Fine Gael

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Fine Gael
Leader Leo Varadkar TD
Deputy Leader Simon Coveney TD
Chairman Martin Heydon TD
Seanad Leader Senator Jerry Buttimer
President Leo Varadkar
Founder W. T. Cosgrave,
Frank MacDermot,
Eoin O'Duffy
Founded8 September 1933 (1933-09-08)
Merger of
Headquarters51 Upper Mount Street,
Dublin 2, D02 W924, Ireland
Youth wing Young Fine Gael
LGBT+ wingFine Gael LGBT
Membership (2017)Increase2.svg 21,000 [1]
Ideology
Political position Centre [8] to centre-right [7] [9] [10] [11]
European affiliation European People's Party
International affiliation Centrist Democrat International
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colours     Blue
SloganBuilding a Republic of Opportunity
Taking Ireland Forward Together
Dáil Éireann
35 / 160
Seanad Éireann
12 / 60
European Parliament [nb 1]
5 / 13
Local government
255 / 949
Website
finegael.ie

Fine Gael ( /ˌfnəˈɡl,ˌfɪn-/ Fɪ-nə GAYL, FIN-ə -, [12] [13] Irish:  [ˌfʲɪnʲə ˈɡeːl̪ˠ] ; English: "Family (or Tribe) of the Irish") is a liberal-conservative [2] [3] political party in Ireland. Fine Gael is currently the third-largest party in Ireland in terms of members of the Oireachtas [14] [15] and largest in terms of Irish members of the European Parliament. [16] The party has a membership of 21,000. [17] From 2016 to 2020 Fine Gael was the senior partner governing in a minority coalition with several independent politicians, with party leader Leo Varadkar serving as Taoiseach. Varadkar succeeded Enda Kenny as party leader on 2 June 2017 and as Taoiseach on 14 June; Kenny had been leader since 2002, and Taoiseach since 2011. [18] [19] [20] [21]

Contents

Fine Gael was founded on 8 September 1933 [22] following the merger of its parent party Cumann na nGaedheal, the National Centre Party and the National Guard. Its origins lie in the struggle for Irish independence and the pro-Treaty side in the Irish Civil War and Michael Collins, in particular, is often identified as the founder of the movement. [23]

Fine Gael is generally considered to be more of a proponent of market liberalism than its traditional rival, Fianna Fáil. [24] Apart from brief minority governments (as in 1987), Fine Gael has rarely governed Ireland without a coalition that also included the Labour Party, a social-democratic, centre-left party. Fine Gael describes itself as a "party of the progressive centre" which it defines as acting "in a way that is right for Ireland, regardless of dogma or ideology". It lists its core values as "equality of opportunity, free enterprise and reward, security, integrity and hope." [25] [26] It is strongly in favour of the European Union and opposed to physical force Irish republicanism. The party's youth wing, Young Fine Gael, was formed in 1977, and has approximately four thousand members. [27] Fine Gael is a founding member of the European People's Party.

History

The following is a timeline of participation in governments and positions on proposed constitutional referenda: [28] [29] [30] [31] [32]

Logo of the party before April 2009. Fine Gael logo.svg
Logo of the party before April 2009.

Ideology and policies

The Fine Gael party has been described as liberal-conservative, [2] [3] [34] Christian-democratic, [5] [6] centre-right liberal, [7] conservative, [35] [36] and pro-European, [37] combining cultural conservatism and economic liberalism. [38]

Social policies

Fine Gael adopted the 'Just Society' policy statement in the 1960s, based on principles of social justice and equality. It was created by the emerging social democratic wing of the party, led by Declan Costello. The ideas expressed in the policy statement had a significant influence on the party in the years to come. [39]

While Fine Gael was traditionally socially conservative for most of the twentieth century due to the conservative Christian ethos of Irish society during this time, its members are variously influenced by social liberalism, social democracy and Christian democracy on issues of social policy. Under Garret FitzGerald, the party's more socially liberal, or pluralist, wing gained prominence. Proposals to allow divorce were put by referendum by two Fine Gael–led governments, in 1986 under FitzGerald, [40] and in 1995 under John Bruton, passing very narrowly on this second attempt. [41]

LGBT+ rights

Fine Gael supported civil unions for same-sex couples from 2003, voting for the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Bill 2010, and the party approved a motion at its 2012 Ard Fheis to prioritise the consideration of same-sex marriage in the upcoming constitutional convention. In 2013 party leader and Taoiseach Enda Kenny declared his support for same-sex marriage. The Fine Gael-led government held a referendum on the subject on 22 May 2015. The referendum passed, with the electorate voting to extend full marriage rights to same-sex couples, with 62.1% in favour and 37.9% opposed. The party has run advertisements in GCN (Gay Community News) advertising its commitments to same-sex couples.[ citation needed ]

In 2015, months before the marriage equality referendum, Leo Varadkar became the first Irish government minister to come out as gay. [42] In May 2019, former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh, was elected as a Fine Gael MEP for the Midlands-Northwest constituency in the 2019 European Parliament election, running alongside Mairéad McGuinness MEP. Walsh was Fine Gael's first openly lesbian candidate. [43] [44]

Fine Gael has an LGBT+ section, Fine Gael LGBT, and in 2017, Leo Varadkar became the first Taoiseach to march in Dublin's Pride Parade. [45]

Abortion

In 1983, having initially supported the proposal, Fine Gael came out in opposition to the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution that was being submitted in a referendum in 1983, which sought to introduce a constitutional prohibition on abortion. Under then leader and Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald it campaigned for a 'No' vote, arguing, on the advice of the Attorney General Peter Sutherland, that the wording, which had been drafted under the previous government, when analysed was ambiguous and open to many interpretations. [46] This referendum resulted in the Eighth Amendment to the Irish constitution, giving the unborn child a qualified [47] equal right to life to that of the mother. [48] Its stance conflicted with that of the Pro-Life Amendment Campaign (PLAC) and Catholic bishops, and Fianna Fáil, the largest party in the State at the time, but then in opposition.

The party also campaigned against the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution in 2002, which proposed to remove suicide as a grounds for granting a termination of a pregnancy. Suicide had been ruled as a ground, under the 8th amendment, in the X Case judgement of the Irish Supreme Court. The amendment was rejected by Irish voters. [49]

In 2013 it proposed, and supported, the enactment of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, which implemented in statute law the X case ruling of the Irish Supreme Court, granting access to a termination of a pregnancy where there is a real and substantial risk to the life, not the health, of the mother, including a threat of suicide. Five TDs & two Senators, including Minister of State Lucinda Creighton, lost the Fine Gael party whip for voting against the legislation. Creighton later left Fine Gael to found Renua [50] [51] The Act was criticised by various pro-life groups [52] and Catholic bishops, but supported by a majority of the electorate in opinion polls, with many indicating they wished to see a more liberal law on abortion. [53]

Enda Kenny's Fine Gael–led minority government took office after the 2016 election with a programme which promised a randomly selected Citizens' Assembly to report on possible changes to the Eighth Amendment, which would be considered by an Oireachtas committee, to whose report the government would respond officially in debates in both houses of the Oireachtas. Fine Gael Oireachtas members were promised a free vote on the issue. Leo Varadkar succeeded Enda Kenny as Taoiseach on 14 June 2017 and promised to hold a referendum on abortion in 2018. [54] Several Fine Gael TDs, notably Health Minister Simon Harris and Kate O'Connell, were prominent supporters of the pro-choice side before and during the referendum. While the party was divided, the majority of Fine Gael TDs and Senators, as well as most members, were in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment. A referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment was held on 25 May 2018 and was passed by 66.4% of voters.

Law and order party

Although Ireland's political spectrum was traditionally divided along Civil War lines, rather than the traditional European left–right spectrum, Fine Gael is described generally as a centre-right party, with a focus on law and order, enterprise and reward, and "fiscal rectitude". [55] As the descendant of the pro-Treaty factions in the Irish Civil War, Fine Gael has a strong affinity with Michael Collins and his legacy. He remains a symbol for the party, and the anniversary of his death is commemorated each year in August. [56]

Economic policies

Fine Gael has, since its inception, portrayed itself as a party of fiscal rectitude and minimal government interference in economics, advocating pro-enterprise policies. In that they followed the line of the previous pro-Treaty government that believed in minimal state intervention, low taxes and social expenditures. [57] Newly elected politicians for the party in the Dáil have strongly advocated liberal economic policies. Lucinda Creighton (who has since left the party) and Leo Varadkar in particular have been seen as strong advocates of a neoliberal approach to Ireland's economic woes and unemployment problems. [58] Varadkar in particular has been a strong proponent of small, indigenous business, advocating that smaller firms should benefit from the government's recapitalisation program. [59] Its former finance spokesman Richard Bruton's proposals have been seen as approaching problems from a pro-enterprise point of view. Its fairer budget website in 2011 suggested that its solutions are "tough but fair". [60] Other solutions conform generally to conservative governments' policies throughout Europe, focusing on cutting numbers in the public sector, while maintaining investment in infrastructure.

Fine Gael's proposals have sometimes been criticised mostly by smaller political groupings in Ireland, and by some of the trade unions, who have raised the idea that the party's solutions are more conscious of business interests than the interests of the worker. The SIPTU trade union has stated its opposition to the Taoiseach Enda Kenny's assertion, in response to Ireland's economic crisis, that the national wage agreement should be suspended. Kenny's comments had support however and the party attributes its significant rise in polls in 2008 to this. [61]

Fine Gael's Simon Coveney launched what the party termed a radical re-organisation of the Irish semi-state company sector. Styled the New Economy and Recovery Authority (or NewERA), Coveney said that it is an economic stimulus plan that will "reshape the Irish economy for the challenges of the 21st century". [62] Requiring an €18.2 billion investment in Energy, Communications and Water infrastructure over a four-year period, it was promoted as a way to enhance energy security and digital reputation of Ireland. A very broad ranging document, it proposed the combined management of a portfolio of semi-state assets, and the sale of all other, non-essential services. The release of equity through the sale of the various state resources, including electricity generation services belonging to the ESB, Bord na Móna and Bord Gáis, in combination with use of money in the National Pensions Reserve Fund, was Fine Gael's proposed funding source for its national stimulus package. [63]

The plan was seen at being the basis of a Fine Gael program for government. Seen as being the longer term contribution to Fine Gael's economic plan, it has been publicised in combination with a more short term policy proposal from Leo Varadkar. This document, termed "Hope for a Lost Generation", promises to bring 30,000 young Irish people off the Live Register in a year by combining a National Internship Program, a Second Chance Education Scheme, an Apprenticeship Guarantee and Community Work Program, as well as instituting a German style, Workshare program. [64]

Commentary on Fine Gael's economic proposals has generally been positive from some economic commentators including Eddie Hobbs and David McWilliams who have praised the proposals stating that they have considerable potential. The Labour Party has launched policies which are seen to be broadly consistent with the FG platform. [65]

Constitutional reform policies

Fine Gael is seen as being a constitutional party, with members and public representatives always showing considerable deference to the institutional organs of the Irish state. The party leadership has been eager to be seen to engage in an ongoing constitutional debate in Ireland on the topic of political reform.[ citation needed ] The debate which has been monitored by the Irish Times in its Renewing the Republic opinion pieces, has largely centred on the make up of the Oireachtas, the Irish parliament. Fine Gael's Phil Hogan TD, now a European Commissioner, has published the party's proposals for political and constitutional reform. In a policy document entitled New Politics, Hogan suggested creating a country with "a smaller, more dynamic and more responsive political system," reducing the size of the Dáil by 20, changing the way the Dáil works, and in a controversial move, abolishing the Irish senate, Seanad Éireann. [66]

Aiming to carry out the parties proposals through a series of constitutional referendums, the proposals were echoed by then Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, when he proposed his own constitutional "crusade" at his 2010 party conference, shortly after. [67]

Health policies

The Irish health system, being administered centrally by the Health Service Executive, is seen to be poor by comparison to other countries in Europe, ranking outside expected levels at 25th according to the Euro Health Consumer Index 2006. [68]

Fine Gael wants Ireland to break with the system of private health insurance, public medical cards and what it calls the two tiers of the health system and has launched a campaign to see the system reformed. Speaking in favour of the campaign, Fine Gael then health spokesman James Reilly stated "Over the last 10 years the health service has become a shambles. We regularly have over 350 people on trolleys in A&E, waiting lists that go on for months, outpatient waiting lists that go on for years and cancelled operations across the country..." [69]

Fine Gael launched its FairCare campaign and website in April 2009, which stated that the health service would be reformed away from a costly ineffective endeavour, into a publicly regulated system where compulsory universal health insurance would replace the existing provisions. [70]

This strategy was criticised by Fianna Fáil's then Minister for Children, Barry Andrews. The spokesperson for family law and children, Alan Shatter TD, robustly defended its proposals as the only means of reducing public expenditure, and providing a service in Ireland more akin to the Canadian, German, Dutch and Austrian health systems.

Pro-Europeanism

Fine Gael is among the most pro-European integration parties in Ireland, having supported the European Constitution, [71] the Lisbon Treaty, and advocating participation in European common defence. [72] Under Enda Kenny, the party questioned Irish neutrality, with Kenny claiming that "the truth is, Ireland is not neutral. We are merely unaligned." [71] The party's youth wing, Young Fine Gael, passed a motion in 2016 calling on the government to apply for membership of NATO.

Since Brexit, Fine Gael has taken a strong pro-European stance, stating that Ireland's place is 'at the heart of Europe'. In government, the party has launched the 'Global Ireland' plan to develop alliances with other small countries across Europe and the world. [73]

European affiliations

Fine Gael is a founding member of the European People's Party (EPP), the largest European political party comprising liberal conservative and Christian democratic national-level parties from across Europe. Fine Gael's MEPs sit with the EPP Group in the European Parliament, and FG parliamentarians also sit with the EPP Groups in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Committee of the Regions. Young Fine Gael is a member of the Youth of the European People's Party (YEPP).

It is inferred from Fine Gael's relationship to European counterparts via membership of the European People's Party that FG belongs on the centre-right. [74] [75] [76] The party conforms generally with European political parties that identify themselves as being Christian democratic. [77] Some younger parliamentarians are identified with the centre-right. The Irish Times supplement described front bench member Leo Varadkar TD as having explicitly centre-right views. [78]

Electoral performance

At the 2011 general election, Fine Gael gained 25 seats bringing them to a total of 76. The party ran candidates in all 43 constituencies, and had candidates elected in every constituency except Dublin North-West.

Fine Gael won 19 seats in Seanad Éireann following the 2011 election, a gain of four from the previous election in 2007.

At the 2009 Local elections held on 5 June 2009, Fine Gael won 556 seats, surpassing Fianna Fáil which won 407 seats, and making Fine Gael the largest party of local government nationally. [79] They gained 88 seats from their 2004 result.

At 2009 European Parliament election held on the same day as the Local elections, which saw a reduction in the number seats from 13 to 12 for Ireland, the party won four seats, retaining the largest number of seats of an Irish party in the European Parliament. This was a loss of one seat from its 2004 result. [80]

While Fine Gael was responsible for the initial nomination of the uncontested, first President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde, a Fine Gael candidate has never won an election to the office of president. The most recent Fine Gael presidential candidate, Gay Mitchell, finished fourth in the 2011 presidential election, with 6.4% of the vote. [81] In 2004, Fine Gael supported the re-election of President Mary McAleese.

In the 2016 general election the outgoing government consisting of Fine Gael and its partner the Labour Party was defeated. The previous government had the largest majority in the history of the state with a combined 113 seats out of the 166-seat Dáil Éireann. The aftermath of the general election resulted in months of negotiations for an agreement of government. A deal was reached with the main opposition and traditional rival Fianna Fáil to facilitate a minority Fine Gael-led government. Fine Gael now governs Ireland alone with eight Independent members of the Dáil.

Planning and payment tribunals

The Moriarty Tribunal has sat since 1997 and has investigated the granting of a mobile phone license to Esat Telecom by Michael Lowry when he was Fine Gael Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications in the Rainbow Coalition of the mid-1990s. Lowry resigned from the Cabinet after it was revealed at the Moriarty Tribunal that businessman Ben Dunne had paid for an IR£395,000 extension to Lowry's County Tipperary home. Lowry, now an independent TD, supported the Fianna FáilGreen Party government in Dáil Éireann until March 2011.

It was also revealed in December 1996 that Fine Gael had received some £180,000 from Ben Dunne in the period 1987 to 1993. This was composed of £100,000 in 1993, £50,000 in 1992 and £30,000 in 1989. In addition, Michael Noonan received £3,000 in 1992 towards his election campaign, Ivan Yates received £5,000, Michael Lowry received £5,000 and Sean Barrett received £1,000 in the earlier 1987 election. John Bruton said he had received £1,000 from Dunne in 1982 towards his election campaign, and Dunne had also given £15,000 to the Labour Party during the 1990 Presidential election campaign. [82]

Following revelations at the Moriarty Tribunal on 16 February 1999, in relation to Charles Haughey and his relationship with AIB, former Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald confirmed that AIB and Ansbacher wrote off debts of almost £200,000 that he owed in 1993, when he was in financial difficulties because of the collapse of the aircraft leasing company, GPA, in which he was a shareholder. The write-off occurred after Dr Fitzgerald left politics and Dr. Fitzgerald also said he believed his then Fine Gael colleague, Peter Sutherland, who was chairman of AIB at the time, was unaware of the situation. [83]

Leadership

The current leader of the Fine Gael party is Leo Varadkar, who, as well as being Ireland's youngest ever Taoiseach and is the country's first openly gay leader. The position of deputy leader has been held since 2017 by Simon Coveney TD, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Party leader

The following are the terms of office as party leader and as Taoiseach (bolded) if applicable:

LeaderPortraitPeriodConstituencyPeriods in office (if Taoiseach)
Eoin O'Duffy Eoin O'Duffy.png 1933–1934None [84]
W. T. Cosgrave William Thomas Cosgrave.jpg 1934–1944 Carlow–Kilkenny
Richard Mulcahy Gen. Richard Mulcahy LCCN2014717121.jpg 1944–1959 [85] [86] Tipperary John A. Costello [87] 19481951; 19541957
(Government of the 13th Dáil and 15th Dáil)
James Dillon James Dillon circa 1930s.jpg 1959–1965 Monaghan
Liam Cosgrave Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave-Patricks Day 1976.jpg 1965–1977 Dún Laoghaire 19731977
(Government of the 20th Dáil)
Garret FitzGerald Garret FitzGerald 1975 (cropped).jpg 1977–1987 Dublin South-East 1981Feb 1982; Nov 19821987
(Government of the 22nd Dáil and 24th Dáil)
Alan Dukes No image.png 1987–1990 Kildare South
John Bruton John Bruton 2011.jpg 1990–2001 Meath 1994–1997
(Government of the 27th Dáil)
Michael Noonan Michael Noonan.jpg 2001–2002 Limerick East
Enda Kenny Enda Kenny EPP 2014 (cropped).jpg 2002–2017 Mayo 2011–2017
(Government of the 31st Dáil and 32nd Dáil)
Leo Varadkar Tallinn Digital Summit. Handshake Leo Varadkar and Juri Ratas (36679163084) (cropped).jpg 2017–present Dublin West 2017–present
(Government of the 32nd Dáil)

Deputy leader

NamePeriodConstituency
Tom O'Higgins 1972–1977 Dublin County South
Peter Barry 1977–1987 Cork South-Central
John Bruton 1987–1990 Meath
Peter Barry 1991–1993 Cork South-Central
Nora Owen 1993–2001 Dublin North
Jim Mitchell 2001–2002 Dublin Central
Richard Bruton 2002–2010 Dublin North-Central
James Reilly 2010–2017 Dublin North
Simon Coveney 2017–present Cork South-Central

Seanad leader

NamePeriodPanel
Michael J. O'Higgins 1973–1977 Nominated member of Seanad Éireann
Patrick Cooney 1977–1981 Cultural and Educational Panel
Gemma Hussey 1981–1982 National University of Ireland
James Dooge 1982–1987 National University of Ireland
Maurice Manning 1987–2002 Cultural and Educational Panel
Brian Hayes 2002–2007 Cultural and Educational Panel
Michael Finucane 2007 (acting) Labour Panel
Frances Fitzgerald 2007–2011 Labour Panel
Maurice Cummins 2011–2016 Labour Panel
Jerry Buttimer 2016–present Labour Panel

General election results

ElectionSeats won±PositionFirst Pref votes%GovernmentLeader
1937
48 / 138
Decrease2.svg11 [88] Steady2.svg2nd461,17134.8%Official Opposition W. T. Cosgrave
1938
45 / 138
Decrease2.svg3Steady2.svg2nd428,63333.3%Official OppositionW. T. Cosgrave
1943
32 / 138
Decrease2.svg12Steady2.svg2nd307,49023.1%Official OppositionW. T. Cosgrave
1944
30 / 138
Decrease2.svg2Steady2.svg2nd249,32920.5%Official Opposition Richard Mulcahy
1948
31 / 147
Increase2.svg1Steady2.svg2nd262,39319.8%Minority Coalition Government

(FG-LP-CnP-CnT-NLP)

Richard Mulcahy
1951
40 / 147
Increase2.svg9Steady2.svg2nd349,92227.2%Official OppositionRichard Mulcahy
1954
50 / 147
Increase2.svg10Steady2.svg2nd427,03132.0%Coalition Government

(FG-LP-CnT)

Richard Mulcahy
1957
40 / 147
Decrease2.svg10Steady2.svg2nd326,69926.6%Official OppositionRichard Mulcahy
1961
47 / 144
Increase2.svg7Steady2.svg2nd374,09932.0%Official Opposition James Dillon
1965
47 / 144
Steady2.svgSteady2.svg2nd427,08134.1%Official OppositionJames Dillon
1969
50 / 144
Increase2.svg3Steady2.svg2nd449,74934.1%Official Opposition Liam Cosgrave
1973
54 / 144
Increase2.svg4Steady2.svg2nd473,78135.1%Coalition Government

(FG-LP)

Liam Cosgrave
1977
43 / 148
Decrease2.svg11Steady2.svg2nd488,76730.5%Official OppositionLiam Cosgrave
1981
65 / 166
Increase2.svg22Steady2.svg2nd626,37636.5%Minority Coalition Government

(FG-LP)

Garret FitzGerald
1982 (Feb)
63 / 166
Decrease2.svg2Steady2.svg2nd621,08837.3%Official OppositionGarret FitzGerald
1982 (Nov)
70 / 166
Increase2.svg7Steady2.svg2nd662,28439.2%Coalition Government

(FG-LP)

Garret FitzGerald
1987
51 / 166
Decrease2.svg19Steady2.svg2nd481,12727.1%Official OppositionGarret FitzGerald
1989
55 / 166
Increase2.svg4Steady2.svg2nd485,30729.3%Official Opposition Alan Dukes
1992
45 / 166
Decrease2.svg10Steady2.svg2nd422,10624.5%Official Opposition

(until December 1994)

John Bruton
Minority Coalition Government

(FG-LP-DL) (from December 1994)

1997
54 / 166
Increase2.svg9Steady2.svg2nd499,93627.9%Official OppositionJohn Bruton
2002
31 / 166
Decrease2.svg23Steady2.svg2nd417,61922.5%Official Opposition Michael Noonan
2007
51 / 166
Increase2.svg20Steady2.svg2nd564,42827.3%Official Opposition Enda Kenny
2011
76 / 166
Increase2.svg25Increase2.svg1st801,62836.1%Coalition Government

(FG-LP)

Enda Kenny
2016
50 / 158
Decrease2.svg26Steady2.svg1st544,41025.5%Minority government

(Confidence & Supply from FF)

Enda Kenny
2020 [89]
35 / 160
Decrease2.svg15Decrease2.svg3rd455,56820.9%TBD Leo Varadkar

Front bench

Young Fine Gael

Young Fine Gael (YFG) is the youth movement of Fine Gael. It was founded in 1976 by the then leader Garret FitzGerald. It caters for young people under 35 with an interest in Fine Gael and politics, in cities, towns and third level colleges throughout Ireland. YFG has 4,000 members nationwide. [90] YFG is led by its national executive consisting of ten members elected on a regional basis, and on a national panel.

See also

Notes

  1. Fine Gael had 5 MEPS elected at the 2019 European Parliament election. Deirdre Clune, the fifth candidate elected for South, did not take her seat until the UK left the EU and its MEPs vacated their seats.

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The Convention on the Constitution was established in Ireland in 2012 to discuss proposed amendments to the Constitution of Ireland. More commonly called simply the Constitutional Convention, it met for the first time 1 December 2012 and sat until 31 March 2014. It had 100 members: a chairman; 29 members of the Oireachtas (parliament); four representatives of Northern Ireland political parties; and 66 randomly selected citizens of Ireland.

The Thirty-second Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2013 was a proposal to amend the Constitution of Ireland to abolish Seanad Éireann, the upper house of the Irish parliament, the Oireachtas. The proposal was rejected by the electorate in a referendum on 4 October 2013 by 51.7% voting against to 48.3% in favour.

The government of Ireland held referendums on 22 May 2015 on two proposed amendments to the Constitution of Ireland which had been recommended by the Constitutional Convention. The amendment to permit same-sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland was approved by 62%-38% of the voters. The other amendment would have reduced the age of candidacy for the President of Ireland from 35 to 21, but voters rejected it by 73%-27%. A Dáil by-election in Carlow–Kilkenny was held on the same day. Other amendments were considered but not proceeded with, including reducing the voting age from 18 to 16, and sanctioning the establishment of a Unified Patent Court.

Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2015 To reduce the minimum age of candidacy for the office of President from 35 to 21

The Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2015 was a proposed amendment to the constitution of Ireland to reduce the minimum age of candidacy for the office of President of Ireland from 35 to 21. The bill was introduced to the Oireachtas in January 2015 by the Fine Gael–Labour government, after which both houses of the Oireachtas passed the bill. The bill was rejected by the electorate in a referendum on 22 May 2015 by 73.1% against to 26.9% in favour. This was the largest losing margin of any referendum in Ireland.

This is a list of the members elected to the 32nd Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas (legislature) of Ireland. These TDs were elected at the 2016 general election on 26 February. That general election took place throughout the state to elect 158 members of Dáil Éireann, a reduction of 8 from the prior number of 166. This followed the passing of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2013.

There were two Governments of the 32nd Dáil, which was elected at the general election held on 26 February 2016. The 30th Government of Ireland was led by Enda Kenny as Taoiseach and the 31st Government of Ireland was led by Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach. They were minority governments with Fine Gael and Independent TDs at cabinet, reliant on the support of other Independent TDs, and a confidence and supply arrangement with Fianna Fáil. It was the first time Fine Gael had returned to government after a general election, and the succession of Varadkar as Taoiseach in 2017 was the first time a Fine Gael leader had succeeded a party colleague as Taoiseach within a Dáil term.

2020 Irish general election Irish general election

The 2020 Irish general election took place on Saturday 8 February, to elect the 33rd Dáil Éireann, the lower house of Ireland's parliament. All but one of the 160 seats were contested, with the Ceann Comhairle (speaker) being returned automatically. The members, Teachtaí Dála (TDs), were elected by single transferable vote from all of the multi-member constituencies. The election was called following the dissolution of the 32nd Dáil by the president, at the request of the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, on 14 January 2020. It was the first election since 1918 to be held on a weekend.

The events surrounding the formation of Ireland's government in 2016 took place during March, April and May of that year, following the general election held on 26 February, which failed to produce an overall majority for any of the country's outgoing political alliances and resulted in a hung parliament.

2017 Fine Gael leadership election

The 2017 Fine Gael leadership election was triggered in May 2017, when Enda Kenny resigned as party leader. Voting began by members of Fine Gael and Young Fine Gael on 29 May 2017. On 2 June Leo Varadkar was announced as the victor, beating rival Simon Coveney. With Fine Gael being the governing party at the time, this election effectively appointed a new Taoiseach for Ireland.

Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland Amendment to the constitution of Ireland

The Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland is an amendment to the constitution of Ireland which permits the Oireachtas to legislate for abortion. The constitution had previously prohibited abortion unless there was a serious risk to the life of the mother.

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