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One Party Dominance: Fianna Fáil and Irish Politics, 1926-2016

One Party Dominance: Fianna Fáil and Irish Politics, 1926-2016

Micheál Martin, the leader of Fianna Fáil, delivered a speech last Wednesday at the launch of a book on Fianna Fáil edited by Eoin O’Malley of the School of Law and Government and Seán McGraw of the University of Notre Dame. At the launch in the Merrion Hotel, DCU President, Prof. Brian MacCraith introduced Mr. Martin as an activist and reforming Minister for Education, and entertained the assembly with a story of his own family's loyalty to Fianna Fáil. 

Mr Martin welcomed the book One Party Dominance: Fianna Fáil and Irish Politics, 1926-2016, published by Routledge, noting that  

"In spite of Fianna Fáil’s prominence since 1926 there are surprisingly few books about the party written from an independent perspective.  In many ways this publication shows how much we have to gain by paying more attention to academic political science."

The book seeks to explain how Fianna Fáil managed to dominate the Irish political landscape for so long, noting that it was its dominance and durability, not its demise in 2011 that needs to be explained. To do that the authors look at a number of ways in which Fianna Fáil pragmatically adapted its organisation, its communications and its ideology to suit the changes in Irish society. 

For the Fianna Fáil leader, this should come as no surprise. For

"this core idea of being responsive was the very reason why the party was founded.  Our founders believed that simply sitting around and basking in ideological consistency benefitted no one and was causing real harm.  Lemass and his colleagues were willing to question whether policies appropriate to the 1930s should still be in place in the 1960s and acted accordingly."

Eoin O'Malley, introducing the book, said that though Fianna Fáil was one of the most successful political parties in the democratic world, on some metric it might be thought a failure. Of the goals it set out at its foundation, none were achieved. Reflecting that pragmatism at the heart of Fianna Fail and its endurance, the party changed the goals, making them more relevant for changed circumstances.

The full text of Micheál Martin's speech is available here:

29th January, 2018