Fianna Fáil: Wikis


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Fianna Fáil
Leader Brian Cowen
Deputy leader Mary Coughlan
Founded 23 March 1926 (1926-03-23)
Headquarters 65–66 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2
Youth wing Ógra Fianna Fáil
Ideology Irish republicanism,[1]
International affiliation None
European affiliation European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
European Parliament Group Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Official colours Green, Orange
Dáil Éireann
Seanad Éireann
European Parliament
Local government
Politics of the Republic of Ireland
Political parties
Politics of Northern Ireland
Political parties

Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party (Irish: Fianna Fáil – An Páirtí Poblachtánach), more commonly known as Fianna Fáil (Irish pronunciation: [ˌfʲiənə ˈfɔːlʲ]) is a political party in the Republic of Ireland. It is the largest party in both houses of the Oireachtas, Ireland's bicameral parliament, and the leading party in a coalition government with the Green Party, which also has the support of five Independent TDs.

Fianna Fáil's name is traditionally translated into English as Soldiers of Destiny, although a more accurate rendition would be Warriors of Fál ("Fál" being a legendary name for Ireland).[4]

Fianna Fáil joined the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party on 16 April 2009, and has sat in its associated Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group in the European Parliament since the 2009 European elections.



Leader and president

Although the posts of leader and party president of Fianna Fáil are separate, with the former elected by the Parliamentary Party and the latter elected by the Ardfheis (thus allowing for the posts to be held by different people, in theory), in practice they have always been held by the one person. However, as the Ardfheis may have already been held in any given year by the time a new leader is elected, the selection of the new party president might not take place until the next year.

The following are the terms of office for the leader:

The chart below shows a timeline of Fianna Fáil leaders and the Presidents of the Executive Council and Taoisigh. The left bar shows all the leaders of Fianna Fáil, and the right bar shows the corresponding make-up of the Irish government at that time. The colours correspond to which party led the government. The last names of the respective heads of government are shown, and the Roman numeral stands for the cabinets.

For information on leadership elections, see:

Presidential nominations

Of Ireland's eight presidents, six either were in Fianna Fáil governments or nominated by Fianna Fáil. Only Douglas Hyde (1938–1945) and Mary Robinson (1990–1997) had no connection with Fianna Fáil. Hyde, though appointed to Seanad Éireann by de Valera in 1938, was originally a nominee proposed by Fine Gael (but immediately enthusiastically endorsed by Fianna Fáil) while Robinson was a Labour Party nominee who defeated a Fianna Fáil candidate, Brian Lenihan. The current president, Mary McAleese, was a Fianna Fáil nominee at her first election to the presidencey but ran uncontested as an independent at the last attempt to become president. The president on election is apolitical.[citation needed]

Allegations of corruption

The party, along with its coalition partners, was re-elected in the 2002 general election. It has been hit by numerous scandals. (Founding father Frank Aiken refused to run in the 1973 general election because the party had Haughey as a candidate while first leader Éamon de Valera told a senior minister in 1970 that "Haughey will ruin the party."[citation needed]

Another former minister, Ray Burke, whom Ahern appointed to cabinet for a short time in 1997, was recently explicitly described by retired High Court judge, Fergus Flood in a tribunal of inquiry as "corrupt", and was jailed in January 2005 for tax offences. The privileged treatment accorded to Burke in prison was subsequently widely criticised, especially by Fine Gael.

Former Fianna Fáil Government Press Secretary Frank Dunlop is giving evidence to a tribunal of inquiry in relation to his allegations that long-serving Fianna Fáil senators took bribes to arrange for planning permissions to be granted to particular property developers. Other councillors (past and present) from a number of parties, but predominantly from Fianna Fáil, are expected to be named. The tribunal has yet to judge the credibility or otherwise of Dunlop and his evidence.

Former Fianna Fáil TD, Liam Lawlor was also accused of corrupt practices in relation to planning and development. He was jailed repeatedly for refusal to cooperate with the tribunal. He did not resign his Dublin West seat and continued to attend the Dáil, returning to Mountjoy Prison after the sessions, where he enjoyed most of the same privileges as Mr. Burke. Another TD, Beverley Cooper-Flynn of Mayo, was forced to resign from the party when it was revealed that she had advised people on how to illegally evade tax while working as a financial adviser for National Irish Bank. She was readmitted when she threatened to run as an Independent candidate, expelled again after she lost a libel action against RTÉ, and readmitted unanimously to the party shortly after Ahern's resignation.

North Kerry TD Denis Foley was found to have held an Ansbacher bank account and subsequently could not seek re-election in 1997. Michael Collins of the Collins family dynasty in Limerick suffered a similar fate in 2002, when he was found to have evaded tax by the Revenue Commissioners.

On 8 December 2005, Ivor Callely TD resigned his junior ministerial post after RTÉ News reported that a building contractor involved in public contracts had painted his house for free in the early 1990s. It was also revealed that Callely had offered to personally buy a new car for one of his civil service advisers, in an attempt to persuade the adviser not to leave their job. Apparently, Callely's department had an unusually high turnover of staff for some time under his stewardship [5].

Bertie Ahern, in September 2006 admitted having received payments from "friends" in the early 1990s which he termed as a combination of loans and gifts totaling £48,000 while serving as Minister for Finance. Damaged by the controversy initially, which included admissions of appointing friends to state boards and not having a bank account while serving as Minister for Finance, support for the party in opinion polls rose after Ahern described the circumstances of the payments to the public in an interview with RTÉ television.[6] Former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds stated in a radio interview on RTÉ that he would have told Ahern that taking such payments was totally unacceptable. As the then Taoiseach he should have been informed by Ahern and would have been very clear that accepting the payments was wrong. He said that many other options were open to Ahern such as getting a bank loan. [7] After the payments controversy, polling data suggested that Bertie Ahern's increase in popularity due to the payments controversy was primarily a sympathetic reaction.

In September 2007, Ahern testified over a four day period at the Mahon Tribunal about these payments and his explanations under oath varied from day to day, being described by one of the sitting judges as "polar opposite"[8]

In April 2008 Ahern announced his intended resignation as Taoiseach and party leader, naming May 2008 as when he would step down. The announcement came during a period of increased disquiet over his evidence to the Mahon Tribunal, in particular denials of foreign currency lodgements, which were contradicted in evidence given by his former secretary, who accepted that paperwork before the trubunal indicated a sterling lodgement was made by her on his behalf.

Entry into Northern Ireland politics

On 17 September 2007 Fianna Fáil announced that the party would, for the first time, organise in Northern Ireland.

Foreign Minister, Dermot Ahern, is to chair a committee on the matter: "In the period ahead Dermot Ahern will lead efforts to develop that strategy for carrying through this policy, examining timescales and structures. We will act gradually and strategically. We are under no illusions. It will not be easy. It will challenge us all. But I am confident we will succeed," [9]

The party embarked on its first ever recruitment drive north of the border on the 25th and 26th of September in northern universities, and established two 'Political Societies', the William Drennan Cumann in Queens University, Belfast, and the Watty Graham Cumann in UU Magee, Derry.

Bertie Ahern announced on 7 December 2007 that Fianna Fáil had been registered in Northern Ireland by the UK Electoral Commission.[10] There has been speculation about an eventual merger with the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP),[11] formerly the main Irish nationalist party in the six counties, but now smaller than Sinn Féin. This has been met with a mixed reaction with former Deputy Leader of the SDLP, Seamus Mallon, stating he would be opposed to any such merger. On 23 February 2008, it was announced that a former UUP councillor, Colonel Harvey Bicker, had joined FF.[12]

The 2009 Ard Fheis announced the establishment of Fianna Fáil Fora across the North of Ireland, initially on a County-by-County basis. The first formally established Forum is the Armagh Forum, subsequently fora have been established in Counties Down and Fermanagh, further organisation continues. This Ard Fheis also elected Mark Hughes, a member from Armagh, to the Party's Ard Comhairle.

In November 2009, at the National Youth Conference in Bundoran, Ógra Fianna Fáil decided to add the position of Northern Representative to the committee to reflect the organisations 32 county status.

Ógra Fianna Fáil

Fianna Fáil have an active youth wing called Ógra Fianna Fáil. They were formed in 1974 and play an active role in party matters, recruiting members and working on election campaigns. The current elected head of Ógra is Joe O' Neill who serves as Leas-Cathaoirleach Ógra. Thomas Byrne TD is the nominated head or Cathaoirleach of Ógra Fianna Fáil, having been appointed by President of Fianna Fáil, Brian Cowen, in 2009. On the 28th February, 2010, Ógra Fianna Fáil published a policy document on Marriage Equality for Same-Sex couples, which went beyond the scope of the Party's Programme for Government which proposed a Civil Partnership scheme only [13].

Ógra also plays an important role in the party organisation where it currently has six representatives on the Ard Chomhairle.

Fianna Fáil in European institutions

In the European Parliament from 1999 to 2009, Fianna Fáil was a leading member of Union for Europe of the Nations, a small national conservative grouping. European political commentators had often noted substantive ideological differences between the party and its colleagues, whose strongly conservative stances had at times prompted domestic criticism of Fianna Fáil. It had previously been a member of the Union for Europe, European Democratic Alliance, and European Progressive Democrats groups.

Party headquarters, over the objections of some MEPs, had made several attempts to sever the party's links to the European right, including an aborted 2004 agreement to join the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR), with whom it already sat in the Council of Europe under the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) banner. On 27 February 2009, Taoiseach Brian Cowen announced that Fianna Fáil proposed to join ELDR and intended to sit with them in the ALDE Group in the European Parliament after the 2009 European elections.[14] The change was made official on 17 April 2009, when FF joined the ELDR.

In October 2009, it was reported that Fianna Fáil had irritated its new Liberal colleagues by failing to vote for the motion on press freedom in Italy (resulting in its defeat by a majority of one in the Parliament) and by trying to scupper their party colleagues' initiative for gay rights.[15] Then in January 2010, a report by academic experts writing for the site found that FF "do not seem to toe the political line" of the ALDE group "when it comes to budget and civil liberties" issues.[16]

Further reading

  • Joe Ambrose (2006) Dan Breen and the IRA, Douglas Village, Cork : Mercier Press, 223 p., ISBN 1-85635-506-3
  • Bruce Arnold (2001) Jack Lynch: Hero in Crisis, Dublin : Merlin, 250p. ISBN 1-903582-06-7
  • Tim Pat Coogan (1993) De Valera : long fellow, long shadow, London : Hutchinson, 772 p., ISBN 0-09-175030-X
  • Joe Joyce and Peter Murtagh (1983) The Boss: Charles J. Haughey in government, Swords, Dublin : Poolbeg Press, 400 p., ISBN 0-905169-69-7
  • F.S.L. Lyons (1985) Ireland Since the Famine, 2nd rev. ed., London : FontanaPress, 800 p., ISBN 0-00-686005-2
  • Dorothy McCardle (1968) The Irish Republic. A documented chronicle of the Anglo-Irish conflict and the partitioning of Ireland, with a detailed account of the period 1916–1923, etc., 989 p., ISBN 0-552-07862-X
  • T. Ryle Dwyer (2001) Nice fellow : a biography of Jack Lynch, Cork : Mercier Press, 416 p., ISBN 1-85635-368-0
  • T. Ryle Dwyer (1999) Short fellow : a biography of Charles J. Haughey, Dublin : Marino, 477 p., ISBN 1-86023-100-4
  • T. Ryle Dwyer, (1997) Fallen Idol : Haughey's controversial career, Cork : Mercier Press, 191 p., ISBN 1-85635-202-1
  • Raymond Smith (1986) Haughey and O'Malley : The quest for power, Dublin : Aherlow, 295 p., ISBN 1-87013-800-7
  • Tim Ryan (1994) Albert Reynolds : the Longford leader : the unauthorised biography, Dublin : Blackwater Press, 226 p., ISBN 0-86121-549-4
  • Dick Walsh (1986) The Party : inside the Fianna Fáil, Dublin : Gill & Macmillan, 161 p., ISBN 0-7171-1446-5

See also


  1. ^ a b IRELAND: Legislative elections: Dáil Éireann, 5-year term, proportional representation system (STV), Parties and Elections in Europe
  2. ^ Iran Daily – Dot Coms – 05-31-07, Bertie's Challenge, 5th paragraph
  3. ^ Irish Poll Hits Fianna Fáil
  4. ^ Ó Dónaill, Niall (1977). (advisory ed. Tomás de Bhaldraithe). ed (in Irish). Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla. Dublin: An Gúm. pp. 512, 540. ISBN 1-85791-037-0. 
  5. ^ ;Harney speaks out over Callely staffing
  6. ^ Ahern's performance during the interview is widely accepted as being the main reason for a jump in the party's support. See
  7. ^ However, Reynolds is understood to still harbour bitterness towards Ahern, after Ahern failed to secure the Fianna Fáil nomination for Reynolds to run in the 1997 Presidential election.
  8. ^ ;Official transcript
  9. ^ Speech by the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party meeting
  10. ^ "FF officially recognised in Northern Ireland". RTÉ. 2007-12-07. Retrieved 2007-12-08. 
  11. ^ "Fianna Fáil 'will organise in NI'". 17 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-08. 
  12. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Northern Ireland | Fianna Fail confirms UUP recruit
  13. ^ Marriage Equality Proposal, Issuu
  14. ^ "Full Text: Taoiseach Brian Cowen at the official Opening of 72nd Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis – Part 1", Fianna Fáil website, posted 27 February 2009
  15. ^
  16. ^ Voting behaviour in the new European Parliament: the first six months, EP7, 1st Semester: July-December 2009,

External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:



Irish, meaning “soldiers of destiny”.

Proper noun

Fianna Fáil


Fianna Fáil

  1. An Irish political party founded in the 1920s.


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