Vice-President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State

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Vice-President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State
Seal of the Irish Free State.png
Residence No official residence
Appointer Governor-General, upon the nomination of President
Formation 6 December 1922
First holder Kevin O'Higgins
Final holder Seán T. O'Kelly
Abolished 29 December 1937
Succession Tánaiste

The Vice-President of the Executive Council (Irish: Leas-Uachtarán na hArd-Chomhairle) was the deputy prime minister of the 1922–1937 Irish Free State, and the second most senior member of the Executive Council (cabinet). Formally the Vice-President was appointed by the Governor-General on the "nomination" of the President of the Executive Council, but by convention the Governor-General could not refuse to appoint a Vice-President who the President had selected.

Under Article 53 of the Free State constitution the role of the Vice President was to "act for all purposes in the place of the President", until the appointment of a successor in the event of his death, resignation or "permanent incapacity", or until his return in the event of his "temporary absence". However, in practice the Vice President also held a second ministerial portfolio the duties of which he carried out when not called upon to become acting head of government. The Vice President could not be dismissed by the President. Rather, as was the case with all other cabinet ministers, for him to be removed from office the entire cabinet had to be dismissed and reformed en bloc.

The office of Vice President of the Executive Council was established with the establishment of the Free State in 1922. Neither of the two administrations that preceded the Free State, the Ministry of the Irish Republic and the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State, included an office corresponding to deputy prime minister. In 1937, when the new Constitution of Ireland came into force, the office of Vice-President of the Executive Council was replaced with that of Tánaiste.

List of officeholders[edit]

Name Picture Term of office Party Other ministerial offices held whilst in post
Kevin O'Higgins Kevin O'Higgins.jpg 6 December 1922 10 July 1927 Cumann na nGaedheal Minister for Justice (1922–27)
Ernest Blythe Ernest Blythe.jpg 14 July 1927 9 March 1932 Cumann na nGaedheal Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (1927–32)
Seán T. O'Kelly O Ceallaigh.jpg 9 March 1932 29 December 1937 Fianna Fáil Minister for Local Government and Public Health (1932–37)
Position replaced by Tánaiste of Ireland in December 1937

See also[edit]