Electoral competition in Ireland since 1987

The politics of triumph and despair

Author: Gary Murphy

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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‘The best and most complete political synthesis of the era.'
Gerard Howlin
The Sunday Times Ireland
May 2016

‘What he successfully does is tie together the political events and personalities behind events in a 25-year period. The result leaves the reader with a genuinely good knowledge of what happened in politics and is certainly an encouragement to delve further into more detailed accounts.'
Brian Hayes
Irish Times
June 2016

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