Independents; More for Tipperary/South Kerry/Wicklow is less for everyone else

Independents are back in the news this week, specifically Michael Lowry and his ‘will-he won’t-he’ be in the mix for government formation in a few weeks.

2011 was a peak election for non-party candidates but it looks like the numbers running in 2016 might exceed that previous high point. Independent candidates are not a new phenomenon in Irish politics. In fact, they have been one of the unusual features of the Irish party system for decades. The label independent is applied loosely and it covers a wide variety of candidates.

The first group of independents are those that are disaffected with their political parties. Usually they have been ‘shafted’ by the mother ship, to use the colloquial description and as a result, they choose to run as independent candidates. The Healy Rae dynasty is the epitome of this group.

Often, there is overlap between the disaffected party candidates and the next group of independents who might be classified as local community representatives or local promoter independents. This group includes community activists, who very often campaign on a set of specific local issues. They usually make up a large component of the independent candidates on the ballot. Local hospital candidates tend to be prominent among this group and a new collection are contesting in 2016 on the banner No GP, No Village. Continue reading

Reflections on the new architecture of European economic governance – 27 November

IRC Logo

Posted on behalf of Dr Emmanuelle Schon-Quinlivan

Since 2009, many articles and books have been written on the causes to the Eurozone crisis, the potential solutions as well as their consequences for European economic integration. Most of the literature has taken a liberal intergovernmentalist approach or even ‘new intergovermentalist’ stance which focuses on the prevalence of the Member States’ role in the handling of the crisis and the consequential relegation of the European Commission as an unwilling agent in manoeuvring to gain more powers. In a multi-level economic governance context which has seen the reshuffling of the power cards between the various stakeholders, this workshop has selected contributions addressing issues of power, supranational entrepreneurship and integration.

The workshop will take place at the NUI offices on Merrion Square on November 27. Everyone is welcome at the workshop, please email Dr Emmanuelle Schon-Quinlivan at to confirm attendance for catering purposes. Further information is available at Continue reading

Political Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference, 16-18 October, Cork


The annual conference of the Political Studies Association of Ireland will take place this weekend (16-18 October) in the Metropole Hotel in Cork. Information on conference registration is available at Please see below for more information on the roundtables, keynotes and parallel sessions over the weekend. For more information, please contact Dr Theresa Reidy at Continue reading

Upcoming Workshop: Electoral Management Policies and Priorities

IRC Logo

Electoral Management Policies and Priorities

On 16 October 2015, there will be a half-day workshop looking at electoral management practices in Ireland and abroad. The programme includes election specialists working on electoral management bodies, voter registration and the regulation of political parties. The workshop is taking place in the Metropole Hotel in Cork and everyone is welcome. Please email Dr Theresa Reidy on to confirm attendance (for catering purposes). The event is funded by a grant from the Irish Research Council under the New Foundations Scheme. Continue reading

Conference: Teaching politics in our universities: inspiring, inciting and enlightening

Posted on behalf of Dr Clodagh Harris (UCC)


The PSAI specialist group on teaching and learning in politics is holding an event in the NUI offices, 49 Merrion Square on Friday September 18th 2015. To register for the event, please contact Stefanie Wojtek at before 13:00 September 17th. The event is co-funded by the PSAI and the National Forum for the enhancement of teaching and learning in higher education.

The programme for the day is available below. Continue reading

Social Background and Political Attitudes

Intra-party attitudes graph


Posted on behalf of Michael Courtney, Dublin City University

This blog outlines the main arguments from a recent article published in Irish Political Studies by the author. The article is available free to download until the end of August at

There is considerable contemporary interest in maximising the efficacy of Irish democracy. This has manifested itself in proposals incentivising parties to run more female candidates at general elections and a constitutional convention which included, as far as practicable, people from wider range of socio-demographic backgrounds than would otherwise be found in the Dáil and Seanad. Continue reading

Upcoming Event: The Marriage Referendum; Predicting the General Election


Everyone is welcome at this post referendum seminar organised by the Voters, Parties and Elections Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland.The seminar will include presentations using data from the 2015 Referendum Study. Please email Jane or Theresa on to confirm your attendance for catering purposes. Further information on the referendum study is available at and the date, location and programme for the seminar is available below.

Conference Room, European Parliament Office, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.

1 July 2015 at 5.30pm

Continue reading