Fianna Fáil


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Fianna Fáil

(fē`ənə fäl), Irish political party, organized in 1926 by opponents of the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 establishing the Irish Free State and setting up Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom. Led by Eamon De ValeraDe Valera, Eamon
, 1882–1975, Irish statesman, b. New York City. He was taken as a child to Ireland. As a young man he joined the movement advocating physical force to achieve Irish independence and took part in the Easter Rebellion of 1916.
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, the party gained control of the government in 1932 and pursued a policy of complete political separation from Great Britain. Except for the years 1948–51 and 1954–57, it held power continuously until 1973, when it lost to an alliance of the Fine GaelFine Gael
, Irish political party. Formed in 1933, it was the successor of the party founded by William Cosgrave that held power from the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922 until ousted by the republican Fianna Fáil in 1932.
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 and Labor parties. Fianna Fáil held power again under Jack LynchLynch, Jack
(John Mary Lynch), 1917–99, Irish statesman. Before he embarked on his political career, he gained nationwide fame as an athlete, captaining several winning hurling teams in the 1930s and 40s.
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 (1977–79) and Charles HaugheyHaughey, Charles James
, 1925–2006, Irish politician. A successful accountant and real estate investor, he entered Parliament as a Fianna Fáil member in 1957.
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 (1979–81), but lost once more to the Fine Gael. After a brief return to power under Haughey in 1982, it remained in opposition until 1987, when it once again formed a government under Haughey (after 1989 in coalition with the Progressive Democrats). When scandal forced his resignation in 1992, Albert ReynoldsReynolds, Albert,
1935–2014, Irish political leader. A successful business executive, Reynolds won (1977) a seat in the Irish parliament as a member of the Fianna Fáil party.
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 succeeded him, heading a Fianna Fáil–Labor coalition. Reynolds resigned in 1994, and a Fine Gael–Labor coalition came to power. The party returned to power in 1997 under Bertie AhernAhern, Bertie
(Bartholomew Patrick Ahern) , 1951–, Irish politician, prime minister of the Republic of Ireland (1997–2008). Born into a working-class family, he studied accounting at University College, Dublin.
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, in coalition with the Progressive Democrats until 2009 and with the Greens from 2007 to 2011. When Ahern resigned in 2008, Brian CowenCowen, Brian,
1960– Irish political leader, prime minister of the Repubic of Ireland (2008–11). A lawyer from a family long involved in Fianna Fáil politics, he was first elected to the Irish parliament in 1984, winning his late father's seat.
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 succeeded him as party leader and prime minister. Michael Martin became party leader in 2011, when Fianna Fáil placed third in an election held during a financial crisis. The party regained strength in 2016 and placed second, narrowly behind Fine Gael.