Ireland - Political parties

Party descriptions and CMP left-right scores
Party Type 92 97 02 07 Average
FG Christian Democrat 9.7 8.9 -9.3 -9.7 -0.1
LP Social Democratic -14.6 -6 -22.3 -18.7 -15.4
FF Conservative -3.4 4.8 -6.2 -11.2 -4
SF Special Issue -26.1 -26.1 -13.7 -22
GP Ecologist -11 -14.2 -30.5 -21.1 -19.2
NV -

The table shows the periodical scores on left-right position as given in the Comparative Manifesto Project (Volkens, Andrea,, 2010). The scores range from -100 (left) to +100 (right).

Type: Tentative grouping of political parties and alliances based on information provided in the Comparative Manifesto Project and from party descriptions in Europa World Yearbook, Encyclopædia Britannica and in election reports from the European Journal of Political Research and/or Electoral Studies.

FG - Family of the Irish - (Fine Gael)

Fine Gael was founded in September 1933 in the amalgamation of the Society of Gaels, the party of William Thomas Cosgrave, first president of the Irish Free State. The Society of Gaels represented the supporters of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. Although its roots lay in the controversy surrounding the “national question,” Fine Gael was essentially a conservative party whose raison d'être was to oppose Fianna Fáil. By the end of the century the party considered itself a member of Europe's Christian Democratic family—an economically interventionist, centrist party committed to the market economy, social responsibility, and strong support for European integration. Its nationalism was more moderate than that of Fianna Fáil.

LP - The Irish Labour Party - (Páirtí an Lucht Oibre)

The forerunner of the Labour Party, the Irish Labour Party and Trades Union Congress, was organized in 1912 by union leaders James Connolly and James Larkin and formally established as an independent party in March 1930, when it was renamed the Labour Party. A cautious, conservative, and surprisingly rural party considering its origins in the trade union movement, the Labour Party moved leftward in the 1960s, when it started to reflect the mainstream of European social democracy. The party advocated liberalization of laws on divorce and contraception, an active role for the state in managing the economy, and a moderate position (between those of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael) on the question of eventual unification with Northern Ireland. Originally opposed to membership in the European Economic Community (now EU), which Ireland joined in 1973, the party gradually modified its stance and advocated a “yes” vote.

FF - Soldiers of Destiny - (Fianna Fáil)

Constituted in May 1926, Fianna Fáil comprised opponents of the Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921) that had brought the Irish Free State into existence. The antitreaty republicans, known from 1925 as Fianna Fáil, were organized and led by Eamon de Valera. In 1932 de Valera became prime minister, and the party's nationalism and its organizational ability, together with the fragmentation of the opposition, enabled it to dominate Irish politics for the following 42 years. Fianna Fáil governed as a single party until 1973, when the advent of a coalition government of the Fine Gael party and Labour signaled the onset of greater competition. The party's ideology has some enduring aspects, notably a commitment to Irish unity, to the Irish language, and to neutrality, though these commitments are essentially aspirational and occasionally merely rhetorical. Generally, the party has been pragmatically cautious on most issues. It has broadly supported an interventionist approach to economic management and, particularly in recent years, has sought agreement on economic policy among major economic interest groups. Socially radical and redistributive in its early years, it soon became more conservative.

SF - We Ourselves - (Sinn Féin)

A political wing of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). Sinn Féin, organized in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, is a nationalist party in Northern Ireland, representing Roman Catholics who want to achieve a united Ireland through whatever means are necessary, including violence. Sinn Féin seeks the unification of the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland and the six counties of Northern Ireland in a democratic-socialist Irish republic.

GP - The Green party - (Comhaontas Glas)

Founded in 1981, as the Ecology Party, to promote an environmental agenda in the Republic of Ireland. Renamed Green Alliance in 1983. Ion 1988 it changed its name again to its current designation to make clear that it was a political party, and in 1989 it achieved its first major success, winning a seat to the Dáil for South Dublin. The party's central concerns have been environmental protection through the conservation of scarce resources and the decentralization of power. The Greens also have opposed Ireland's membership in the European Union, mainly because of perceived threats to the country's traditional neutrality. In the 2007 elections the Green Party won six seats and subsequently joined the coalition government headed by Fianna Fáil; it was the first time the Greens had been in government.

NV - New Vision (independent)

Electoral alliance of independent candidates formed to contest in the 2011 general elections. One candidate was elected (in the constituency of Roscommon Leitrim South).

PBP - People Before Profit Alliance

Formed in 2005. Won two seats in the 2011 general election.

UL - United Left Alliance

Electoral alliance of left-wing political parties and independent candidates formed to contest the 2011 general election.

SP - The Socialist Party - (Páirtí Sóisialach)

SP is currently Ireland's only Marxist organisation with electoral representation in Dáil Éireann. It is affiliated to the Trotskyist Committee for a Workers' International (CWI). Formerly known as Militant Labour, then Militant Tendency, it adopted the name the Socialist Party in 1996.


Political Organizations (Ireland). 2009. In Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Bergen. Retrieved October 2009.

Ireland, political parties. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved November 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.

European Journal of Political Research (European Consortium for Political Research), reports on Ireland.

Budge, I.; Klingemann, H.-D.; Volkens, A.; Bara, J.; Tanenbaum, E., with Fording, R.C.; Hearl, D.J.; Kim, H.M.; McDonald, M. and Mendez, S. (2001). Mapping Policy Preferences. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments 1945-1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Klingemann, H.D.; Volkens, A.; Bara, J.; Budge, I.; McDonald, M. (2006). Mapping Policy Preferences II. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments in Eastern Europe, the European Union and the OECD, 1990-2003. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Volkens, Andrea; Lacewell, Onawa; Regel, Sven; Schultze, Henrike; Werner, Annika (2010): The Manifesto Data Collection. Manifesto Project (MRG/CMP/MARPOR), Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB):