Election speculation looks set to shine all summer long
Sinn Fein isn't a new party but under a new leader it is starting to assert authority
In January 1948, Taoiseach Eamon de Valera called an election. Winter elections aren't popular and Dev had a big majority in the Dail. It seemed odd because Fianna Fail was certain to lose seats. His decision was triggered by the rise of a new political party, Clann na Poblachta, under Sean MacBride, the exotic and quixotic former IRA leader.
The Clann had been formed in 1946 and won two by-elections in late 1947. De Valera calculated that even though it might cost seats, a snap election would prevent the Clann from organising party branches, raising money, and finding candidates. It was a risk, but probably one that paid off.
Clann na Poblachta did well - it overtook Labour - but not well enough, and the decision to go immediately into government was probably fatal for the new party.