Kieran Allen
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The Irish political elite
in Are the Irish different?
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The political elite itself plays a key role in the management of discontent and the Irish political elite have displayed some skill in diffusing mobilisation. Corporatism became the hallmark of Irish political management after an export-orientated strategy was embarked upon as the key to economic success. The Irish political system had historically been shaped by the domination of Fianna Fáil, which was one of the most successful political parties in Western democracies. The Fianna Fáil project of national economic development laid the foundation for the hegemony that the wider political elite achieved over Irish society. The shift from Fianna Fáil to Fine Gael had coincided with important cultural changes in the lifestyle of the Irish rich. Before the Celtic Tiger, the flaunting of wealth and social privilege was regarded as inappropriate.

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