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1954 · members Republic of Ireland members · 1961
Irish general election, 1957
146 of 147 seats in Dáil Éireann
5 March 1957
First party Second party Third party
Eamon de Valera c 1922-30.jpg Dickmulc.jpg
Leader Éamon de Valera Richard Mulcahy William Norton
Party Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Labour Party
Leader since 1926 1944 1932
Leader's seat Clare Tipperary Kildare
Last election 65 seats, 43.4% 50 seats, 32.0% 18 seats, 12.1%
Seats won 78 40 11
Seat change +13 –10 –7
Percentage 48.3% 26.6% 9.1%
Swing +4.9% –5.4% –3.0%
Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party

Leader Paddy McLogan Joseph Blowick Seán MacBride
Party Sinn Féin Clann na Talmhan Clann na Poblachta
Leader since 1950 1944 1946
Leader's seat N/A Mayo South Dublin South West (defeated)
Last election N/A 5 seats, 3.1% 3 seats, 3.8%
Seats won 4 3 1
Seat change +4 –2 –2
Percentage 5.4% 2.4% 1.7%
Swing +5.4% –0.7% –2.1%

Previous Taoiseach
John A. Costello
Fine Gael

Subsequent Taoiseach
Éamon de Valera
Fianna Fáil

The Irish general election of 1957 was held on 5 March 1957, just over three weeks after the dissolution of the Dáil on 4 February. The newly elected members of the 16th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 20 March when the new Taoiseach and government were appointed.

The general election took place in 40 parliamentary constituencies throughout Ireland for 147 seats in the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann.



The general election of 1957 was precipitated by the crisis in the trade balance and the government's reaction to it. As a result of this Fianna Fáil tabled a motion of no confidence in the inter-party government of Fine Gael, Labour and Clann na Talmhan. Rather than face defeat in the vote the Taoiseach John A. Costello, decided to dissolve the Dáil and let the people decide. The campaign was fought largely over economic issues.

Fianna Fáil had produced a major policy document in January, criticising many of its own policies in regard to the economy. While they did not know an election was imminent this became the backbone of their manifesto. The importance of free trade was played up by Fianna Fáil in a clear rejection of the protectionist policies they had advocated in the past. The architect of many of these new policies was the spokesperson for Industry and Commerce and the heir-apparent of the party, Seán Lemass. At 75 years of age Éamon de Valera was fighting his last general election as leader of the party. In spite of his age he carried out a vigorous campaign, often being accompanied by brass bands and torch-lit processions. The Fianna Fáil message was simple: coalition governments were unstable.

The other parties, most of them having enjoyed a stint in government over the previous three years, fought the election on their record in office, Fine Gael in particular. Clann na Talmhan failed to broaden their appeal and remained the voice of the farmers, while Clann na Poblachta never made the breakthrough it had hoped for and lost two of its three seats. Sinn Féin, fighting one of its first post-war elections polled well on an abstentionist ticket, winning 4 seats


16th Irish general election – 5 March 1957[1][2]
Party Leader Seats ±  % of seats First Pref votes  % FPv ±%
Fianna Fáil Éamon de Valera 78 +13 53.1 48.3 +4.9
Fine Gael Richard Mulcahy 40 –10 27.2 26.6 –5.4
Labour Party William Norton 11 –7 7.5 9.1 –3.0
Sinn Féin Paddy McLogan 4 +4 2.7 5.4 +5.4
Clann na Talmhan Joseph Blowick 3 –2 2.0 2.4 –0.7
Clann na Poblachta Seán MacBride[3] 1 –2 0.7 1.7 –2.1
Independent N/A 9 +4 6.1 6.6 +1.1
Ceann Comhairle N/A 1 N/A 0.7 N/A N/A N/A
Total 147 0 100 100
  • Fianna Fáil majority government formed.

When the votes were counted it was clear that Fianna Fáil had achieved an overall majority. Éamon de Valera became Taoiseach for the last time.

First time TDs

Re-elected TDs

Outgoing TDs

See also


  1. ^ "16th Dáil 1957 General Election". Retrieved 27 May 2009. 
  2. ^ "Dáil elections since 1918". ARK Northern Ireland. Retrieved 27 May 2009. 
  3. ^ After the election, while Seán MacBride remained leader of Clann na Poblachta, John Tully was the sole member of the parliamentary party.


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