Irish general election, 1987


Irish general election, 1987

The Irish general election of 1987 was held on 17 February 1987, four weeks after the dissolution of the Dáil on 20 January. The newly-elected 166 members of the 25th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 10 March when a new Taoiseach and government were appointed.

The general election took place in 41 parliamentary constituencies throughout the Republic of Ireland for 166 seats in the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann.

Campaign

The general election of 1987 was precipitated by the withdrawal of the Labour Party from the Fine Gael led government on 20 January 1987. The reason was a disagreement over budget proposals. Rather than press on with the government's agenda the Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael, Garret FitzGerald, decided to dissolve the Dáil. An unusually long period of four weeks was set for the campaign. It was hoped that the electorate would warm to Fine Gael's budget proposals during the campaign.

Fianna Fáil's campaign involved the refusal to make any definite commitments, however, they attempted to convince the electorate that the country would be better under Fianna Fáil. Charles Haughey's attitude towards Northern Ireland and the Anglo-Irish Agreement were all attacked. However, the campaign was more or less fought on economic issues.

The Labour Party decided against any pre-election pact before the election, particularly with Fine Gael. The Progressive Democrats, founded only two years before, surpassed the Labour Party as the third biggest political party in the Dáil. Although the party was made mostly of Fianna Fáil defectors, it also took seats from Fine Gael.

The election was the first in modern times to be contested by Sinn Féin and the Green Party however it proved to be a disappointment for both as they both polled poorly and failed to win any seats.

Result

:Notes:: Changes in numbers of seats for each party are shown relative to the previous election in 1982.: During the previous (24th) Dáil, 4 Fianna Fáil TDs and 1 Fine Gael TD had joined the Progressive Democrats.

In spite of the opinion polls suggesting otherwise, Fianna Fáil once again failed to win an overall majority. However, the party was able to govern as a minority government and Charles Haughey was back for his third and final time as Taoiseach. The Fianna Fáil government from 1987 until 1989 was the last time a single party formed a government in the Republic of Ireland. The new party, the Progressive Democrats, did exceptionally well on their first outing, becoming the third biggest party in the Dáil. Fine Gael lost many seats, mostly to the PDs. The Labour Party failed to make any huge impact, with its leader, Dick Spring, almost losing his seat.

First time TDs

A total of 32 TDs were elected for the first time:
* Dermot Ahern
* Anne Colley
* Mary Coughlan
* Martin Cullen
* Noel Dempsey
* Brendan Howlin
* Tom Kitt
* Michael Lowry
* Michael McDowell
* John O'Donoghue
* Pat O'Malley
* Dick Roche
* Henry Abbott
* Andrew Boylan
* Jimmy Deenihan
* John Dennehy
* Dermot Fitzpatrick
* Charles Flanagan
* Chris Flood
* Martin Gibbons
* Jim Higgins
* Joe Jacob
* Geraldine Kennedy
* Pat McCartan
* John McCoy
* Mary Mooney
* Batt O'Keeffe
* Máirín Quill
* John Stafford
* Emmet Stagg
* Brian Swift
* G. V. Wright

Former TDs re-elected

* Peadar Clohessy (lost seat in February 1982)
* Jim Kemmy (lost seat in November 1982)
* Joe Sherlock (lost seat in November 1982)

Retiring TDs

* Sylvester Barrett
* Pádraig Faulkner
* Jim Fitzsimons
* Gerry L'Estrange
* David Molony
* William O'Brien
* Paddy O'Toole
* Michael O'Leary

Defeated TDs

* Fintan Coogan, Jnr
* Michael D'Arcy, Snr
* Joe Doyle
* John O'Connell
* Nuala Fennell
* Liam Skelly

ee also

* Members of the 25th Dáil
* Government of the 25th Dáil
* Ministers of State of the 25th Dáil


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