Monday 19 February 2018

Five possible by-elections this year should throw plenty of spice into the Coalition mix

Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore
Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore
Shane Coleman

Shane Coleman

By-elections – over the decades, they have been to governments what the Ides of March were to Julius Caesar – something to be distinctly wary of.

It is not so much that, before 2011, no government had won a by-election for 30 years. Many of those losses were of little consequence – reversed within a year or two at the subsequent general election.

But some, particularly when there was a series of by-election setbacks, proved hugely significant. Two such losses in his home county of Cork in 1979 marked the beginning of the end for Jack Lynch's tenure as Taoiseach – just a couple of years after leading his party to its biggest majority.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss