Parties and the party system

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Weeks, Liam
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The first section of the chapter outlines the primary actors in the Irish party system and the evolution of competition between them, placing the origins and development of the party system within a comparative framework. It discusses the traditional party system dominated by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, and how this has been challenged by a new model with the rise of Sinn Féin, other left-wing parties, and independents. The second section focuses on the internal workings of parties, detailing the operation of their organisations and identifying where power lies within them. As well as a consideration of how the parties function, it details how each of them makes policy, picks its leaders, and chooses its candidates. Issues around party finance and campaign expenditure are also discussed. The chapter concludes with an evaluation of the role of parties and the place of the Irish party system in the twenty-first century.
Irish party system , Fianna Fáil , Fine Gael , Sinn Féin , Party finance
Weeks, L. (2023) 'Parties and the party system', in Coakley, J., Gallagher, M., O'Malley, E. and Reidy, T. (eds.) Politics in the Republic of Ireland. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 128-155. doi: 10.4324/9781003328476-7
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© 2023, the Author. All rights reserved. This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Coakley, J., Gallagher, M., O'Malley, E. and Reidy, T. (eds.) Politics in the Republic of Ireland, on 31 August 2023, available online: