3rd Year: Ireland in the 70s and 80s

Jack Lynch (Taoiseach 1966-73, 77-79) and
Garret FitzGerald (Taoiseach 1981-82, 82-87)
Main Page:
Ireland After Independence


Lemass retired in 1966 and was succeeded by Jack Lynch. Not long after becoming Taoiseach, Lynch had to deal with the increasing violence in Northern Ireland as the Troubles broke out. He also wanted to continue Lemass' work and bring Ireland into the European Economic Community, which he did in 1973.

Later that year, Lynch and Fianna Fáil lost an election to Fine Gael and Labour, and W.T. Cosgrave's son Liam Cosgrave became Taoiseach. With the crisis in the North still going on, Cosgrave negotiated an agreement between his government, the Northern Irish government and the British government in an attempt to solve the problems there, but that agreement broke down a year later. He also had an economic crisis to manage, and he lost the next election in 1977, when Jack Lynch and Fianna Fáil returned to government.

Two years later, Lynch stepped down and was replaced by Charles Haughey. At the start of the 1980s, three general elections happened very quickly after each other. The first was won by Fine Gael with Garret FitzGerald, the second one was won by Haughey, and the third one put FitzGerald back as Taoiseach. He worked on a second agreement between Ireland and Britain to solve the problems in the North, called the Anglo-Irish Agreement, and it is here that the modern Ireland section ends.

Continue to Northern Ireland

Nothing after 1985 is on the Junior Cert course, but if you're interested to read about Ireland since 1985 you can do so through that link. 


Liam Cosgrave,
Taoiseach 1973-77


  • Jack Lynch: Arms Crisis, Irish entry to the EEC.
  • Liam Cosgrave: Oil crisis, Sunningdale Agreement.
  • Garret FitzGerald: New Ireland Forum, Anglo-Irish Agreement.



Click here for exam questions you can be asked about this topic. (Higher and Ordinary)

Click the link for the "named political leader in Ireland" People in History question.






Taoiseach Jack Lynch's address to the nation, 13 August 1969 (YouTube)
You might remember Enda Kenny giving a message to the nation on TV about the economy. Other Taoisigh have given such messages in the past. The first was by Jack Lynch in 1969 as the full horrors of the Troubles in Northern Ireland were being made known.

RTÉ: Jack Lynch Obituary (1999)
Jack Lynch died in 1999. Here, RTÉ News has a brief overview of his life. 

Fianna Fáil: Jack Lynch
The Fianna Fáil website has its own biography of Lynch. Remember what to be careful of on a group's own website.

Charles Haughey, Taoiseach from 1979-81, Feb 82 - Nov 82,
and again from 1987 - 92

© RTÉ Stills Library
The Irish Times: The Arms Crisis
The Irish Times give an overview of the Arms Crisis and Charles Haughey's involvement with it.

BBC On This Day: The Sunningdale Agreement
The BBC explains what was hoped for by the Sunningdale Agreement. 

CAIN: The Sunningdale Agreement
This site gives an overview of what the Sunningdale Agreement was.

Collins 22 Society: Liam Cosgrave
The Fine Gael-aligned Collins 22 society has a biography of Liam Cosgrave, who is currently the oldest living former Taoiseach at 92 years of age. Beware of bias.

Fianna Fáil: Charles Haughey
Besides his involvement with the Arms Crisis, you don't learn a lot about Haughey in 3rd year because he was Taoiseach for only two years before 1985. He was Taoiseach again, however, from 1987 to 1992. Read the Fianna Fáil biography of him here. Beware of bias.

Collins 22 Society: Garret FitzGerald
The Fine Gael group's website also has a biography of FitzGerald, who died last year aged 85. Beware of bias.

RTÉ Obituary: Dr. Garret FitzGerald (YouTube)
The RTÉ's video obituary to Garret FitzGerald, detailing his career.

BBC On This Day: The Anglo-Irish Agreement
Read about that agreement here.