Tuesday 6 December 2016

Fine Gael's previous terms in power

Published 27/02/2011 | 10:32

The incoming Government will take over a country mired in financial crisis and tied to a multi-billion euro bailout from the International Monetary Fund and Europe.

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But economic difficulties have dominated Fine Gael governments throughout its near 80-year history.

Here are some of the party's previous terms in power.

::1981-1982: Backed by Labour and Independents, the party took control in June with the country mired in an economic crisis and facing a mid-year draconian budget. The coalition was short-lived, collapsing after seven months, after then finance minister John Bruton`s ill-judged plan to tax children's shoes.

::1973 -1978: Fine Gael and Labour coalition after 16 years of Fianna Fail. Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave crossed the Dail floor to vote against the legalisation of contraception in 1974 and the Government signed the Sunningdale power-sharing agreement in Northern Ireland. A tough budget unveiled by Finance Minister Richie Ryan, dubbed `Richie Ruin` for his unpopular measures including Capital Gains Tax.

::1994-1997: John Bruton led the 'Rainbow' coalition with Labour and Democratic Left without an election after the Fianna Fail/Labour coalition collapsed. Divorce was legalised, the economy thrived and a 12.5% corporation tax rate was introduced and there was a Budget surplus.

::1954-1957: Fine Gael formed a coalition with Labour and the now defunct agrarian party Clann na Talmhan. John A Costello was elected Taoiseach for a second term, but his administration was dogged by high unemployment and emigration. The Dail was dissolved after over the Governments tough stance on the IRA and the weakening economy.

::1982 -1987: Recession, emigration and high unemployment dominated Irish society. Fine Gael joined forces with Labour but they clashed on how to tackle the downturn. The 1980s have been regarded as a wasted decade. Labour pulled out in year five over the budget and later that year Fine Gael agreed not to oppose Fianna Fail's reforms in a move dubbed the Tallaght Strategy.

Northern Ireland also dominated with the Anglo Irish Agreement signed in 1985.

::1948-1951: The first Inter-Party government - Fine Gael, Labour, the now defunct Clann na Talmhan, Clann na Poblachta and the National Labour Party - oversaw withdrawal from the Commonwealth on Easter Monday 1949, the anniversary of the 1916 Rising, and the birth of the Republic of Ireland.



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