1997 style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" | Fianna Fáil style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" | John Bruton (1994–97)
(13) John Bruton
(born 1947)
John Bruton 2011.jpg Meath 26 June 1997 9 February 2001 style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" rowspan=4| Fine Gael style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" rowspan=4| Bertie Ahern (1997–2008)
15. Michael Noonan
(born 1943)
Michael Noonan (official portrait).jpg Limerick East 9 February 2001 6 June 2002
16. Enda Kenny
(born 1951)
Enda Kenny EPP 2014 (cropped).jpg Mayo 6 June 2002 9 March 2011
Brian Cowen (2008–11)
17. Micheál Martin
(born 1960)
Micheál Martin.jpg Cork South-Central 9 March 2011 27 June 2020 rowspan=2 style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" | Fianna Fáil style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" | Enda Kenny (2011–2017)
style="background-color: Template:Fine Gael/meta/color" | Leo Varadkar (2017–2020)
18. Mary Lou McDonald
(born 1969)
Mary Lou McDonald (official portrait).jpg Dublin Central 27 June 2020 Incumbent Sinn Féin style="background-color: Template:Fianna Fáil/meta/color" | Micheál Martin (2020–present)

Notes

  1. President of Dáil Éireann to 6 December 1922. President of the Executive Council to 29 December 1937.