Ireland. During the year the Irish went to election on
three occasions. In addition to parliamentary elections,
referendums were held on possible tightening of the already
tough abortion legislation and on the EU's new basic treaty
of 2002, the Treaty of Nice.
In the abortion vote on March 7, almost half of the
voters voted against the proposal that the risk of suicide
could not constitute a sufficient basis for allowing
Countryaah website, the May 17 parliamentary elections were a success for
Prime Minister Ahern's party Fianna Fáil, who received 41%
of the vote and 81 seats, but they still failed to get their
own majority in parliament. The second government party
Progressive Democrats (PD) also increased its
representation. Small parties such as the Green Party
Comhaontas Glas and Sinn Fein, the political branch of the
IRA, also had electoral successes and received six and five
seats, respectively, while the largest opposition party Fine
Gael lost 23 of its 54 seats. The turnout was approximately
63%. Among the new MPs were Martin Ferris, from Sinn Féin,
who was previously convicted of smuggling weapons to the
Later, Fianna Fáil and PD formed a new government
coalition. Soon enough, the government was hit by a fraud
debate, when it became clear that it could not keep its
election promises that no cuts would be made. Attention on
several cases of corruption among leading politicians was
probably also behind the falling opinion figures.
Great interest was directed in the autumn against I. who
would vote for the second time on the Treaty of Nice on
October 19. If there was a new no, as in the 2001 vote, it
would hamper EU enlargement from 15 to 25 member states were
argued from many directions.
Several of the groups that advocated a rejection of the
Treaty of Nice said that they were not opposed to
enlargement per se, but that they had objections, among
other things. towards more power being concentrated in
Brussels and the influence of the larger countries at the
expense of the lesser ones. They were also critical that the
results of the previous vote were not respected.
This time, the government did not take any risks but
invested heavily in the election campaign. Behind the yes
side stood all the major political parties, the business
community, union leaders and the Catholic Church. Both sides
argued that they should vote for them to save jobs and
secure financial security. Nearly 63% of voters now voted
yes to the Treaty of Nice. The turnout was 48%, which was
higher than in the previous year's vote.
On June 12, 2008, Ireland - the only Member State - held
a referendum on the EU's Lisbon Treaty. The result was 53.4
per cent no-votes. Thus, in 2001, as in 2001, the Irish had
blocked an EU treaty, this time the simplified version of
the "Constitution" which was halted by French and Dutch
voters in 2005.
Among the requirements for a new treaty was that Ireland
should retain its military neutrality, its tax laws and
Europe's strictest abortion law. In principle, the
requirements were met, in the form of guarantees from the EU.
But the financial crisis and economic dependence on EU
cooperation were seen as a more important explanation when a
new referendum, on October 3, 2009, gave 67.1 per cent yes
and 32.9 per cent votes, a boost for the yes side from 2008.
One strong mobilization brought the attendance percentage up
The 2011 and 2016 elections
Unrest in the Fianna Fáil government party and
dissatisfaction with the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brain
Cowen's handling of the financial crisis led to new
elections two months before it was scheduled for 2011. Cowen
and Fianna Fáil were literally free on the polls and the
result was just as fatal for the government party.
Never before in Irish history had a government party lost
as much ground as Fianna Fáil did in the 2011 election.
Never before in the party's history, Fine Gael had won so
many seats in the Dáil (Irish Parliament). The roles were
turned on its head, and Fine Gael formed a coalition
government with the Labor Party, with Fine Gaels Enda Kenny
as Taoiseach. But the problems were not with Ireland. The
loans that the country was forced to take up after the
financial crisis quelled the economy and Kenny agreed to
renegotiate the terms of the loans. The EU was on its terms
and Ireland had to wait a few more years before the economy
After the 2016 election, it soon became clear that the
coalition between Fine Gael and Labor could not continue.
The election results showed a decline for Fine Gael and
Labor, while there was great progress for Fianna Fáil and
Sinn Fein. The post-election parliamentary situation
complicated the formation of the government, and it took 63
days before a coalition came into place. The result of the
lengthy negotiations led Enda Kenny and Fine Gael to form a
minority government with the support of independent MPs in
The violent decline of Fine Gael was difficult for the
party and their leader and Taoiseach Enda Kenny. The
political pressure increased, and the pressure coincided
with a series of corruption cases in the Irish police which
Kenny handled poorly. May 17, 2017, Kenny saw no other way
but to retire. After a party battle won by Leo Varadkar,
Kenny asked Dáil to choose Varadkar as their new Taoiseach.
Varadkar became Ireland's new leader on June 14, 2017.