Fianna Fáil: Past and Present


  • Alan Byrne


Fianna Fáil were the dominant politicalparty in Ireland from their first term in governmentin the 1930s up until their disastrous2011 election. The party managed toenjoy large support from the working class,as well as court close links with the richestpeople in Irish society. Often describedas more of a ‘national movement’ than aparty, their popular support base has nowplummeted. As this article goes to print,the party (officially in opposition but enablinga Fine Gael government) is pollingat 26% approval.1 How did a party whichemerged from the losing side of the civil warcome to dominate Irish political life so thoroughly?This article aims to trace the historyof the party, analyse their unique brandof populist politics as well as their relationshipwith Irish capitalism and the workingclass.