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|Fianna Fáil - The Republican Party
Fianna Fáil - An Páirtí Poblachtánach
|Leader||Micheál Martin, TD|
|Founder||Éamon de Valera|
|Founded||23 March 1926|
|Headquarters||65–66 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2, Ireland|
|Youth wing||Ógra Fianna Fáil|
|Membership (2013)||18,500 |
• Social democracy
• Social liberalism
• Economic liberalism
• Social conservatism
• Cultural conservatism
|Political position||Centre to centre-right|
|European affiliation||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party|
|European Parliament group||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe|
|Local government in the Republic of Ireland|
|Politics of the Republic of Ireland
Politics of Northern Ireland
Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party, more commonly known as Fianna Fáil (Irish pronunciation: [ˌfʲiənə ˈfɔːlʲ]) is a centrist to centre-right Irish republican and conservative political party in Ireland, founded on 23 March 1926. Fianna Fáil's name is traditionally translated into English as Soldiers of Destiny, although a more accurate rendition would be Warriors of Fál ("Fál" being a legendary name for Ireland). Historically, Fianna Fáil has been seen as to the left of Fine Gael and to the right of the Labour Party and is generally seen as a classic "catch all" populist party - representing a broad range of people from all social classes with the belief in the coincidence of economic growth and social progress. Fianna Fáil has led governments including parties of the centre-left (Labour and the Green Party) and of the centre-right (the now-defunct Progressive Democrats). It is led by Micheál Martin since January 2011.
Since the formation of the first Fianna Fáil government on 9 March 1932, the party has been in power for 61 of the last 79 years. Its longest continuous period in office was 15 years and 11 months (March 1932–February 1948). Its single longest period out of office, in that time, has been 4 years and 4 months (March 1973–July 1977). Seven of the party's eight leaders have served as Taoiseach. It was the largest party in Dáil Éireann at every general election from the 1932 general election until the 2011 general election, when it suffered the worst defeat of a sitting government in the history of the Irish state, a loss described as "historic" in its proportions, where it saw its electoral support base diminished by 75%, as a reaction to the intervention, and in the running of the Irish economy, of the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in November 2010. After the February 2011 election, it moved from being the largest party to the third-largest party in the 31st Dáil.
Fianna Fáil joined the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (then known as the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party) on 16 April 2009, and has sat in its associated Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group in the European Parliament since the 2009 European elections.
Organisation and structure 
Fianna Fáil's success was credited by The Irish Times to its local structure. The basic unit was the cumann (branch) which were then grouped into comhairle ceantair (district branch) and a comhairle dáil ceantair (constituency branch) in every constituency. At the party's height it boasted 3,000 cumainn, an average of 75 per constituency. The party claimed 55,000 members in 2004, a figure which Eoin O'Malley, a political scientist, considers exaggerated compared to membership figures for other parties.
However since the early 1990s the cumann structure was weakened. As every cumann was entitled to three votes to selection conventions irrespective of size, a large number of cumainn became in effect "paper cumainn" only used to ensure an aspiring or sitting candidate got enough votes. Another problem arose with the emergence of parallel organisations grouped around candidates or elected officials. Supporters and election workers for a particular candidate were loyal to a candidate and not to the party. If the candidate was to leave the party, through either resignation, retirement or defeat at election, the candidate's supporters would often depart. Although this phenomenon was nothing new, (the most famous example being Neil Blaney's "Donegal Mafia") it increased significantly from the early 90's particularly in the Dublin Region with former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's "Drumcondra mafia" and the separate groups supporting Tom Kitt and Séamus Brennan in Dublin South largely separate from the official party structure.
Since the 2007 election, the party's structure has significantly weakened. This was in part exacerbated by significant infighting between candidates in the run up to the 2011 general election. The Irish Times estimated that half of its 3,000 cumainn are effectively moribund. This fraction rises in Dublin with the exception of Dublin West, the former seat of both Brian Lenihan's.
Irish politics is generally regarded as being non-ideological and Fianna Fáil is seen as a typical catch-all party. R. Ken Carty wrote of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael that they were ‘heterogeneous in their bases of support, relatively undifferentiated in terms of policy or programme, and remarkably stable in their support levels’. However, it is difficult to argue that the party is anything but on the centre right, even if it liked to present itself as the party of the small farmer and working man. Evidence from expert surveys, opinion polls and candidate surveys all fail to identify strong distinctions between the two largest parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Many point to Ireland's civil war politics and feel that the basis for the division is the disagreement about the strategy to achieve a united Ireland. Geneticist, Kevin Byrne and political scientist Eoin O'Malley rejected this and have argued that the differences between the two parties goes much further back in Irish history. They linked the parties to different nationalist traditions (Irish Enlightenment and Gaelic Nationalist) which in turn could be linked to migrations of Anglo-Norman and new English into Ireland and the 'native' Gaelic population.
Leader and president 
Although the posts of leader and party president of Fianna Fáil are separate, with the former elected by the Parliamentary Party and the latter elected by the Ardfheis (thus allowing for the posts to be held by different people, in theory), in practice they have always been held by the one person. However, as the Ardfheis may have already been held in any given year by the time a new leader is elected, the selection of the new party president might not take place until the next year.
The following are the terms of office for the leader:
- Éamon de Valera (1926–1959)
- Seán Lemass (1959–1966)
- Jack Lynch (1966–1979)
- Charles Haughey (1979–1992)
- Albert Reynolds (1992–1994)
- Bertie Ahern (1994–2008)
- Brian Cowen (2008–2011)
- Micheál Martin (2011–present)
The chart below shows a timeline of Fianna Fáil leaders and the Presidents of the Executive Council and Taoiseach. The left bar shows all the leaders of Fianna Fáil, and the right bar shows the corresponding make-up of the Irish government at that time. The colours correspond to which party led the government. The last names of the respective heads of government are shown, and the Roman numeral stands for the cabinets.
General election results 
|Election||Dáil||Share of votes||Seats||Outcome of election||Total seats|
|1927 (Jun)||5th||26.2%||44||Cumann na nGaedhael government||153|
|1927 (Sep)||6th||35.2%||57||Cumann na nGaedhael government||153|
|1932||7th||44.5%||72||Fianna Fáil government||153|
|1933||8th||49.7%||76||Fianna Fáil government||153|
|1937||9th||45.2%||68||Fianna Fáil government||138|
|1938||10th||51.9%||76||Fianna Fáil government||138|
|1943||11th||41.8%||66||Fianna Fáil government||138|
|1944||12th||48.9%||75||Fianna Fáil government||138|
|1948||13th||41.9%||67||Inter-party (1st) government||147|
|1951||14th||46.3%||68||Fianna Fáil government||147|
|1954||15th||43.4%||65||Inter-party (2nd) government||147|
|1957||16th||48.3%||78||Fianna Fáil government||147|
|1961||17th||43.8%||70||Fianna Fáil government||144|
|1965||18th||47.7%||72||Fianna Fáil government||144|
|1969||19th||44.6%||74||Fianna Fáil government||144|
|1973||20th||46.2%||68||Fine Gael–Labour Party government||144|
|1977||21st||50.6%||84||Fianna Fáil government||148|
|1981||22nd||45.3%||77||Fine Gael–Labour Party government||166|
|1982 (Feb)||23rd||47.3%||81||Fianna Fáil government||166|
|1982 (Nov)||24th||45.2%||75||Fine Gael–Labour Party government||166|
|1987||25th||44.2%||81||Fianna Fáil government||166|
|1989||26th||44.2%||77||Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats government||166|
|1992||27th||39.1%||68||Fianna Fáil–Labour Party[A]||166|
|1997||28th||39.3%||77||Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats government||166|
|2002||29th||41.5%||81||Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats government||166|
|2007||30th||41.6%||77||Fianna Fáil–Green Party–Progressive Democrats government||166|
|2011||31st||17.4%||20||Fine Gael–Labour Party government||166|
A In December 1994, Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Democratic Left entered into government without a general election being called.
Front bench 
Ógra Fianna Fáil 
Fianna Fáil's youth wing is called Ógra Fianna Fáil. Formed in 1975, it plays an active role in recruiting new members and supporting election campaigns. Ógra also plays an important role in the party organisation where it currently has five representatives on the Ard Chomhairle (National Executive).
Senator Thomas Byrne was the last nominated head or Cathaoirleach (Chairperson) of Ógra Fianna Fáil, before the youth wing introduced widespread oganisational reform following the heavy electoral defeat suffered by the whole party in 2011.
Ógra have the oldest political society on any third level campus in Ireland in the Cumann de Barra NUI, Galway.
Entry into Northern Ireland politics 
On 17 September 2007 Fianna Fáil announced that the party would, for the first time, organise in Northern Ireland.
The then Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern was asked to chair a committee on the matter: "In the period ahead Dermot Ahern will lead efforts to develop that strategy for carrying through this policy, examining timescales and structures. We will act gradually and strategically. We are under no illusions. It will not be easy. It will challenge us all. But I am confident we will succeed."
The party embarked on its first ever recruitment drive north of the border in September 2007 in northern universities, and established two 'Political Societies', the William Drennan Cumann in Queens University, Belfast, and the Watty Graham Cumann in UU Magee, Derry, which subsequently became official units of Fianna Fáil's youth wing, attaining full membership and voting rights, and attained official voting delegates at the 2012 Árd Fheis.
Bertie Ahern announced on 7 December 2007 that Fianna Fáil had been registered in Northern Ireland by the UK Electoral Commission. The Party's Ard Fheis in 2009 unanimously passed a motion to organise in Northern Ireland by establishing fora in each of its six counties, this has been achieved in all counties, this Ard Fheis also elected a member from Armagh, Mark Hughes to the Party's Ard Chomhairle.
There has been speculation about an eventual merger with the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), formerly the main Irish nationalist party in the Northern Ireland, but now smaller than Sinn Féin. This has been met with a negative reaction with former Deputy Leader of the SDLP, Seamus Mallon, stating he would be opposed to any such merger. The former leader of the SDLP, Margaret Ritchie, also stated publicly that she would oppose any merger. At the 2010 Irish Labour Party conference she criticised Fianna Fáil's record in government and also the National Asset Management Agency On 23 February 2008, it was announced that a former UUP councillor, Colonel Harvey Bicker, had joined Fianna Fáil.
Fianna Fáil has registered with the UK Electoral Commission and is now a recognised party in Northern Ireland. It has not as yet officially contested any elections in Northern Ireland, and there is no indication that it will do so. Former MLA Gerry McHugh, who had defected from Sinn Féin in 2007 and had joined Fianna Fáil as in individual member, but did not contest the 2011 Assembly elections.
In European institutions 
In the European Parliament from 1999 to 2009, Fianna Fáil was a leading member of Union for Europe of the Nations, a small national conservative grouping. European political commentators had often noted substantive ideological differences between the party and its colleagues, whose strongly conservative stances had at times prompted domestic criticism of Fianna Fáil. It had previously been a member of the Union for Europe, European Democratic Alliance, and European Progressive Democrats groups.
Party headquarters, over the objections of some MEPs, had made several attempts to sever the party's links to the European right, including an aborted 2004 agreement to join the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR), with whom it already sat in the Council of Europe under the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) banner. On 27 February 2009, Taoiseach Brian Cowen announced that Fianna Fáil proposed to join ELDR and intended to sit with them in the ALDE Group in the European Parliament after the 2009 European elections. The change was made official on 17 April 2009, when FF joined the ELDR.
In October 2009, it was reported that Fianna Fáil had irritated its new Liberal colleagues by failing to vote for the motion on press freedom in Italy (resulting in its defeat by a majority of one in the Parliament) and by trying to scupper their party colleagues' initiative for gay rights. In January 2010, a report by academic experts writing for the votewatch.eu site found that FF "do not seem to toe the political line" of the ALDE group "when it comes to budget and civil liberties" issues.
Legal proceedings 
In 2010 Fianna Fáil in the capacity of the government, lodged an appeal with the High Court regarding the constitutionality of the timelines of by elections. This appeal is still outstanding in the courts.
See also 
- "Martin hits out at O Cuiv for claims of SF alliance". Irish Independent. 29 April 2012.
- Titley, Gavan (24 February 2011). "Beyond the yin and yang of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil – Gavan Titley". The Guardian (London).
- Template:Www.tax-news.com/news/McCreevy Hits Back As Economists Warn On Effects Of Irish Tax Cuts 9541.html
- IRELAND: Legislative elections: Dáil Éireann, 5-year term, proportional representation system (STV), Parties and Elections in Europe
- Burke-Kennedy, Eoin (24 January 2011). "Political turmoil grabs global headlines". The Irish Times.
- "Enda Kenny hails 'democratic revolution' in Ireland". Christian Science Monitor. 27 February 2011.
- Halligan, Liam (6 April 2008). The Telegraph (London) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/liamhalligan/2787583/Will-the-credit-crisis-leave-Irelands-economy-all-washed-up.html
|url=missing title (help). More than one of
- Titley, Gavan (24 February 2011). "Beyond the yin and yang of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil". The Guardian (London).
- McGuinness battles to escape IRA past (14 October 2011). Financial Times http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/52e65dd8-f680-11e0-9381-00144feab49a.html
|url=missing title (help).
- Nuala Haughey (28 November 2010). The National http://www.thenational.ae/thenational/news/world/irish-protest-against-austerity-cuts
|url=missing title (help).
- T. Banchoff (28 June 1999). Legitimacy and the European Union. Taylor & Francis. pp. 127–. ISBN 978-0-415-18188-4. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- George A. Kourvetaris; Andreas Moschonas (1996). The Impact of European Integration: Political, Sociological, and Economic Changes. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 208–. ISBN 978-0-275-95356-0. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- Margaret Scanlan (30 March 2006). Culture And Customs of Ireland. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 74–. ISBN 978-0-313-33162-6. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- Ian Budge; David Robertson; Derek Hearl (9 July 1987). Ideology, Strategy and Party Change: Spatial Analyses of Post-War Election Programmes in 19 Democracies. Cambridge University Press. pp. 137–. ISBN 978-0-521-30648-5. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- Ó Dónaill, Niall (1977). In (advisory ed. Tomás de Bhaldraithe). Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla (in Irish). Dublin: An Gúm. pp. 512, 540. ISBN 1-85791-037-0.
- "Micheal Martin elected as eighth leader of Fianna Fail". The Irish Times. 26 January 2011.
- "Cowen re OECD agenda". Fianna Fail Website.
- Recapturing relevance a huge challenge for FF
- Angry electorate coldly voted to liquidate Fianna Fáil
- Politics and Clientelism in Urban Ireland: Information, reputation, and brokerage, Lee Komito 1985 University Microfilms International 8603660 "The only exception was Neil Blaney in Donegal. Blaney had a very strong personal following in Donegal and, perhaps most importantly, was able to claim that it was everyone who remained in Fianna Fail that had actually departed from party ideals. In nationalist Donegal, the claim that he represented the true Fianna Fail seemed effective."
- Michael White (25 February 2011). "Irish general election turns into slanging match with parties divided". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
- "'Fianna Fáil has lost the local knowledge. The grassroots are not being listened to'". Irish Times. 27 August 2011.
- (Benoit and Laver, 2003; 2005; Gilland Lutz, 2003)
- Kevin Byrne Eoin O'Malley. 2012. Politics with Hidden Bases: unearthing party system's deep roots. British Journal Of Politics And International Relations, 14, 4, pp613-629.
- Speech by the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party meeting[dead link]
- "FF officially recognised in Northern Ireland". RTÉ. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
- "Fianna Fáil 'will organise in NI'". bbc.co.uk. 17 September 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
- "Ritchie reiterates SDLP key objectives at Labour Party Conference". Sdlp.ie. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
- "Fianna Fail confirms UUP recruit". BBC News. 23 February 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- "Fianna Fail accepted as NI party". BBC News. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- "Full Text: Taoiseach Brian Cowen at the official Opening of 72nd Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis – Part 1", Fianna Fáil website, posted 27 February 2009
- Andrew Willis (29 October 2009). "http://euobserver.com/9/28912". Euobserver.com. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
- Voting behaviour in the new European Parliament: the first six months, EP7, 1st Semester: July–December 2009, votewatch.eu
- "Donegal SW by-election set for 25 November". RTÉ News. 4 November 2010.
Further reading 
- Joe Ambrose (2006) Dan Breen and the IRA, Douglas Village, Cork : Mercier Press, 223 p., ISBN 1-85635-506-3
- Bruce Arnold (2001) Jack Lynch: Hero in Crisis, Dublin : Merlin, 250p. ISBN 1-903582-06-7
- Tim Pat Coogan (1993) De Valera : long fellow, long shadow, London : Hutchinson, 772 p., ISBN 0-09-175030-X
- Joe Joyce and Peter Murtagh (1983) The Boss: Charles J. Haughey in government, Swords, Dublin : Poolbeg Press, 400 p., ISBN 0-905169-69-7
- F.S.L. Lyons (1985) Ireland Since the Famine, 2nd rev. ed., London : FontanaPress, 800 p., ISBN 0-00-686005-2
- Dorothy McCardle (1968) The Irish Republic. A documented chronicle of the Anglo-Irish conflict and the partitioning of Ireland, with a detailed account of the period 1916–1923, etc., 989 p., ISBN 0-552-07862-X
- T. Ryle Dwyer (2001) Nice fellow : a biography of Jack Lynch, Cork : Mercier Press, 416 p., ISBN 1-85635-368-0
- T. Ryle Dwyer (1999) Short fellow : a biography of Charles J. Haughey, Dublin : Marino, 477 p., ISBN 1-86023-100-4
- T. Ryle Dwyer, (1997) Fallen Idol : Haughey's controversial career, Cork : Mercier Press, 191 p., ISBN 1-85635-202-1
- Raymond Smith (1986) Haughey and O'Malley : The quest for power, Dublin : Aherlow, 295 p., ISBN 1-870138-00-7
- Tim Ryan (1994) Albert Reynolds : the Longford leader : the unauthorised biography, Dublin : Blackwater Press, 226 p., ISBN 0-86121-549-4
- Dick Walsh (1986) The Party: Inside Fianna Fáil, Dublin : Gill & Macmillan, 161 p., ISBN 0-7171-1446-5
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