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Independent politicians in Ireland

Independent politicians, who contest elections without the support of one of the political parties, have played a continuous role in the politics of Ireland since independence in 1922.

Provision for independents in electoral lawEdit

If a candidate is not the candidate of a registered political party, they may be nominated for elections to Dáil Éireann with the assent of 30 electors in the constituency,[1] for elections to the European Parliament with the assent of 60 electors in the constituency,[2] and for local elections with the assent of 15 electors in the local electoral area.[3] They may choose to have the designation non-party next to their name on the ballot paper.[4]

In Seanad elections and presidential elections, candidates are not nominated by parties directly, and party labels do not appear on the ballot.

Independents supporting governmentsEdit

In the case of minority governments, where the party or parties forming the government do not have a majority in the Dáil, they will usually be dependent on independent TDs in votes of confidence. This can be by formal arrangement with the government.

Independents in governmentEdit

In the Inter-Party Government led by John A. Costello as Taoiseach, James Dillon served as Minister for Agriculture. He was an independent TD, having left Fine Gael in 1942 because he disagreed with the policy of neutrality during the Second World War. He rejoined Fine Gael in 1953 and became leader in 1959.

After the 2016 general election, 3 independent TDs were appointed to a minority Fine Gael–Independent government: Denis Naughten as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Shane Ross as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, and Katherine Zappone as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. Ross is a member of the Independent Alliance, and other members of the Independent Alliance were appointed as Ministers of State. Naughten resigned as Minister on 11 October 2018.

In 2009, Mary Harney continued as Minister for Health as an independent member of the government after the dissolution of the Progressive Democrats, and served until 2011.

Local governmentEdit

At the 2019 local elections, independents won 185 of the 949 seats on city and county councils.

European ParliamentEdit

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan has been an MEP for Midlands–North-West since 2014.

President of IrelandEdit

The current President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins was elected in 2011 as a Labour Party candidate, but re-elected in 2018 as an independent candidate.

Election resultsEdit

General electionsEdit

Key for government column:

Independents participated in government
Majority government
Minority government
Election Seats won ± First Pref votes % Government
1921
4 / 128
Southern Ireland only
  No Poll No Poll Sinn Féin majority
1922
9 / 128
  5 48,638 7.8 CnaG minority
1923
13 / 153
  4 85,869 8.1 CnaG minority
1927 (Jun)
16 / 153
  3 153,370 13.4 CnaG minority
1927 (Sep)
12 / 153
 4 92,959 7.9 CnaG minority
1932
14 / 153
 2 131,890 10.4 FF minority
1933
9 / 153
  5 68,882 5.0 FF minority
1937
8 / 138
  1 128,480 9.7 FF minority
1938
7 / 138
  1 60,685 4.7 FF majority
1943
11 / 138
 4 116,024 8.7 FF minority
1944
10 / 138
  1 94,852 7.8 FF majority
1948
11 / 147
  1 94,271 7.2 FG–Lab–CnP–CnT–NLP–Ind
1951
14 / 147
  3 127,234 9.6 FF minority
1954
5 / 147
  9 70,937 5.3 FG–Lab–CnT
1957
9 / 147
  4 72,492 5.9 FF majority
1961
6 / 144
  3 65,963 5.6 FF minority
1965
2 / 144
  4 26,277 2.1 FF minority
1969
1 / 144
  1 42,230 3.2 FF majority
1973
2 / 144
  1 39,419 2.9 FG–Labour
1977
4 / 148
  2 87,527 5.5 FF majority
1981
4 / 166
  63,829 3.7 FG–Labour minority
1982 (Feb)
4 / 166
  46,059 2.8 FF minority
1982 (Nov)
3 / 166
  1 38,735 2.3 FG–Labour
1987
3 / 166
  70,843 4.0 FF minority
1989
4 / 166
  1 54,761 3.3 FF–PD
1992
5 / 166
  1 99,487 5.8 FF–Lab (1993–94)
FG–Lab–DL (1994–97)
1997
6 / 166
  1 123,102 7.9 Minority FF–PD
2002
17 / 166
  11 176,305 9.5 FF–PD
2007
5 / 166
  12 106,429 5.2 FF–Green–PD
2011
14 / 166
  9 269,703 12.1 FG–Labour
2016
19 / 158
  5 338,215 15.9 FG–Ind minority

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Electoral (Amendment) Act 2002, Section 1, Amendment of Electoral Act 1992". Irish Statute Book. 25 March 2002. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Electoral (Amendment) Act 2002, Section 2, Amendment of European Parliament Elections Act 1997". Irish Statute Book. 25 March 2002. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Electoral (Amendment) Act 2002, Section 3, Amendment of Local Elections Regulations 1995". Irish Statute Book. 25 March 2002. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Electoral Act 1992, Section 46, Nomination of Candidates". Irish Statute Book. 5 November 1992. Retrieved 13 July 2019.

Further readingEdit

  • Weeks, Liam (2017). Independents in Irish party democracy. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719099601.