Fianna Fáil was for most of the 20th century the democratic world’s most successful political party. It dominated the politics of Ireland from 1932, when it first took power, until 2011 when it became a prominent electoral victim of the Great Recession.
This book provides original research that explains how Fianna Fáil became dominant and managed its coalitions of support to maintain that position for eight decades. It gathers prominent political scientists who focus on a variety of factors including its ideological flexibility, control of state resources and the venue for decision making, the party’s leadership, its organisation and communications strategies. In addition the book takes a comparative approach to understanding the position of dominant parties in democratic countries, and uses empirical data to understand the sources of its support and decline.
It is a book that will be of interest not only to scholars of Ireland, but also to those who wish to understand the sources of power of dominant political parties and the impact of the Great Recession on democratic politics.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Irish Political Studies.
Table of Contents
Fianna Fáil: the glue of ambiguity Eoin O’Malley & Sean McGraw A natural governing party: Fianna Fáil in comparative perspective R. Kenneth Carty Fianna Fáil and the evolution of an ambiguous ideology Niamh Puirséil Fianna Fáil: the art of adaptive survival Sean McGraw From cartel party to traditional membership organisation: the organisational evolution of Fianna Fáil Nicole Bolleyer & Liam Weeks The leadership difference? Context and choice in Fianna Fáil’s party leadership Eoin O’Malley & Gary Murphy Fianna Fáil and the professionalisation of political communication in Ireland Kevin Rafter The decline of a dominant political monolith: understanding Fianna Fáil’s vote 1987–2016 Stephen Quinlan & Martin Okolikj
Sean McGraw is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, USA. His main research focuses on political parties and party systems and he also studies the politics of religion. His first book How Parties Win: Shaping the Irish Political Arena, addresses these themes in Ireland.
Eoin O’Malley is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University, Ireland. His main research is on government and leadership in Ireland. He is a columnist with Sunday Independent, Ireland’s most read newspaper.
'This book has something to say to all readers: Those interested in party dominance will learn a great deal from the exemplary case that is Fianna Fáil, and even the most hardened Irish politics anorak will discover intriguing stories and surprising facts in these pages.' - Professor David Farrell, Chair of Politics, University College, Dublin