Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 052
Irish Fine Gael, 052
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
United Ireland, 052
Fine Gael, FG, 052
Information base and researchers
Information on the Fine Gael was coded from 79 documents and 811 pages of literature, all in english, on party politics in Ireland. 157 pages, or 19 per cent, deal with the Fine Gael. 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
1923, ac7
0, ac6
There is some discrepancy as to whether Fine Gael was formed in 1933 from the merger of the Farmers Party and Cumann na nGaedheal or if it is really the successor of Cumann na nGaedheal which means it started in 1923. The latter interpretation will be assumed since the ideology of the two was the same, and since some references cite the Fine Gael as the child of the 1921 split, and the Cumann na nGaedheal as one of the parties formed right after the split with the same ideology as the Fine Gael. Thus it is easy to assume that this is the same party. One source cites the fact that the party name was assumed in 1937 and that there has been no change since then. This is in line with the original assumption that the Fine Gael is the successor of the Cumann na nGaedheal. Otherwise the name change would have occurred in 1933. However, in either case the code remains 0, since scoring for this variable begins in 1941.
1.03 organizational discontinuity 0, ac5
There is no evidence of any splits or mergers after the 1930's in the literature.
1.04 leadership competition
11, ac4
The literature does not discuss leadership competition within Fine Gael with much clarity. O"Duffy, though not a member of parliament, was regarded as national party leader when Cumann na nGaedheal and the farmer party merged in 1933. He was succeeded by Cosgrave who in turn retired in favor of Mulcahy in 1944. Mulcahy had the title of party president, which he retained throughout Costello's tenure as prime minister (1948 - 1951) and leader of the opposition(1957 - 1959). Because Costello headed a coalition government and a coalition opposition, Mulcahy is treated as the organizational leader of the party. He was replaced in 1959 by James Dillon, who assumed both posts formerly held by Mulcahy and Costello and established a clear claim to the party leadership. In 1965, after the end of our time period, Dillon was succeeded by Liam Cosgrave. During our period, the processes of change appeared to be characterized by voluntary rather than involuntary resignation.
1.05 / 2.05 legislative instability and strength
instability is .12, ac8
Strength is .30 for first half, ac8, and .29 for second half, ac9
During our period, Fine Gael's percentage of seats never rose above one-third, entrenching it in second place behind Fianna Fail.
1.06 / 2.06 electoral instability and strength
instability is .10, ac9
Strength is .29 for first half, ac9, and .30 for second half, ac9
In elections in 1951, 54, 57, and 61, Fine Gael never got more than 33 per cent of the votes.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
 2.01 government discrimination
0 for the first half, ac3
-1 for the second half, ac6
There is one reference stating that the electoral act of 1959 favored Fianna Fail and discriminated against other parties. It was declared unconstitutional.
2.02 governmental leadership
5 out of 7 for first half, ac9
1 out of 6 for second half, ac9
The Fine Gael held government leadership from 1948 to 1951 and again from 1954 to 1957. Although elections were held early in the year, the variable requires any portion of a year to be counted as a whole year. Thus, years included for government leadership are 1950, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1957.
2.03 cabinet participation
5 out of 7 for first half, ac9
1 out of 6 for second half, ac9
The Fine Gael held cabinet positions in 1950, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1957. The Fianna Fail was in power from 1951 to 1954 and during the second half of our time period, and the Fine Gael did not participate in its cabinets.
2.04 national participation
6, ac8
There is strong evidence to support this code. The Fine Gael was a national party which contested every constituency and drew support from widely scattered areas of the country.
2.07 outside origin
4, ac8
In line with the interpretation that the Fine Gael was the continuation of the Cumann na Gaedheal (see variable 1.01) the party was formed by groups of legislators currently holding office.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
 5.01 ownership of means of production
1, ac5
The Fine Gael party opposed governmental ownership of basic industries and advocated taxes and fiscal policies which would encourage private enterprise. Our consultant states that Fine Gael has not fundamentally objected to the many state-sponsored bodies (the Irish term which covers a number of semi state enterprises) created under FF governments. The first public utility, the electricity supply board, was founded in 1927 under Cumann na nGaedheal.
5.02 government role in economic planning
3, ac9
The party favored an active governmental role in the development of industry and agriculture. It advocated the development of a department of economic planning, which would advise industry and coordinate state, local, and private interests in the economy.
5.03 redistribution of wealth
1, ac6
The party favored a redistribution of the wealth but only in the sense of taxes and incentives in fiscal policy to encourage private industry and to move that industry into rural areas.
5.04 social welfare
1, ac8
The party advocated voluntary assistance programs including a voluntary health insurance scheme, availability of interest-free loans, and protection of workers" jobs if world conditions should alter the economic environment. None of the programs were compulsory. Our consultant advises us that today the party is far more collectivist in its outlook.
5.05 secularization of society
1, ac8
The party took a benevolent attitude towards religion in general and the catholic church hierarchy in particular. The party originally took an independent stand on the 1950 health bill, which the church did not support. When the Fine Gael finally supported it, the church caused the government to fall.
5.06 support of the military
No information
5.07 alignment with east-west blocs
3, ac8
The party favored alliances with and support from the western countries, including joining the common market, opening up channels of aid with the United States, and allying with the west against communism.
5.08 anti-colonialism
3, ac7
The Fine Gael party advocated independence from Great Britain in its policy on partition of northern Ireland. It accepted some delay, illustrated by the party's acceptance of the partition treaty. Finally, it did not advocate disruption of relations with Great Britain, but rather favored membership in the commonwealth.
5.09 supranational integration
3, ac7
The party advocated political and economic alliances with other nations, while retaining individual state identity. It favored the common market, the commonwealth, and the atlantic partnership of President Kennedy.
5.10 national integration
5, ac4
Apparently the Fine Gael was a nationalist party that favored the assimilation of all segments of the society into the national political culture. Our consultant says that today it is no longer irredentist in its attitude towards northern Ireland.
5.11 electoral participation
5, ac3
From the lack of information, it is inferred that the Fine Gael wants to maintain the present system of universal suffrage.
5.12 protection of civil rights
No information
5.13 interference with civil liberties
No information
5.14 / 5.15 us--soviet experts left-right ratings
US says 1, conservative
Soviets say 1, defends the interests of major financial and industrial capital.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
 6.00 open competition in the electoral process
4, ac5
All evidence suggests that the Fine Gael is exclusively oriented to open competition in the electoral process.
6.10 restricting party competition
0, ac5
There is no evidence to suggest that the Fine Gael has attempted to restrict open competition.
6.20 subverting the political system
0, ac5
There is no evidence to suggest that the Fine Gael has attempted to subvert the political process.
6.30 propagandizing ideas and program
No information
6.50 providing for welfare of party members
6.51, 6.52, 6.54--ac1. No information.
6.53--1, ac3. During its period in government, it was identical to FF in its state of local politics. Even during its years as an "out" party, it performed this local contact role, though to a lesser degree owing to its severance from official sources of patronage.
6.55 - 1, ac3. From limited information it is inferred that the Fine Gael provided recreational services on a limited basis.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
 7.01 sources of funds
7, ac9
All of the party's support and funds comes from the party organization in the form of subscriptions, affiliation fees, collections such as church-gate collections, and social functions. The national council is responsible for collection and allocation of funds.
7.02 source of members
5 (sectors 02, 04), ac6
Party membership is direct and open to all sectors of society, but membership is drawn largely from shopkeepers and farmers.
7.03 sources of leaders
No information
7.04 relations with domestic parties
4 for first half, ac9
7 for second half, ac7
The Fine Gael was dependent on the labour party for its coalition governments during the first half of our time period, from 1948 to 1951 and again from 1954 to 1957. After 1957, Fine Gael and labour went separate ways, re-uniting after the end of our time period.
7.05 relations with foreign organizations
5, ac5
There is no evidence that the party is affiliated with any international organization.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
 8.01 structural articulation
7, ac8
The Fine Gael has three national organs--the ard-fheis or annual convention, the national council, and the parliamentary group. Although the status of the parliamentary group is unclear, the selection procedures and functions of the first two organs are clearly specified.
8.02 intensiveness of organization
4, ac8
The basic unit of the Fine Gael is the branch.
8.03 extensiveness of organization
6, ac7
The Fine Gael has branches throughout the country, although many are personal organizations and most are dormant except at election time.
8.04 frequency of local meetings
3, ac6
The branches appear to be dormant except at election time, but the party constitution states that each branch must meet once a year.
8.05 frequency of national meetings
4, ac6
The constitution of the Fine Gael requires that the national council meet quarterly or more frequently if necessary.
8.06 maintaining records
6, ac3
There is no evidence of archives. There is no mention of membership lists, but it is inferred that some sort of lists exist since new members must pay dues. The party periodically publishes several papers and engages in considerable propaganda, especially at election time.
8.07 pervasiveness of organization
0, ac7
There is no evidence to suggest that the Fine Gael controls any ancillary organizations.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
 9.01 nationalization of structure
6, ac6
The national organs act directly on local organizations--the branches, districts, and constituencies. There are no regional organs.
9.02 selecting the national leader
3, ac6
According to the party constitution, the president of the party is selected by the ard-fheis or national convention, whose delegates represent local organs.
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 council in an amount determined by the national council. Constituencies are primarily responsible for allocating money for campaigns. Other allocation responsibilities are not specified.
9.05 formulating policy
6, ac3
One source indicates that policy formulation in Irish parties takes place in the parliamentary group. It is inferred that this holds true of the Fine Gael.
9.06 controlling communications
5, ac3
There is no information on the control of party media, but it is inferred that national organs control the Fine Gael weekly and monthly papers. These publications appear to be small and not influential.
9.07 administering discipline
4, ac6
The party constitution gives the national council power to deprive individuals of membership, to dissolve local organs, and to call new elections for officers. The national council must consult the constituency executives to dissolve a branch or district executive.
9.08 leadership concentration
No information

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
 10.01 legislative cohesion
.95, ac3
There is no specific information on voting in the Irish parliament (Oreichtas) but it is inferred from statements on the strict discipline of Irish parliamentary parties that the Fine Gael is highly cohesive.
10.02 ideological factionalism
0, ac7
There is no evidence of ideological factionalism in the Fine Gael.
10.03 issue factionalism
0, ac7
There is no evidence of issue factionalism in the Fine Gael.
10.04 leadership factionalism
0, ac7
There is no evidence of leadership factionalism or opposition to the leadership of general Mulcahy through 1959 or to Dillon after 1959.
10.05 strategic or tactical factionalism
0, ac7
There is no evidence of strategic or tactical factions in ne gael.
10.06 party purges
0, ac7
There is no evidence of any purges in the Fine Gael in our time period.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 membership requirements
3, ac5
The only apparent membership requirements are the payment of a registration fee and annual dues.
11.02 membership participation
No information
11.03 material incentives
1, ac3
Through the apparent lack of other incentives, it is inferred that some militants are motivated by material incentives.
11.04 purposive incentives
0, ac3
Although the Fine Gael 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 is no evidence of any written doctrine for the Fine Gael.
11.06 personalism
0, ac5
It does not appear that any of the Fine Gael leaders have provided motivation for any of the party militants.