Sunday, 28 February 2016

28‭ ‬February‭ ‬1973:‭ ‬General Election held on this day in the Republic of Ireland.‭ ‬As a result of which Fianna Fáil under Jack Lynch lost power.‭ ‬Fianna Fail‭ (‬Jack Lynch‭) [above] ‬won‭ ‬69‭ ‬seats‭; ‬Fine Gael‭
(‬Liam Cosgrave‭) ‬54‭ ‬seats and the Labour Party‭ (‬Brendan Corish‭) ‬19‭ ‬seats in Leinster House.‭ ‬As FF had not won an overall majority the way was open for the two Opposition Parties to form a Government.‭ ‬It was the first time there had been a change of Government since‭ ‬1957.‭

Liam Cosgrave of Fine Gael was elected as Taoiseach on‭ ‬14‭ ‬March as head of a coalition government‭ ‘‬the National Coalition‭’ ‬between the Fine Gael and Labour parties. The prospective Coalition had issued a joint‭ ‬14-point programme for change prior to the Election that emphasised bread and butter issues and a promise of social reform.‭ ‬The Arms Crises of‭ ‬1970,‭ ‬the continuing violence in the North,‭ ‬had damaged Fianna Fail.‭ ‬The coercive legislation brought in to deal with the IRA south of the Border did nothing to strengthen their perceived‭ ‘‬Republican‭’ ‬credentials.‭ ‬The Economy was performing poorly and the heightened economic expectations of the‭ ‬1960‭’‬s were not transferred into the early years of the decade.‭ ‬Basically though after so many years in power the people just wanted a change anyway and to give the others a chance.‭ 

Coverage of the general election by the national broadcaster RTE also saw a unique event.‭ ‬Jack Lynch,‭ ‬in an interview that night with Brian Farrell became the first Taoiseach to concede defeat live on Irish television.‭ ‬Although the full result was not known Lynch was certain that the transfers to other candidates would result in Fianna Fáil losing the general election.

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