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The politics of triumph and despair

The aim of this book is to assess the quarter century of political competition in the Republic of Ireland from the time of the ending of recession of the 1980s up to the 2011 general election where Ireland was ruled by the Troika and austerity was a by-word for both policy making and how many people lived their lives. This book assesses in a thematic way the forces which shaped the decisions that political elites in Ireland took over the course of this crucial quarter century in modern Irish life. It examines the nature of electoral competition in modern Ireland by focusing on a number of key themes that shaped the decisions of Irish politicians. These include the nature of coalition politics in Ireland; the payments to politicians by developers and businessmen that led to a number of tribunals of inquiry; the culture wars over divorce and abortion; the process of the economic collapse to boom and back to collapse cycle that effected the lives of so many Irish people; and the collapse of Ireland’s natural party of government, Fianna Fáil. It analyses why Irish citizens have been comfortable in continuing to vote for traditional political elites despite the failures of the Irish state and explains why it has been so difficult for new parties to emerge.

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4 Party competition In its bid to account for the varying levels of electoral success of the parties of the extreme right across Western Europe, this book has so far examined the influence of party-centric factors. It has considered the impact of different types of extreme right party ideology on the right-wing extremist party vote and has also investigated the effects of party organization and leadership. In this chapter, the book turns to exploring the influence of contextual factors on the success of the right-wing extremist parties, and introduces another

in The extreme right in Western Europe
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The conservative revolutionaries

Central Bank in November 2010, the decision to seek and take access to an emergency fund was the culmination of a catastrophic collapse in the economy which saw the very survival of the Irish state at risk. The political aftershock of the fall of the Celtic Tiger and the threat to the sovereignty of the state would be the collapse of the Fianna Fáil–Green government in almost farcical circumstances in January 2011. The resultant general election would be the most 2 Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987 dramatic in Ireland since Fianna Fáil first came to power

in Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987
The case of New Labour

03c Globalisation 069-098 2/2/11 15:09 Page 69 3 Competition and change: the case of New Labour The ideological significance of the rise of New Labour and its conduct in office is often reduced to the question of whether the Labour Party abandoned social democracy and moved to ‘the right’, towards Thatcherism and neoliberalism. Yet the role of the idea of globalisation in these apparent changes – a concept largely absent from the discourses of the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s – has not been fully explored. This chapter examines the

in Globalisation and ideology in Britain
British policy integration

8 Competition and pressure: British policy integration Britain has sought to integrate environmental concerns into policy decision-making at all levels. To this end, the first environment white paper introduced two institutions which would ‘ensure that … environmental issues are fully weighed in decisions’. One was the Cabinet Committee for the Environment, chaired by the Prime Minister. This was later replaced by the Ministerial Committee on the Environment, chaired by the Leader of the House of Lords instead of the Prime Minister. The other was the

in Global warming policy in Japan and Britain
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The politics of Troika Ireland

Coughlan, Noel Dempsey, John O’Donoghue, Charlie McCreevy and Michael McDowell, who combined to ‘produce an oligarchy within Irish democracy from 1997 to 2011’ (Ó Riain, 2014: 230). In that context it was relatively easy for the electorate to punish Fianna Fáil at the 2011 election. Prior to the economic meltdown, political parties freed from strong ideological class-based identities had demonstrated ‘the flexibility to adjust readily to changing circumstances without risking loss of support’ (McGraw, 156 Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987 2008: 630). In

in Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987

’s chameleon nature was even more pronounced. It offered itself as the party of the developer class; of the ruthless 104 Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987 entrepreneurial class on the make; of the ambitious middle class who saw Dublin as the place to make their fortunes. Yet it also presented itself as the champion of both the urban and rural poor. Rural Ireland according to itself was safe in Fianna Fáil’s hands. Not the rural Ireland of the Fine Gaelers on tractors that Fianna Fáil was so contemptuous of but the rural Ireland of the small farmer, the labourer

in Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987

record, though Fianna Fáil insisted that these were in reality non-deals as the projects would go ahead in any event (O’Malley, 2008a: 210–11). Ahern had been thinking about life beyond a two-party coalition with the PDs for some time. A year prior to the election 130 Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987 the Taoiseach and his long-time Fianna Fáil compatriot Séamus Brennan had discussed the possibility of bringing the Greens into a future coalition, with Brennan telling Ahern that he thought the Greens would make good coalition partners and that they should

in Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987

following year another tribunal was established by the Dáil to explore allegations of political influence in the affairs of Locke’s Distillery, a whiskey firm in Westmeath, which was up for 54 Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987 sale and for which a foreign consortium, later exposed as a bunch of charlatans, had received support from the Department of Industry and Commerce (Collins and O’Shea, 2000: 22). Apart from demonstrating that the main proponent of the charges, Deputy Oliver J. Flanagan, had lied in the course of his evidence, after originally making

in Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987

constantly dismissing reports that he had received £30,000 in political donations during the 1989 general election campaign. However, in September 1997, Burke finally admitted having received such a figure in cash during the 1989 general election at a meeting in his home with two property development figures, one of whom he had never previously met. He 80 Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987 maintained that there was nothing unusual or sinister in this and that the money received was simply an election contribution of which he passed on £10,000 to Fianna Fáil

in Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987