Wednesday 7 December 2016

End of Civil War politics would give us a real choice between Left and Right

Published 01/03/2016 | 02:30

Róisín Shortall of the left-leaning Social Democrats, who topped the poll in Dublin North West, celebrates with grand nephew Dara Baxter (2) at the count centre in Dublin’s RDS. Photo: Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney
Róisín Shortall of the left-leaning Social Democrats, who topped the poll in Dublin North West, celebrates with grand nephew Dara Baxter (2) at the count centre in Dublin’s RDS. Photo: Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Descriptions of last week's General Election as an earthquake are overblown, but if it results in a realignment of Irish politics along ideological lines, the next one could be seismic.

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Since the foundation of the State, ideology has been notably absent from Irish politics, with party loyalty instead determined by Civil War legacies that were inculcated at birth and remained steadfast throughout adulthood.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael supporters were sworn enemies, not because of any discernible difference in their policy platforms, but because members of their families had once supported either Dev or Michael Collins.

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