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Decline of two Civil War parties may see us become ungovernable

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THE OLD GUARD: Liam Cosgrave of Fine Gael and Jack Lynch of Fianna Fail in 1981

THE OLD GUARD: Liam Cosgrave of Fine Gael and Jack Lynch of Fianna Fail in 1981

THE OLD GUARD: Liam Cosgrave of Fine Gael and Jack Lynch of Fianna Fail in 1981

IRELAND may soon become ungovernable. With the political dominance of the two Civil War parties in permanent decline and without any of the mechanisms that other countries employ to favour stable government, the splintering of the vote is pointing ominously towards Italian-style political chaos. Short-lived and unstable multi-member coalitions, incapable of providing effective government, are looking increasingly likely to be the new normal in Irish politics.

It is a quarter of century since the last single-party government held office and it is now almost inconceivable that any one party will ever govern alone. That is not because of short or even medium-term political factors, but in keeping with a profound underlying trend.


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