Women in the Oireachtas: Dáil Éireann (1948 - 1973)


1948 saw the end of 16 straight years of Fianna Fáil governance, as the first Inter-Party Government took over under the leadership of John A. Costello. While de Valera returned as Taoiseach twice more afterwards, he retired from the Dáil in 1959 upon his election as President. His successor, Seán Lemass, brought Ireland into the 1960s with a series of reforms and measures designed to modernise and strengthen the Irish economy.

The path towards a more modern state was evident through the gradually increasing number of female TDs in the Dáil. In contrast to the 16 years just passed, the period from 1948 to 1973 only saw the number of female TDs fall below 4 once, with a record of 6 in the 15th Dáil after the 1956 by-election in Kerry North. The 1954 general election gave the Labour Party its first female TD, Maureen O'Carroll (mother of comedian Brendan). Though she only served one term, Eileen Desmond was elected in Cork Mid in 1965. She would go on to serve as an MEP and a Minister in the 1970s and 80s. Kathleen O'Connor became Clann na Poblachta's first and only female TD in 1956, while Honor Crowley of Fianna Fáil set the then-record for longest serving female TD, serving from 1945 to her death in 1966. She had been the first woman to represent Ireland to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in 1954.

Party Key:
FF - Fianna Fáil 
FG - Fine Gael 
Lab - Labour 
CP - Clann na Poblachta


Elected:
Honor Crowley - Kerry South (FF)
Bridget Redmond - Waterford (FG)
Mary Reynolds - Leitrim (FG)
Bridget Rice - Monaghan (FF)
Mary Ryan - Tipperary (FF) 



Elected:
Honor Crowley - Kerry South (FF)
Bridget Redmond - Waterford (FG)
Mary Reynolds - Leitrim (FG)
Bridget Rice - Monaghan (FF)
Mary Ryan - Tipperary (FF) 



Elected:
Honor Crowley - Kerry South (FF)
Celia Lynch - Dublin South Central (FF)
Maureen O'Carroll - Dublin North West (Lab)
Mary Reynolds - Sligo-Leitrim (FG)
Mary Ryan - Tipperary North (FF)
* 1956 by-election:
Kathleen O'Connor - Kerry North (CP) 


Elected:
Honor Crowley - Kerry South (FF)
Celia Lynch - Dublin South Central (FF) 
Mary Reynolds - Leitrim (FG)
Mary Ryan - Tipperary (FF) 



Elected:
Honor Crowley - Kerry South (FF)
Celia Lynch - Dublin North Central (FF) 
Brigid Hogan-O'Higgins - Galway East (FG)
Mary Reynolds - Leitrim (FG)
* Feb 1964 by-election:
Sheila Galvin - Cork Borough (FF)
* July 1964 by-election:
Joan Burke - Roscommon (FG)
* 1965 by-election:
Eileen Desmond - Cork Mid (Lab)


Elected:
Joan Burke - Roscommon (FG)
Honor Crowley - Kerry South (FF)
Eileen Desmond - Cork Mid (Lab) 
Celia Lynch - Dublin North Central (FF)
Brigid Hogan-O'Higgins - Galway East (FG)


Elected:
Joan Burke - Roscommon (FG)
Celia Lynch - Dublin North Central (FF)
Brigid Hogan-O'Higgins - Galway East (FG)