World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

List of political parties in the Republic of Ireland

Article Id: WHEBN0000396371
Reproduction Date:

Title: List of political parties in the Republic of Ireland  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Fine Gael, Green Party (Ireland), Labour Party (Ireland), Irish Democratic Party, Letterkenny Residents Party
Collection: Lists of Political Parties by Country, Political Parties in the Republic of Ireland, Republic of Ireland Politics-Related Lists
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

List of political parties in the Republic of Ireland

Coat of arms of Ireland
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Republic of Ireland

There are a number of political parties in Ireland, and coalition governments are common. The state is unusual as a developed nation in that politics is not primarily characterised by the left-right political divide. The two largest political parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, arose from a split in the original Sinn Féin party in the 1922–1923 Civil War, Fine Gael from the faction that supported the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty and Fianna Fáil from the anti-Treaty faction. This enduring characteristic of the Irish party system is sometimes pejoratively referred to as "Civil War politics". The Labour Party was formed in 1912, and it has usually been the third party in parliamentary strength, though it is currently the second largest party in Dáil Éireann. In recent years, Sinn Féin has risen to prominence, surpassing the Labour Party in the 2014 local elections.

Political party registration is governed by the Electoral Acts, 1992 to 2012. The Register of Political Parties is maintained by the Houses of the Oireachtas.[1] In order to be registered to contest national elections a party must have either at least one member in Dáil Éireann or the European Parliament, or 300 recorded members aged 18 or over. Parties that register only to contest elections in part of the state, in local elections or in elections to Údarás na Gaeltachta need only 100 recorded members aged 18 or over. In either case at least half of the recorded members must be on the register of electors.[2]


  • Political parties with elected representation at a local, national or European level 1
    • Party details 1.1
    • Party representation 1.2
  • Parties represented in the Oireachtas 2
    • Fine Gael 2.1
    • Labour Party 2.2
    • Fianna Fáil 2.3
    • Sinn Féin 2.4
    • Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit 2.5
    • Renua Ireland 2.6
    • Social Democrats 2.7
    • Workers and Unemployed Action 2.8
    • Independent Alliance 2.9
    • Independent 2.10
  • Parties represented only on local authorities 3
    • Green Party 3.1
    • Workers' Party 3.2
    • United Left 3.3
    • Republican Sinn Féin 3.4
    • Kerry Independent Alliance 3.5
  • Other parties 4
    • Communist Party of Ireland 4.1
    • Socialist Party 4.2
    • Socialist Workers Party 4.3
    • Other registered parties 4.4
    • Unregistered parties 4.5
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Political parties with elected representation at a local, national or European level

Party details

Party Current Leader English translation
/ Name in Irish
Founded Inaugural Leader Ideology Position International organisation EP Group
Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit none 2015 none Democratic socialism Left-wing none GUE/NGL
Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin "Soldiers of Destiny"[nb 1] 1926 Éamon de Valera Irish republicanism,
Liberal conservatism,
Centre-right Liberal International ALDE
Fine Gael Enda Kenny "Clan of the Gaels" 1933 Eoin O'Duffy Christian democracy,
Liberal conservatism
Centre-right Centrist Democrat International EPP
Green Party Eamon Ryan Comhaontas Glas 1981 none[nb 2] Green politics Centre-left Global Greens Greens/EFA
Labour Party Joan Burton Páirtí an Lucht Oibre 1912 James Connolly
James Larkin
William X. O'Brien
Social democracy,
Third Way
Centre-left Socialist International S&D
Renua Ireland Lucinda Creighton Dervived from "Ré Nua" meaning "New Era" 2015 Lucinda Creighton Conservatism Right-wing none none
Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton Sinn Féin Poblachtach 1986 Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Irish republicanism,
Éire Nua,
Left-wing none none
Sinn Féin Gerry Adams "We Ourselves"[nb 3] 1905 / 1970[nb 4] Arthur Griffith Irish republicanism,
Left-wing nationalism,
Democratic socialism
Left-wing none GUE/NGL
Social Democrats Stephen Donnelly
Catherine Murphy
Róisín Shortall
2015 Stephen Donnelly
Catherine Murphy
Róisín Shortall
Social democracy Centre-left none none
Socialist Party[nb 5] Joe Higgins Páirtí Sóisialach 1996 Joe Higgins Democratic socialism, Trotskyism Far-left Committee for a Workers' International GUE/NGL
United Left none[nb 6] 2013 none Democratic socialism Far-left none none
Workers and Unemployed Action Séamus Healy 1985 Séamus Healy Left-wing none none
Workers' Party Michael Donnelly Páirtí na nOibrithe 1970[nb 7] Tomás Mac Giolla Communism,
Irish republicanism,
Far-left Communist and Workers' Parties none
  1. ^ More literally – Warriors of Fál, Fál being an ancient romantic name for Ireland.
  2. ^ For the first twenty years of its existence, the Green Party did not have a national leader. Trevor Sargent was elected as the first national leader in 2001.
  3. ^ Another common translation, though not literal, is Ourselves Alone.
  4. ^ The current party known as Sinn Féin broke from the party then known as Sinn Féin in 1970 and was initially commonly referred to as Provisional Sinn Féin.
  5. ^ Part of Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit
  6. ^ Registered Officers are Clare Daly, Joan Collins, Declan Bree and Pat Dunne.
  7. ^ The Workers' Party emerged as the majority faction from a split in Sinn Féin in 1970, becoming known as Official Sinn Féin. In the Republic of Ireland, it renamed itself as Sinn Féin The Workers' Party in 1977. In Northern Ireland, it continued with the Republican Clubs name used by Sinn Féin to escape a 1964 ban, and later as Workers Party Republican Clubs. Both sections adopted the current name in 1982.

Party representation

Party Representation (as of Oct. 2015)
Oireachtas European Parliament Local councils
Dáil Éireann Seanad Éireann
Fine Gael 68 18 4 234
Labour Party 33 10 0 51
Fianna Fáil 21 12 0 264
Sinn Féin[ni 1] 14 3 3 157
Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit[ni 2] 4 0 0 28
Renua Ireland 3 1 0 5
Social Democrats 3 1 0 4
Workers and Unemployed Action Group 1 0 0 1
Green Party[ni 3] 0 0 0 12
United Left 0 0 0 1
Workers' Party 0 0 0 2
Republican Sinn Féin 0 0 0 1
Kerry Independent Alliance 0 0 0 1
  1. ^ Sinn Féin also has 5 members of the UK House of Commons, 29 members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, 105 local councillors in Northern Ireland and 1 MEP representing Northern Ireland.
  2. ^ People Before Profit Alliance also has 1 local councillor in Northern Ireland.
  3. ^ The Green Party also has one member of the Northern Ireland Assembly and 4 local councillors in Northern Ireland.

Parties represented in the Oireachtas

Fine Gael

Fine Gael is the largest party in the Oireachtas, the second largest party in local government in Ireland and has the largest delegation of MEPs from Ireland. It was founded in 1933 by a merger of the Cumann na nGaedheal, which had supported the Treaty and formed the government between 1922 and 1932, the National Guard (popularly called the Blueshirts) and the small National Centre Party. It is a member of the centre-right European People's Party and is led by Taoiseach Enda Kenny. It has been in government in the periods 1922–1932, 1948–1951, 1954–1957, 1973–1977, 1981–82, 1982–1987, 1994–1997, and 2011 to date. On each occasion, it was the leading party of a coalition with the Labour Party, and in three of those cases also with other smaller parties. At the 2011 general election, Fine Gael become the largest party in the Oireachtas with 36.1% of the vote.

Historically Fine Gael has been characterised as a centre-right party, supported by large farmers and businessmen, though this has not applied uniformly; for a period from the 1960s, for example, with the publication of the Just Society document, Fine Gael espoused some values of social democracy. During the 1980s, Fine Gael leader Garret FitzGerald advocated a liberal agenda in many areas of social reform. The current government of Fine Gael and the Labour Party proposed a successful referendum in support of marriage equality. Historically Fine Gael has tended to support fiscal restraint and law and order domestically while adopting a less nationalist position on Northern Ireland than Fianna Fáil. It generally has the most favourable stance of Irish parties towards the European Union and other international organisation.

Fine Gael has 68 TDs, 18 Senators, 4 MEPs and 234 councillors.

Labour Party

The Fine Gael, with the exception of the period 1993 to 1994, when it was in coalition with Fianna Fáil.

The Labour Party merged with the smaller Democratic Left party in 1999. It is a member of the Party of European Socialists and is led by Tánaiste Joan Burton.

The Labour Party has 33 TDs, 10 Senators and 51 councillors.

Fianna Fáil

Fianna Fáil is the third largest party in the Oireachtas and has the largest number of city and county council seats. It has been in government more than any other party: 1932–48, 1951–54, 1957–1973, 1977–81, 1982, 1987–1994, and 1997–2011. On all occasions up to 1989, it was in a single-party government; on all occasions since then it was the leading party in a coalition government. It is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party and is led by former minister Micheál Martin.

It was founded in 1926 by Éamon de Valera as a radical anti-Treaty party, drawing support from small farmers and urban workers but has since become a party of the establishment. It was first elected to power in 1932 on a constitutional republican platform, promising to destroy constitutional links with Britain and reduce poverty by creating employment. It oversaw much of the industrial development of the Republic and has consequently drawn support from all social classes, making it a classic populist party. Generally speaking, Fianna Fáil has taken more populist positions on economic and social matters than Fine Gael and the Labour Party. Their classic populist stance was highlighted during the years of Catholic dominance in Ireland before the mid-1980s and during the Celtic Tiger years when engaged in the high levels of public spending while deregulating and cutting taxes. Some argue that Fianna Fáil has traditionally been so successful as a political party as it seems to represent more of a national movement.

Bertie Ahern was the Taoiseach from 1997 to 2008 and negotiated numerous social partnership contracts, the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, and an agreement among EU heads of government on the European Constitution. He was succeeded by Brian Cowen in May 2008, after resigning due to evidence from the Mahon Tribunal into payments and planning matters. Support for Fianna Fáil collapsed in the 2011 general election, which took place a few years into the financial crisis and soon after the government had sought a bailout from the troika of the IMF/EC/ECB. Fianna Fáil lost more than three-quarters of its seats, coming third behind Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

In September 2007, Fianna Fáil announced that they would organise politically in the north.

Fianna Fáil has 21 TDs, 12 Senators, one MEP and 264 councillors.[3]

Sinn Féin

The name Sinn Féin has been used by a number of political organisations in Ireland since 1905, when first used by Arthur Griffith. Sinn Féin was the party of separatism before Irish independence, and broke through in the Westminster election of 1918, where it won 73 of the 105 Irish seats.

The modern-day Sinn Féin party emerged in 1970 after a split in the party, and was often distinguished as Provisional Sinn Féin. It was closely linked to the Provisional Irish Republican Army. It is led by Gerry Adams.

It was the only political party to have seats in the parliaments of both Peace Process Sinn Féin has seen a dramatic increase in support in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. It has emerged as the second largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly with 28 seats out of 108 and the fourth largest in the Republic of Ireland with 14 seats in the Dáil in the 2011 general election. With Fine Gael, it is one of only two parties in the Republic of Ireland with MEPs.

Sinn Féin's platform is primarily focused on achieving the reunification of Ireland and a large scale expansion of Ireland's social services (such as adopting a universal health care system and creating subsidised housing), reform of the tax system and support for small and co-operative businesses. Their political ideology mainly revolves around democratic socialism, Irish Republicanism, and civic nationalism.

Sinn Féin has 14 TDs, 3 Senators, 3 MEPs and 157 councillors in the Republic of Ireland.

Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^
  9. ^ Abstentionism: Sinn Féin ardfheis, 1-2 November 1986 — from the CAIN project at the University of Ulster
  10. ^
  11. ^ previously registered, now part of Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit
  12. ^ previously registered, now part of Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit


See also

Just as independent candidates, those standing for unregistered parties may choose either to be listed as "Non-Party", or to leave the section blank on the ballot paper.[2]

Unregistered parties

Other registered parties

The Socialist Workers Party was founded in 1971 as the Socialist Workers Movement by supporters of the International Socialists of Britain living in Ireland. It renamed itself the Socialist Workers Party in 1995. Since 2007, it has contested elections as part of the People Before Profit Alliance (PBP). The PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett and 12 PBP councillors are members of the Socialist Workers Party.

Socialist Workers Party

The Joe Higgins was its first member elected at national level. It was part of the United Left Alliance in the 2011 general election,[5] along with the People Before Profit Alliance and the Workers and Unemployed Action Group, but that Alliance disintegrated over the course of the following Dáil term. Its councillors contested the 2014 local elections as part of the Anti-Austerity Alliance, and it is now part of the Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit. Three TDs are members of the Socialist Party. The party is affiliated to the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI). In 2014, it altered its registered name to Stop the Water Tax – Socialist Party.[1][10]

Socialist Party

The Communist Party of Ireland was first founded in 1921, and re-founded in 1933; the current communist party originates from 1970, when the Communist Party of Northern Ireland joined with the Irish Workers' Party (not related to the current Workers Party). While a registered political party, it rarely stands candidates in elections, and remains quite small. It was historically quite influential in the trade union movement.

Communist Party of Ireland

Other parties

The Kerry Independent Alliance (previously the South Kerry Independent Alliance) have one councillor on Kerry County Council. It is registered to contest elections for Dáil Éireann and in Killarney for local elections.

Kerry Independent Alliance

They have one councillor, Tomás Ó Curraoin on Galway County Council. As they are not a registered party, he is officially an independent councillor.

Republican Sinn Féin were formed in 1986 by members of Sinn Féin who did not support the decision made at the party's ard fheis in that year to end its policy of abstentionism and to allow elected Sinn Féin TDs take their seats in Dáil Éireann.[9] Its first leader was Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, who was a previous leader of Sinn Féin, and had been elected as an abstentionist TD in 1957.

Republican Sinn Féin

In April 2013 two United Left Alliance TDs, Clare Daly, then independent and formerly of the Socialist Party, and Joan Collins of the People Before Profit Alliance formed a new political party, United Left.[8] They had been part of the United Left Alliance through their former parties. However, both Collins and Daly remained as Independents on the Dáil register of party affiliations. One councillor was elected in the 2014 local elections for the United Left, Pat Dunne on Dublin City Council.

United Left

The Democratic Left. Democratic Left voted to merge with the Labour Party in 1999. The Workers' Party has two councillors, Éilis Ryan on Dublin City Council and Ted Tynan on Cork City Council.

Workers' Party

The Green Party has 12 councillors.[7]

In June 2007, the Green Party entered coalition government with Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats. In January 2011 they left the coalition, and in the general election in February of that year, lost all of their Dáil seats.[7]

The Green Party of Northern Ireland voted in 2005 to become a region of the Irish Green Party making it the second party to be organised on an all-Ireland basis. It has Northern Ireland members on the Irish Green Party national executive.

The Green Party was established in 1981 and is allied to the European Green Party. It won its first seat in the Dáil in 1989, and had continued representation there until 2011. The party advocates ecological and socially liberal policies. In 1994 and again in 1999, two of Ireland's 15 MEPs were from the Green party, but both seats were lost in 2004.

Green Party

Parties represented only on local authorities

There are 18 TDs, 14 senators, 3 Irish MEPs and almost 200 councillors who are independent.

As well as the political parties, Dáil Éireann (the lower house of parliament) has always had Independent TDs, who have played a continuous role in Irish politics and are sometimes called upon to support minority governments or governments with slim majorities. They are usually elected on left-wing platforms or on local issues alone. They are listed as Non-Party on election ballots.


The Independent Alliance was formed in March 2015. It is not a political party, nor does it intend to become one, and will not impose any whip except on confidence motions. There are 5 TDs, 2 senators, and over 15 councillors who members of the Independent Alliance.

Independent Alliance

Séamus Healy in response to lack of employment and the economic situation in the South Tipperary area. Healy along with his brother Paddy Healy, were former members of the Trotskyist League for a Workers Republic. Healy was elected to Dáil Éireann as TD for Tipperary South at a by-election in 2000, holding the seat until 2007. He regained the seat at the 2011 general election. At the time of the 2011 election the WUA formed part of the United Left Alliance, but left in 2012.[5][6] WUAG has one TD and one councillor.

Workers and Unemployed Action

The Social Democrats have 3 TDs, 1 Senator and 3 councillors.

The Social Democrats were founded in July 2015 by three independent TDs Stephen Donnelly, Catherine Murphy, and Róisín Shortall, who will share leadership of the party until after the next general election. The Social Democrats describe themselves as being centre-left and in favour of Scandinavian style public services along with promoting indigenous small and medium sized enterprise.

Social Democrats

Renua Ireland has 3 TDs, 1 Senator, and 5 councillors.

Renua Ireland was founded in March 2015 with Lucinda Creighton as founding leader. Rejecting right-wing and left wing labels, Renua Ireland is associated with centre-right policy positions, including the implementation of a flat tax. While the founding parliamentary party all left Fine Gael over the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill the party has not taken a stance on the abortion issue. Rather they emphasise free voting for TDs on matters of conscience within a wider context of loosening the party whip and political reform.

Renua Ireland

Together they have 4 TDs (three from AAA/SP and one from PBP/SWP) and 28 councillors (14 from each of the AAA and the PBP).


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.