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Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies$
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Paul Webb, David Farrell, and Ian Holliday

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199240562

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199240566.001.0001

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Party Politics in Ireland

Party Politics in Ireland

Regularizing a Volatile System

(p.217) 8 Party Politics in Ireland
Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies

R. J. Murphy

David M. Farrell

Oxford University Press

Until as recently as the mid‐1970s, Irish party politics had an unchanging nature and was characterized as a two‐and‐a‐half party system (Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and the smaller Labour Party) dominated by Fianna Fáil. However, the last part of the twentieth century has seen dramatic changes. The dominance of Fianna Fáil ended, and whereas governments from 1932 to 1969 changed only four times, in the last 30 years, no government has been fully returned to power, and there have been coalition governments—a normal experience of proportional representation systems (Ireland has a single transferable vote system) although it had not previously occurred in Ireland. There has also been a host of new parties, although recently there has been some rationalization (with a formal merger between Labour and the Democratic Left in January 1999) and the party system has become more unpredictable, while at the same time showing signs of becoming more regulated. The introduction discusses these changes; the next three sections cover the same topics as those in the other country case studies in the book, and examine party legitimacy, party organizational strength (party finance, staffing, members, access to/control of the media) and the systemic functionality of parties (governance, political recruitment, interest articulation and aggregation, political participation, and political communication and education).

Keywords:   case studies, governance, interest aggregation, interest articulation, Ireland, mass media, party finance, party functionality, party legitimacy, party members, party organization, party performance, party staffing, party system, political communication, political education, political participation, political parties, political recruitment, political system, proportional representation, single transferable vote system

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