Frank Fahy (Ceann Comhairle)

Francis Patrick "Frank" Fahy (23 May 1879 – 12 July 1953) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician who served as Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann from 1932 to 1951. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1919 to his death in 1953.[1]

Frank Fahy
Fahy speaking in 1940
Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann
In office
9 March 1932  13 June 1951
DeputyPatrick Hogan
Fionán Lynch
Eamonn O'Neill
Daniel McMenamin
Preceded byMichael Hayes
Succeeded byPatrick Hogan
Teachta Dála
In office
May 1951  July 1953
In office
December 1918  May 1921
ConstituencyGalway South
In office
July 1937  May 1951
ConstituencyGalway East
In office
May 1921  July 1937
Personal details
Francis Patrick Fahy

(1879-05-23)23 May 1879
Kilchreest, County Galway, Ireland
Died12 July 1953(1953-07-12) (aged 73)
Phibsborough, Dublin, Ireland
Resting placeDeans Grange Cemetery,
Dublin, Ireland
Political partyFianna Fáil
Spouse(s)Anna Barton (m. 1990; d. 1953)
EducationMungret College
Alma materUniversity College Galway

He was a Teachta Dála (TD) for 35 years, first for Sinn Féin and later as a member of Fianna Fáil, before becoming Ceann Comhairle (chairman) for over 19 years.

Early life

Fahy was born on 23 May 1879 in the townland of Glanatallin, Kilchreest, County Galway,[2] the eldest of 6 children born to John Fahy and Maria Jones. His father taught at the local National School. After an early education at his father's school in Kilchreest, he attended Mungret College in County Limerick. He later studied at University College Galway. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and a H.Dip. in Education, and a Diploma in Science. From 1906 to 1921 he taught Latin, Irish and Science at Castleknock College (St Vincent's College), Dublin. Fahy qualified as a barrister in 1927 at King's Inns, Dublin and also taught at the Christian Brothers school in Tralee. He was at one time General Secretary of the Conradh na Gaeilge. He married Anna Barton of Tralee, a metal artist and member of the Cumann na mBan in 1908. They had no children.

Political career

by Patrick Tuohy

Fahy was first elected at the 1918 general election as a Sinn Féin Member of Parliament (MP) for South Galway, but as the party was pledged to abstentionism he did not take his seat in the British House of Commons and joined the revolutionary First Dáil. He was re-elected as TD for Galway in 1921 general election and having sided with the anti-treaty forces following the Anglo-Irish Treaty, he did not take his seat in either the 3rd Dáil or the 4th Dáil. He joined Fianna Fáil when the party was founded in 1926, and along with the 42 other Fianna Fáil TDs he took his seat in the 5th Dáil on 12 August 1927,[3] three days before the Dáil tied 71 votes to 71 on a motion of no confidence which persuaded W. T. Cosgrave's Cumann na nGaedheal government to call a general election in search of a majority.[4]

After the September 1927 election, Cosgrave was able to form a minority government with the support of the Farmers' Party and some independent TDs. However, in the 1932 general election, Fianna Fáil won just under half of the seats and formed a government with the support of the Labour Party. The first business was of the 7th Dáil was the election of the Ceann Comhairle, and on 9 March 1932 Fahy was nominated for the position by Seán T. O'Kelly, winning the vote by a margin of 74 to 71.[5]

He held the post until Fianna Fáil lost the 1951 election, and at the start of the 14th Dáil he did not offer himself for re-election as Ceann Comhairle. He was replaced by the Labour TD Patrick Hogan.[6] His 19 years in the chair remains the longest of any Ceann Comhairle, and the only other person to exceed 10 years as Ceann Comhairle was his successor, Patrick Hogan.[7]

The 1932 election was the last which Fahy contested; as Ceann Comhairle, he was automatically re-elected at the next seven elections. When his Galway constituency was divided for the 1937 general election, he was returned unopposed for the new Galway East, and similarly in 1948 for the new Galway South constituency.[8]

Fahy died on 12 July 1953,[9] and is buried at Deans Grange Cemetery, Dublin. The Galway South by-election held after his death was won by the Fianna Fáil candidate Robert Lahiffe.[10]


  1. "Frank Fahy". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  2. "General Registrar's Office" (PDF). Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  3. "Dáil Éireann debates, Volume 20, 12 August 1927: New deputies take their seats". Houses of the Oireachtas. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  4. "Dáil Éireann debates, Volume 20, 16 August 1927: No confidence motion". Houses of the Oireachtas. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  5. "Dáil Éireann debates, Volume 41, 9 March 1932: Election of Ceann Comhairle". Houses of the Oireachtas. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  6. "Dáil Éireann debates, Volume 126, 13 June 1951: Election of Ceann Comhairle". Houses of the Oireachtas. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  7. "An Ceann Comhairle - History". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  8. "Frank Fahy". Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  9. "Death of Mr Frank Fahy TD". Derry Journal. 13 July 1953 via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. "Galway South by-election, 21 August 1953". Retrieved 8 January 2008.