Following a clash with the Liam Cosgrave led Government of the day, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh became the first Irish President to resign from office.
While President, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh referred the Government’s Emergency Powers Bill to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality. On the day he signed the bill into law, an IRA bomb in Mountmellick, County Laois killed Garda Michael Clerkin. Ó Dálaigh's perceived procrastination was seen by some Government members to have contributed to the death of this Garda. Defence Minister Patrick Donegan is believed to have called the President,
A thundering disgrace.
Following the Minister's remarks, President Ó Dálaigh tendered his resignation from office, stepping down on 22 October 1976. Speaking to RTÉ News Ó Dálaigh would not be drawn on the reasons why he resigned further than he had outlined in writing. He is clear however that his resignation was considered.
My job in life has been considering things I hope, gravely and fully.
He does not wish to discuss Minister Donegan but is clear he does not hold any personal rancour. Ó Dálaigh will not be standing for public office again and plans to retire to Cahersiveen in County Kerry.
Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh was succeeded as President by Patrick Hillery.
An RTÉ News report by Ronnie Turner broadcast on 22 October 1976.