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Fine Gael

Fine Gael
Fine Gael Comrades Association, popularly known as the "Blueshirts", a fascist organisation operating in 1930’s Ireland.[4] Its origins lie in the struggle for Irish independence and the proTreaty side in the Irish Civil War, identifying in particular Michael Collins as the founder of the movement.[5] Modern Fine Gael describes itself as the party of the "progressive centre"[6], with core values focussed on fiscal rectitude, free enterprise and reward, individual rights and responsibilities.[7] They are strongly pro-EU integration and opposed to violent Irish republicanism. Fine Gael is Ireland’s only party in the European People’s Party (EPP); its MEPs sit in the EPP-ED group. The party’s youth wing, Young Fine Gael, was formed in 1977 and has approximately four thousand members.[8] The current party leader is Enda Kenny. He was elected by a secret ballot of the parliamentary party on 5 June 2002.[9]

Founded Leader Headquarters

3 September 1933 Enda Kenny 51 Upper Mount Street, Dublin 2 Christian Democracy Centrist Democrat International European People’s Party European People’s Party–European Democrats Blue www.finegael.org Politics of Ireland Political parties Elections in Ireland

Political Ideology International Affiliation European Affiliation European Parliament Group Colours Website See also

History
Beginnings
Following the rise in support for Éamon de Valera’s anti-Treaty Fianna Fáil party in the mid-1920s, a new strategy was felt necessary to bolster the pro-Treaty factions which found themselves in opposition. Following from the Army Comrades Association’s defence of Cumann na nGaedhael from republican intimidation and attacks, Fine Gael was formed through a merger of the ACA (otherwise known as the Blueshirts), Cumann na nGaedhael and the Centre Party on 3 September 1933.[10]

Fine Gael – The United Ireland Party, shortened to Fine Gael (Irish pronunciation: [ˈfʲɪnʲə ˈɡeːl̪ˠ], meaning Family of the Irish or Tribe of the Irish,[1]) is the second largest political party in Ireland in terms of parliamentary seat numbers, and the largest in terms of support according to all recent opinion polls.[2] It has a membership of 30,000,[3] and is the largest opposition party in the Oireachtas, the Irish parliament. Fine Gael was founded in 1933 following the merger of its parent party Cumann na nGaedhael, the Centre Party and the Army

Interparty Governments
Fine Gael candidates were elected to only thirty-one seats in the 1948 general election, however Fianna Fáil’s failure to achieve an overall majority led to the creation of the first Inter-Party Government, made up of an alliance of anti-Fianna Fáil parties, which served between 1948 and 1951. Fine Gael’s leader at the time, Richard Mulcahy, was considered

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Fine Gael
leadership and the centre-left branch of the party.

National Coalition (1970s)
Fine Gael was returned to government in a National Coalition with the Labour Party in 1973. The coalition was beset by problems from the start, including the oil crisis and escalating violence in Northern Ireland.[14] The resignation of President Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh in 1976 after a confrontation with Minister for Defence Paddy Donegan was also a blow to the credibility of the coalition. In 1977, Fianna Fáil under Jack Lynch won an unprecedented twenty-seat majority in the Dáil, and returned to government. Cosgrave resigned the leadership and was replaced by Garret FitzGerald. FitzGerald became Fine Gael’s third Taoiseach, again in a short-lived coalition with Labour between 1981 and February 1982. FitzGerald revived Fine Gael’s fortunes to the point where they were five seats behind Fianna Fáil following the November 1982 general election. The party returned to government with Labour. FitzGerald negotiated the Anglo-Irish Agreement with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 1985. However, the government struggled to control high unemployment and emigration, and was heavily defeated by Fianna Fáil under Charles Haughey in 1987.

General Richard Mulcahy as chief of staff of the National Army too controversial among members of Clann na Poblachta to be Taoiseach due to his role as Chief-of-Staff to the Irish Army in the execution of republicans during the Irish Civil War.[11] Instead, John A. Costello, a compromise candidate, served as head of the government. Costello also headed the second Inter-Party Government which served between 1954 and 1957. Liam Cosgrave, Minister for External Affairs in the coalition negotiated Ireland’s entry into the United Nations in 1955.[12] In 1957, de Valera and Fianna Fáil were returned to power and Fine Gael returned to opposition. During its period in opposition, the party’s Just Society policy statement came into being. These policies came from an emerging social-democratic wing of the party.[13] In 1966, Fine Gael candidate Tom O’Higgins came within one percent of defeating incumbent Éamon de Valera in the presidential election. As events in Northern Ireland spiralled out of control in the late 1960s, new party leader Liam Cosgrave sought to focus the party’s view on its role as protector of the state’s institutions, and to neutralise feuding between the party

Dukes and the Tallaght Strategy
FitzGerald was replaced as leader by Alan Dukes, who spearheaded the Tallaght Strategy, under which Fine Gael would not oppose economic measures put forward by the minority Fianna Fáil government in the national interest.[15] The strategy was an electoral disappointment, and the party gained four seats in the 1989 general election. Dukes resigned the leadership after Fine Gael’s Austin Currie finished a distant third behind Mary Robinson and Brian Lenihan in the 1990 presidential election.[16] He was replaced by John Bruton. As Fianna Fáil had abandoned its core policy of not going into coalition following the 1989 election, Fine Gael found itself in opposition to a Fianna Fáil-Labour government following the general election in 1992.

Rainbow Government
The government collapsed in 1994, allowing Bruton to become Taoiseach in a Fine Gael-

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Fine Gael
election, agreeing a vote-transfer pact and plan to go into government together provided the parties had the required number of seats.[19] The pact was overwhelmingly endorsed by Labour members at the party’s conference in Tralee in May 2005.[20] Fine Gael director of elections Frank Flannery claimed that the agreement, coupled with the party’s strong performance in pre-election opinion polls, could lead to a gain of twentyeight seats in the election.[21] The party gained a total of twenty seats in the election on 24 May 2007, giving the "Alliance for Change" a total of seventy-one seats (seventy six including the Green Party as a potential partner), putting the coalition six seats behind Fianna Fáil. On the first day of the new Dáil, on 14 June 2007, Enda Kenny was nominated for Taoiseach by Fine Gael deputyleader Richard Bruton and then-Labour leader Pat Rabbitte. He was defeated by incumbent Bertie Ahern and a coalition of Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, the Progressive Democrats and a group of Independents by eightynine votes to seventy-six.[22]

Ideology and policies
John Bruton Labour-Democratic Left Rainbow Coalition. The three government parties ran on a united platform in the 1997 election, and Fine Gael gained nine seats. Labour lost heavily however, and Fianna Fáil led by Bertie Ahern came to power in a coalition with the Progressive Democrats.[17] Bruton was replaced as leader in 2001 by Michael Noonan, who led the party into its worst-ever general election in 2002; the party lost twenty-three seats, including those of deputy-leader Jim Mitchell and former leader Alan Dukes.[18] Noonan resigned as leader as the results of the election were being tallied, and was replaced in a subsequent leadership election by Enda Kenny.

Law and Order party
Although Ireland’s political spectrum is divided along Civil War lines, rather than the traditional European left-right spectrum, Fine Gael is described generally as a Christian-democratic party, with a focus on law and order, enterprise and reward, and fiscal rectitude.[7] As the descendent 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.[23]

Economically liberal
Fine Gael has, since its inception, been a party of fiscal rectitude, advocating pro-enterprise policies. Newly elected politicians for the party in the Dail have strongly advocated liberal economic policies. Lucinda Creighton and Leo Varadkar in particular have been seen as strong advocates of a more neo-liberal approach to Ireland’s economics woes and Ireland’s unemployment problems.[24] Varadkar in particular has been

Mullingar Accord and 2007 General Election
Following the unveiling of the Mullingar Accord, an election pact agreed after the local and European elections in 2004, Fine Gael and the Labour Party increasingly co-operated in the build-up to the 2007 general

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Fine Gael
political spectrum, the party has never entered into government except with the backing of the Labour Party. Under Kenny the party has also strongly opposed the perceived "rip-off" society that has developed in Ireland, advocating reform of stealth taxes and stamp duty.[28]

Social policies

Former Fine Gael logo until April, 2009. Fine Gael has been traditionally conservative in social matters for most of the twentieth century. This was due to the conservative Christian ethos of Irish society during this time. Possibly because of the Celtic tiger, a decline in Sunday church attendance and the rise of international media and social influences, significant opinion polls suggest that support has grown in Ireland for liberalisation. Fine Gael has adapted to these new social influences and while in government in 1996, it legalised divorce in Ireland after a referendum held on the 24th November in 1995.[29] The party has not really taken an explicit position on abortion, however former party leader Michael Noonan established the party’s line in 2001 when he instituted a party whip in the Dáil against a vote on a proposed abortion referendum. He found some opposition from within his own party, from Cork South West TD, PJ Sheehan, and then Dublin South-East TD, Frances Fitzgerald showing that opposition to it was not homogeneous within Fine Gael.[30] The end result saw the party unite after internal debate against the idea of introducing abortion into Ireland.[31] Under Enda Kenny, the party has pledged its support for the issue of civil unions in Ireland. Though not going as far as to support same sex marriage, the party ran advertisements in GCN (Gay Community News) advertising its commitments to same-sex couples. Support in the republic for same-sex marriage is estimated at roughly 63%, with 37% against[32]. Polls show that numbers

Michael Collins, founding father of the proTreaty movement, that would become Fine Gael. a strong proponent of small, indigenous business, advocating that smaller firms should benefit from the government’s recapitalisation program[25] Its finance spokesman, Richard Bruton’s proposals have been seen as approaching problems from a pro-enterprise point of view. Its fairer budget website suggests that its solutions are "tough but fair".[26] Other solutions conform generally to conservative government’s policies throughout Europe, focusing on cutting numbers in the public sector, while maintaining investment in infrastructure. Fine Gael’s proposals have 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 Enda Kenny’s assertion that the national wage agreement should be suspended. Kenny’s comments have support however and the party attributes its significant rise in polls in 2008 to this.[27] In spite of this perceived opposition to Fine Gael from the left of the Irish

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supporting same-sex civil unions are much higher, at 84%. The party supports ending the status of the Irish language as a compulsory subject for the Leaving Certificate in Irish schools. This policy has been criticised by many Irish language activist groups, including Conradh na Gaeilge.

Fine Gael

Pro-European
Fine Gael is among the most pro-European integration parties in the Republic of Ireland, having supported the European Constitution[36], the Lisbon Treaty, and advocating participation in European common defence.[37]. Under Enda Kenny, the party has questioned Irish neutrality, with Kenny claiming that "the truth is, Ireland is not neutral. We are merely unaligned."[36]

Health
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 15th.[33] Fine Gael has become the first party in 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 health spokesman Dr. James O’Reilly TD 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..."[34] Fine Gael launched its Fair Care campaign and website in April, 2009, which states that the health service would be reformed away from a costly ineffective endeavor, into a publicly regulated system where universal health insurance would replace the existing provisions.[35] This strategy was criticised by Fianna Fáil 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 German, Dutch and Canadian health systems.

Defined largely by European Affiliations
The party is not identified particularly with belonging to any particular ideological platform. Some have inferred from its relationship to European counterparts via the EPP that it belongs on the centre-right[38][39][40]. Currently, the party conforms generally with European political parties that identify themselves as being Christian-democratic[41]. Most members in the party are happy with the description of the "the progressive or compassionate centre".

Leadership
Mayo TD Enda Kenny was elected leader of Fine Gael in a secret ballot of the parliamentary party on 5 June 2002. Kenny defeated Richard Bruton, Phil Hogan and Gay Mitchell in the leadership election, which was triggered by the resignation of Michael Noonan following the 2002 general election. The current deputy-leader of the party is Dublin North Central TD and party Finance spokesperson Richard Bruton. He was preceded as deputy leader by Jim Mitchell.

List of party leaders
Part of the Politics series on Christian democracy Parties List of Christian Democratic parties Centrist Democrat International Christian Democratic Organization of America European People’s Party European Christian Political Movement European Democratic Party Ideas Social conservatism Market economy Mixed economy Communitarianism

International identity
The party is a member of the Centrist Democrat International and the European Peoples Party, while it sits with the EPP-ED group in the European Parliament, where it sits with centrist, conservative and Christian democratic parties. Young Fine Gael is a member of the Youth of the European People’s Party (YEPP).

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Leader Eoin O’Duffy W. T. Cosgrave Richard Mulcahy James Dillon Liam Cosgrave Garret FitzGerald Alan Dukes John Bruton Michael Noonan Enda Kenny
Human dignity Stewardship Sphere sovereignty Distributism Catholic social teaching Neo-Calvinism · Neo-Thomism Documents Stone Lectures Rerum Novarum Graves de Communi Re Quadragesimo Anno Laborem Exercens Sollicitudi Rei Socialis Centesimus Annus People Thomas Aquinas · John Calvin Pope Leo XIII · Abraham Kuyper Jacques Maritain Konrad Adenauer Alcide De Gasperi Pope Pius XI Robert Schuman Pope John Paul II Helmut Kohl

Fine Gael
Constituency None[42] Carlow-Kilkenny Tipperary Monaghan Dún Laoghaire Dublin South East Kildare South Meath Limerick East Mayo becoming the most represented Irish party in the European Parliament. Fine Gael won fourteen seats in Seanad Éireann following elections in 2007, a loss of one from the previous election in 2002. A Fine Gael candidate has never been elected to the office of President of Ireland. The most recent Fine Gael presidential candidate, Mary Banotti, finished second in the 1997 election. In 2004, Fine Gael supported the re-election of President Mary McAleese.

Period 1933–34 1934–44 1944–59[43][44] 1959–65 1965–77 1977–87 1987–90 1990–2001 2001–02 2002–present

General election results

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 30 with an interest in Fine Gael and politics, in cities, towns, parishes and third level colleges throughout Ireland. YFG has the second largest membership of Irish youth political parties, with 4,000 members.[8] YFG is lead by its national executive consisting of eleven members elected on a regional basis, and on a national panel.

Politics portal

Electoral performance
In the 2007 general election, Fine Gael gained twenty seats bringing them to a total of fifty-one. The party ran candidates in all forty-three constituencies, and had candidates elected in every constituency except Dublin Central, Dublin Mid West, Dublin North West and Kildare South. In local elections held on 11 June 2004, Fine Gael won 293 seats, an increase of sixteen on 1999, bringing the party within nine seats of Fianna Fáil nationally.[45] In European elections held on the same day, the party won five seats,

See also
• List of political parties in the Republic of Ireland

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Year 1937 1938 1943 1944 1948 1951 1954 1957 1961 1965 1969 1973 1977 1981 1982 (Feb) 1982 (Nov) 1987 1989 1992 1997 2002 2007 Dáil 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st 22nd 23rd 24th 25th 26th 27th 28th 29th 30th No. of seats 48 45 32 30 31 40 50 40 47 47 50 54 43 65 63 70 50 55 45 54 31 51 % of vote 34.8 33.3 23.1 21.8 19.8 25.7 32.0 26.6 32.0 33.9 33.3 35.1 30.6 39.2 37.3 39.2 27.1 29.3 24.5 27.9 22.5 27.3

Fine Gael

Notes and references
[1] Often anglicised to /ˌfɪnə ˈɡeɪl/; approximate English translation: Family or Tribe of the Irish. [2] Angus Reid Global Monitor Retrieved on 10 May 2009. An opinion poll in The Irish Times of 14 May 2009 put Fine Gael at 38% and Fianna Fáil at 21%, a 17% difference, the largest difference in the history of the two parties. Prior to late 2008 Fine Gael had only been higher than Fianna Fáil in one poll (April 1983) and then by a single point. [3] Fine Gael. Join Fine Gael. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [4] Gerard O’Connell History of Fine Gael. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [5] The Irish Times. Legacy of the Easter Rising. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [6] Party Leader [7] ^ Fine Gael. The party largely conforms to the idea of Christian democracy. See

Our Values. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [8] ^ RTÉ News. Election 2007 - Youth parties. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [9] RTÉ News (5 June 2002). Enda Kenny elected Fine Gael leader. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [10] Gerard O’Connell. Eoin O’Duffy. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [11] University College Dublin Archives. Richard Mulcahy. Retrieved on 2 November 2007. [12] Dermot Ahern (18 November 2005). The Fiftieth Anniversary of Ireland’s Membership of the United Nations—Looking Forward. Royal Irish Academy. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [13] David Begg (28 February 2004). The Just Society. Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [14] Peter Barberis, John McHugh, Mike Tyldsley. Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations, p.739.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Portfolio Leader of the Opposition Northern Ireland Deputy Leader of the Opposition Finance Justice and Law Reform Foreign Affairs Enterprise, Trade and Employment Health Environment, Heritage and Local Government Arts, Sport and Tourism Social, Family Affairs and Equality Transport Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Agriculture and Food Education and Science Defence Immigration and Integration Children Communications and Natural Resources Chief Whip Published by Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0826458149. [15] The Economist (22 June 2006). Charles Haughey: obituary. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [16] Bernard A. Cook (New York, London, 2001). Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia. Published by Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0815340575. [17] RTÉ Libraries and Archives. 1997 general election. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [18] RTÉ Libraries and Archives. 2002 general election. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [19] RTÉ News (6 September 2004). Opposition leaders unveil ’Mullingar Accord’. Retrieved on 1 November 2007. [20] RTÉ News (28 May 2005). Rabbitte addresses Labour conference. Retrieved on 1 November 2007. [21] RTÉ News (14 September 2006). Fine Gael repeats seat gain claim. Retrieved on 1 November 2007. [22] RTÉ News (14 June 2007). Ahern names new Cabinet. Retrieved on 1 November 2007. Spokesperson Enda Kenny Richard Bruton Charles Flanagan Billy Timmins Leo Varadkar James Reilly Phil Hogan Olivia Mitchell Olwyn Enright Fergus O’Dowd Michael Ring Michael Creed Brian Hayes Jimmy Deenihan Denis Naughten Alan Shatter Simon Coveney Paul Kehoe

Fine Gael
Since 2002 2002 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007 2007

[23] The Hogan Stand (21 September 2005). Michael Collins’ view of life in Achill Gaeltacht. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [24] http://www.lucindacreighton.ie/?cat=9 [25] http://www.leovaradkar.ie/?p=256 [26] http://www.fairerbudget.com/ alternative.html [27] Union critises FG on wage agreements position while FG gains 35% in polls[28] Fine Gael. 2007 General Election Manifesto. Retrieved on 31 October 2007. [29] http://electionsireland.org/results/ referendum/refresult.cfm?ref=1995R [30] [Dublin South-East TD, Frances Fitzgerald] [31] http://www.rte.ie/news/2002/0123/ abortion.html [32] Irish Times Civil Partnership Poll [33] Criticism of Irish Health Service including rankings - [1] [34] Dr. James O’ Rehilly comments on health service - [2] [35] Fine Gael launch Fair Care Website and campaign - [3]

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Fine Gael

[36] ^ National Forum on Europe (26 October 2006). Enda Kenny calls for • Nealon’s Guide to the 29th Dáil and Unified EU Approach to Immigration. Seanad (Gill and Macmillan, 2002) (ISBN Retrieved on 31 October 2007. 0-7171-3288-9) [37] National Forum on Europe (3 April • Stephen Collins, "The Cosgrave Legacy" 2003). Should we back a pledge to (Blackwater, 1996) (ISBN 0-86121-658-X) defend others if they come under • Garret FitzGerald, "Garret FitzGerald: An attack?. Retrieved on 31 October 2007 Autobiography" (Gill and Macmillan, 1991) [38] Fine Gael - MSN Encarta (ISBN 0-7171-1600-X) [39] http://books.google.it/ • Jack Jones, In Your Opinion: Political and books?id=qps14mSlghcC&pg=PA218&lpg=PA218&dq=fine+gael+socialSocial Trends in Ireland through the Eyes democratic&source=web&ots=2i4HL3BFX8&sig=8FtrQ61vfx3mghWuJ2EJoJUtKC4&hl=it of the Electorate (Townhouse, 2001) [40] What Fine Gael needs to do is find its (ISBN 1-86059-149-3) bottom - National News, Frontpage • Maurice Manning, James Dillon: A Independent.ie Biography (Wolfhound, 1999/2000) (ISBN [41] Fine Gael’s European Strategy « EAST 0-86327-823-X) WEST EUROPE | Ireland and the Wider • Stephen O’Byrnes, Hiding Behind a Face: Europe, 2008 Fine Gael under FitzGerald (Gill and [42] O’Duffy did not hold a seat in the Macmillan: 1986) (ISBN 0-7171-1448-1) Oireachtas while he was party leader. • Raymond Smith, Garret: The Enigma [43] While Mulcahy was a member of the (Aherlow, 1985) (no ISBN) Seanad in 1944, Tom O’Higgins acted as parliamentary party leader. [44] Between 1948 and 1959, John A. Costello served as parliamentary leader. • Official website [45] ElectionsIreland.org. Local Elections • Young Fine Gael 2004. Retrieved on 31 October 2007.

Bibliography

External links

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine_Gael" Categories: Christian Democratic parties, Political parties in the Republic of Ireland, Fine Gael, Political parties established in 1933, Entities with Irish names This page was last modified on 25 May 2009, at 00:10 (UTC). All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) taxdeductible nonprofit charity. Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers

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