Good times for a change? Ireland since the general election

Summer 2020
DOI: 10.3898/SOUN.75.04.2020

The 2020 Irish general election result was widely characterised as both a ‘shock’ and as a victory for the left. These claims are only partially true. The recent turn to the left was not a sudden development, but rather an expression of how the Irish political landscape has changed since the global financial crash. And while the electorate certainly appear more open to left-wing politics, the principal beneficiaries in terms of the popular vote (Sinn Féin) and access to power (the Greens) were parties with only questionable left-wing credentials. Before a new government could even be formed, the advent of the global health pandemic transformed the political terrain once more, with the two traditionally dominant centre-right parties (Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil) agreeing to share power for the first time. While the restoration of the political status quo has exposed the weakness of the republican left, we suggest that the neoliberal policies that lie ahead may in time revive the fortunes of the socialist left. 

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Soundings 75: System change