Published 8th February, 2011
Fianna Fáil was founded in 1926 by Éamon de Valera as a radical republican anti 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty party. Since those early days it has become the most successful political party in Ireland and has been the governing party for most of the period since 1932.
First elected to power in 1932, FF stood on a platform promising to destroy constitutional links with Great Britain and reducing poverty through greater employment. Today it adopts a right wing position on the economy and a populist approach to social issues.
Fianna Fáil was the governing party from:
1932 – 1948
1951 – 1954
1957 – 1973
1977 – 1981
1987 – 1992
1997 – to date.
During most of their period in government FF has been in a position to govern alone. But in more recent times (1987 – 2007) Fianna Fáil has worked with the, now defunct, Progressive Democrats (PD). Since 2007 they have been in coalition with the Green Party (2007 – 2011). With the Greens departure from the coalition in January 2011 the government was brought down.
Other than Éamon de Valera its founder, probably the most famous leader of FF has been Bertie Ahern who was Taoiseach (prime minister) from 1997 until 2008. He was succeeded by Brian Cowan who had to deal with the economic crisis of 2008/2009 and subsequent fallout. It was this which finally led to Prime Minister Cowan’s decision to call an election in 2011 and to stand down from politics.
In 2007 Fianna Fáil decided that they would organise politically in Northern Ireland.
Fianna Fáil is a member of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR) in the European Parliament.