A named political leader in the Republic of Ireland, 1960-85

Lemass (left), with two future Taoisigh,
Jack Lynch (centre) and Charles Haughey (right)
Main Page: Inter-Party Government and Seán Lemass

Between 1960 and 1985, there were five Taoisigh: Seán Lemass, Jack Lynch, Liam Cosgrave, Charles Haughey and Garret FitzGerald. If you wanted, you could write about any of these men for this answer, but the easiest one by far to write about is Seán Lemass. That's who we're going to go with here.

Lemass had a very long role in Irish history. He was in the GPO in the 1916 Rising and he was a member of the IRA during the independence struggle. None of that is relevant to this question, however, because it asks about  political leader, so only information about Lemass' time in politics is important.


  • Introduce the leader you have chosen. "Seán Lemass was the Taoiseach of Ireland from 1959 - 1966. You can give one line of background, for example that he helped de Valera to found Fianna Fáil.
  • Talk about his early career in politics: Lemass was Minister for Industry and Commerce. What did he do about the economy?
  • Next, talk about Lemass' role during the Emergency. What was his job as Minister for Supplies? What did he do?
  • Once that's done you can write about de Valera retiring and Lemass becoming Taoiseach. What ideas did he have? He promoted new faces to Cabinet, name some (such as the two in the picture above).
  • Talk about the First Programme for Economic Expansion. What did it mean? What did it introduce?
  • Next, talk about Lemass and Northern Ireland. Who did he go to visit in 1965? How did he believe he could end partition?
  • Before you finish, round up what else happened during Lemass' time in government. John F. Kennedy visited, RTÉ was launched, and his Education minister brought in free secondary education. All of these things are relevant to Lemass' time in power because they played a role in modernising Ireland.
  • Finally, end with Lemass' retirement in 1966. Who succeeded him? If you like, you can finish up with his death, which occurred in 1971.

So, in short...

  1. Introduce Lemass and briefly explain who he was (co-founder of Fianna Fáil).
  2. His time as Minister for Industry and Commerce.
  3. His time as Minister for Supplies during the Emergency.
  4. Becoming Taoiseach and planning new ideas.
  5. The First Programme for Economic Expansion.
  6. His approach to Northern Ireland.
  7. Ireland being modernised: JFK, RTÉ and free secondary education.
  8. Lemass' retirement.

Don't...
  • get confused between Lemass and any other leader.
  • say "Hi, I'm Seán Lemass...", this has to be third-person (He did, he was...)
  • spend too long talking about the one thing. There's a lot to fit in, so remember to keep everything concise and to the point.

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