Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 052
Irisn Fiana Fail. 051
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
For the concepts and variables below, use these links to Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey:
Governmental Status
Issue Orientation
Goal Orientation
Organizational Complexity
Organizational Power
Organizational Coherence
Membership Involvement
The "ac" code is for "adequacy-confidence"--a
data quality measure ranging from 0 (low) to 9 (high)
Party name and code number
Irish party (Soldiers of Destiny), 051, Fiana Fail, FF, 051
information base and researchers information on the Fiana Fail was coded from 79 documents and 811 pages of literature, all in english, on party politics in Ireland. 254 pages, or 31 percent, deals with the Fiana Fail. Jeffrey millstone indexed the literature. Qonnie Laughlin coded the first two variable clusters, Alan Kaplan coded the fifth, sixth, and seventh clusters, and Mary Welfing coded the eighth through eleventh clusters.

Institutionalization Variables, 1.01-1.06
1.01 year of origin and 1.02 name changes
1926, AC9
0, AC5
Fiana Fail was founded as a result of a rupture within Sinn Fein over the 1921 treaty with great britain concerning the status of the Irish free state within the commonwealth. Hard-line republicans wanted complete independence and refused to fill their elected seats in the parliament. By 1926, eamon De Valera abandoned this policy of abstentionism and formed a new party, Fiana Fail, which accepted parliamentary participation for the purpose of revising the constitution for greater independence. There is no evidence of name changes.
1.03 organizational discontinuity
0, AC5
There are no references to any splits or mergers in the literature.
1.04 leadership competition
11, AC3
De Valera founded Fiana Fail and was its leader through 1959. He stepped down as prime minister in 1959 and was replaced by Lemass. Information is sparse but it appears that Lemass also replaced De Valera as party leader. The process of leadership change has been inferred to be overt and involving less than 100 members.
1.05 / 2.05 legislative instability and strength instability is .06, AC8
Strength is .46 for first half, AC8, and .52 for second half, AC9
Fiana Fail always held the largest per cent of the seats but held a majority only in 1957-1960.
1.06 / 2.06 electoral instability and strength instability is .04, AC9
Strength is .45 for first half, AC9, and .46 for second half, AC9
Based on elections in 1951, 54, 57, and 61, Fiana Fail always got the largest per cent of the votes, but never obtained a majority.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
 2.01 government discrimination
0 for first half, AC3
1 for second half, AC6
There is really no information for the first half. In the second half there is one reference to the fact that Fiana Fail used the electoral system to favor itself when in government.
2.02 governmental leadership
4 out of 7 for first half, AC9
6 out of 6 for second half, AC9
Fiana Fail held the position of government leadership for most of our time period, except from 1948-51 and 1954-57 during the first half of our time period. Fiana Fail won the elections held in march, 1957, and continued in power throughout the second half of our time period.
2.03 cabinet participation
4 out of 7 for first half, AC9
6 out of 6 for second half, AC9
When Fine Gael was in power 1948-51 and 1954-57, there were no Fiana Fail members in the cabinet. Fiana Fail held power for the rest of our time period, and constituted the entire cabinet in those years.
2.04 national participation
6, AC9
Fiana Fail was a national party during our period. It got no less than 45 per cent of the votes cast, contested every constituency, and held at least half of the seats in 31 of 40 districts. It drew support from widely scattered areas of the country.
2.07 outside origin
5, AC9
Fiana Fail was founded by De Valera, who at the time of founding was one of the Sinn Fein abstentionists (those elected to the parliament who chose to boycott it). In fact, he founded the party to return to their seats in parliament.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
 5.01 ownership of means of production
1, AC5
Fiana Fail favored limited government ownership for the purpose of economic planning and for maintaining an industry or area of land that is in the process of decay.
5.02 government role in economic planning
3, AC8
Fiana Fail favored governmental controls and planning in agriculture, industrial developments, and particularly in trade with foreign countries. It favored economic programmes and high protectionist tariFFs for developing the economy.
5.03 redistribution of wealth
1, AC3
It is inferred from a statement in the Fiana Fail constitution that the party favors some redistribution of power and wealth potential by advocating that industries be ruralized and not concentrated in urban areas. The purpose of the proposal is to erode the diFFerences between the rich and the poor.
5.04 social welfare
5, AC8
The Fiana Fail advocates universally available welfare and public assistance, including national credit, aid to the poor and aged, national health service, and an income assurance plan. The improvements in social welfare are based on Pope John xxiii's encyclicals.
5.05 secularization of society
3, AC7
The Fiana Fail is benevolent to the christian religion and to the roman catholic bishops, but does not want church intrigue and interference in policy formation.
5.06 support of the military
1, AC8
The Fiana Fail, along with a majority of the population, is apathetic to the military. Therefore, the military is not given preferential treatment in the budget.
5.07 alignment with east-west blocs
1, AC8
Fiana Fail advocated neutrality towards both the east and west blocs , but respected the democratic principles of government and principle of the free states over communism.
5.08 anti-colonialism
5, AC8
Fiana Fail's major aim is to become completely independent from great britain, to establish a free Ireland that is economically self-contained and self-suFFicient, and to be neutral in international politics. The Fiana Fail was originally the anti-treaty party of the 1920"s, which was against the british-Irish partition treaty of 1923.
5.09 supranational integration
3, AC8
By advocating and favoring Ireland's entry into the european economic community, the Fiana Fail favors an economic federation which would help each individual nation. The Fiana Fail does not favor political alliances or federation and advocates Irish neutrality.
5.10 national integration
5, AC9
The code for the Fiana Fail is based on the issue of the partition of northern Ireland. The party advocates a centralized Irish state and the incorporation of northern Ireland into that state.
5.11 electoral participation
5, AC3
From the lack of information on this variable, it is inferred that the Fiana Fail favors maintaining the present system of universal suFFrage.
5.12 protection of civil rights
5, AC3
The Fiana Fail advocates the outlawing of discrimination acrosss all areas of social life. Since there is no evidence to the contrary, it is inferred that the party in no way limits civil rights.
5.13 interference with civil liberties
3, AC9
Fiana Fail recognized the need for free expression and discussion in politics. It did not favor political censorship, and the party was dedicated to the principles of democracy, as espoused by its leader De Valera. There were restrictions, however, on the publication of material oFFensive to public morale.
5.14 / 5.15 US--Soviet experts left-right ratings
US says 2, center
Soviets say 1, represents the interests of the nationalistically oriented bourgeoisie and major farmers.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
 6.00 open competition in the electoral process
4, AC9
The FF favors and relies on open competition, as illustrated in its electoral campaigns and maneuvers for coalition government.
6.10 restricting party competition
0, AC9
The FF is not oriented to the restriction of party competition, but does want to favor its position by changing the electoral system from proportional representation to the single transferable vote.
6.20 subverting the political system
0, AC9
The FF is not oriented to subverting the political process, which has kept the party in power for a number of years.
6.30 propagandizing ideas and program
6.31--2, AC9. The party frequently performs the activities of using the mass media, especially during campaigns. It controls three newspapers and makes party political broadcasts during campaigns.
6.32--ac1. No information
6.33--2, AC8. The party frequently prints resolutions, especially during campaign years.
6.34--2, AC7. The party frequently issues position papers on administrative, legislative, and financial questions.
6.50 providing for welfare of party members
6.52, 6.54, 6.55--ac1. No information.
6.51--2, AC7. The party occasionally provides this kind of social welfare, especially during campaign years. Our consultant says that most of Fiana Fail's local party organization function as machines, providing services, occasional jobs, and the "nickel and dime" type of goods for which u.s. Machines (often manned by the Irish) were famous.
6.53--2, AC8. The party encourages the helping of citizens, and has created a professional-client relationship.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
 7.01 sources of funds
7, AC5
More than two-thirds of the party's monetary support comes from party sources and the party bureaucracy through subscriptions, events, dues and contributions.
7.02 source of members
5 (sectors 02, 04), AC6
Party membership is entirely direct and comes from all sectors of society, primarily, however, from shopkeepers and farmers.
7.03 sources of leaders
4 (sectors 01, 03), AC4
Frasure had been a unionist, but his successor nash had not, moreover, only about 1/4 of the m.p.s were working class. Teachers and other professionals also became well represented.
7.04 relations with domestic parties
7, AC9
The party is completely autonomous and only engaged in an alliance with the independents as an opportunistic tactic. The party does not advocate any sort of coalition or power sharin and stated that once in power it would only carry out the Fiana Fail party line.
7.05 relations with foreign organizations
5, AC5
The Fiana Fail does not appear to be aFFiliated with any international orgainzation.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
 8.01 structural articulation
7, AC8
The Fiana Fail has three national organs--the ard-fheis or annual convention, the national executive committee, and the parliamentary group. Although the status of the parliamentary group is unclear, the selection procedures and functions of the first two groups are clearly specified.
8.02 intensiveness of organization
4, AC8
The basic unit of the Fiana Fail is the cumann or branch.
8.03 extensiveness of organization
6, AC7
The branch organizations of the Fiana Fail are spread throughout the country, although most branches tend to be personal organizations and most are dormant except at election time.
8.04 frequency of local meetings
2, AC3
Since the branches are largely dormant except at election time, and since the party constitution does not state how frequently branches must meet, it is inferred that they meet only during campaigns.
8.05 frequency of national meetings
7, AC6
The constitution of the Fiana Fail states that the national executive committee is to meet weekly in Dublin.
8.06 maintaining records
6, AC3
There is no evidence of a party archive. There is no mention of membership lists, but since new members must pay registration fees and sign a declaration accepting Fiana Fail principles, it is inferred that the party must have some sort of membership list. Our consultant reports, however, that these records are disorganized, haphazard, and incomplete. The party controls the Irish press, has a monthly propaganda bulletin called gleas, and engages in considerably more propaganda at election time.
8.07 pervasiveness of organization
0, AC7
There is no evidence to suggest that the Fiana Fail controls any ancillary organizations.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
 9.01 nationalization of structure
6, AC6
National organs are supreme to local ones and act directly on the branches, districts, and constituencies. There are no regional organs.
9.02 selecting the national leader
7, AC6
Lemass apparently replaced De Valera as national leader in 1959, but there is no information in our file on how Lemass was selected. Our consultant states that he was selected by the top party clique.
9.03 selecting parliamentary candidates
5, AC8
Constituency conventions select parliamentary candidates, but the national executive committee determines the number of candidates, can add or suggest further candidates, and ratifies the choices of the constituencies.
9.04 allocating funds
2, AC5
Branches, districts, and constituencies collect funds. Some funds are transferred from lower levels to the national executive committee. Constituencies are primarily responsible for allocating money for campaigns, but other allocation responsibilities are not specified.
9.05 formulating policy
7, AC6
Our information file says nothing about policy formations in Fiana Fail. Our consultant advises that the party leader and his immediate colleagues determined most party policies.
9.06 controlling communications
7, AC3
There is no information on the control of the party media, but it is inferred that national organs control the media. The Irish press, the Fiana Fail major paper, appears to be influential.
9.07 administering discipline
4, AC6
The party constitution gives the national executive committee power to expel members and to remove oFFicers at all levels.
9.08 leadership concentration
6, AC3
It is inferred from the attention given to De Valera that he was the primary party leader and authoritative spokesman. It is unclear whether Lemass or any other leader shared decision-making power, but through 1959 De Valera was clearly the dominating personality of Fiana Fail.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
 10.01 legislative cohesion
.95, AC3
There is no specific information on voting in the Irish parliament, oireachtas, but it is inferred from statements on the strict discipline of Irish parliamentary parties that the Fiana Fail was highly cohesive.
10.02 ideological factionalism
0, AC7
There is no evidence of ideological factions in Fiana Fail during our period.
10.03 issue factionalism
0, AC7
There is no evidence of issue factionalism in the Fiana Fail.
10.04 leadership factionalism
0, AC8
De Valera was the undisputed leader of the FF until Lemass, his expected successor, took over in 1959. Lemass attracted the younger element of the party, but there is no evidence that his followers created a faction or disputed the leadership of De Valera.
10.05 strategic or tactical factionalism
0, AC7
There is no evidence of strategic or tactical factions.
10.06 party purges
0, AC7
There is no evidence of purges in the Fiana Fail.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 membership requirements
3, AC6
To be a member of the Fiana Fail, one must sign a declaration accepting the constitution, coru, of the party and pay annual dues.
11.02 membership participation
No information
11.03 material incentives
2, AC3
There is little information on incentives, but it seems likely that many militants were motivated by material incentives since Fiana Fail was usually the government party and since there seems to have been a lack of other incentives.
11.04 purposive incentives
0, AC4
Although the Fiana Fail had roots in the issues of the civil war, and although highly explosive questions such as the partition treaty have created the present party divisions, these questions have little relevance during our time period, and there are few ideological or issue diFFerences between the parties
11.05 doctrinism
0, AC7
There does not appear to be any written doctrine of the Fiana Fail.
11.06 personalism
2, AC3
De Valera was the dominant figure of the Fiana Fail and had almost a mythical aura about him because of his role in the civil war and his creation of the party. Our consultant states that personalism is one of the most pervasive themes in Irish politics, accounting not only for De Valera's following but for a substantial part of the whole network of party organization , not least of all at the grass roots level.