Irish Government in Turmoil

The Dáil chambers in Dublin, empty.

By Julia Brodsky, Editorial Assistant
April / May 2016

The March 10th election of the Irish Parliament’s, called the Dáil, failed to decide on a new Taoiseach, despite four candidates facing the vote: Enda Kenny, Fine Gael, the majority, center-left party leader and current Prime Minister; Fianna Fáil, the majority center-right party, leader Míchaél Martin; Sinn Féin, the Irish Republican party, president, Gerry Adams; and Richard Boyd Barrett, from the Anti-Austerity Alliance – People Before Profit Party. Not one of the four TDs managed to earn a majority vote from the 158-seat parliament to secure leadership.

The leftist Labour Party, Fine Gael’s former minority partner in the last administration, has gone from 33 to seven seats in the Dáil, meaning the party no longer plays a significant role the formation of the next government.

Though Kenny has officially tendered his resignation, he and his ministers will remain in office custodially until a new government forms.

Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, among others, have urged Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to put aside their differences and form an alliance, which may be the only action that could prevent economic stagnation, the like of which was seen in Spain, when a similar political stalemate caused the unemployment rate to skyrocket. The two parties trace their enmity to the Irish Civil War, when Fianna Fáil, founded by Éamon de Valera, rejected the Anglo-Irish treaty, and Fine Gael supported it.

As of press time, unless Fianna Fail and Fine Gael reach an agreement, another election is likely to be scheduled for May. ♦

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