Saturday, 5 March 2016

5‭ ‬March‭ ‬1957:‭ ‬A General Election was held in the Republic of Ireland on this day.‭ ‬The election had been called by the Taoiseach John A.‭ ‬Costello [above]who feared a defeat in the House on a vote of no confidence in his Government.‭ ‬He led a coalition of his own Fine Gael,‭ ‬the Labour Party and‭ ‬Clann na Talmhan.‭ ‬By‭ ‬1957‭ ‬the Economic situation at home was dire with huge numbers of young people having to emigrate.‭ ‬The protectionist‭ ‬policies followed by all governments since the‭ ‬1930s were clearly not working.‭ ‬Despite their earlier support for such measures‭ ‬Fianna Fáil‭ ‬now changed tack.‭ ‬They committed themselves to dropping barriers to International Trade in the hope of stimulating investment in Ireland.‭ ‬Even though‭ ‬Éamon de Valera‭ ‬was‭ ‬75‭ ‬years old he set out on one final General election Campaign and his huge personal following was a decisive factor in swinging the election‭ ‬Fianna Fáil’s‭ ‬way.

When the results were announced they broke down as follows:

Fianna Fáil‭ ‬(Éamon de Valera‭)‬:‭ ‬78‭ ‬TDs‭ (‬+13‭)
Fine Gael‭ (‬Richard Mulcahy‭)‬:‭ ‬40‭ ‬TDs‭ (‬-‭ ‬10‭)
Labour Party‭ (‬William Norton‭)‬:‭ ‬11‭ ‬TDs‭ (‬-7‭)
Sinn Fein‭ (‬Paddy McLogan‭)‬:‭ ‬4‭ ‬TDs (did not take their seats)
Clann na Talmhan‭ (‬Joseph Blowick‭)‬:‭ ‬3‭ ‬TDs‭ (‬-‭ ‬2‭)
Clann na Poblachta‭ (‬Seán MacBride‭) ‬1‭ ‬TD‭ (‬-2‭)

When the votes were counted it was clear that Fianna Fáil had achieved an overall majority.‭ ‘‬The Chief‭’ ‬had won his greatest electoral victory and became Taoiseach for the last time.‭ ‬He retired from the post in‭ ‬1959‭ ‬and was elected President of Ireland.‭ ‬This General Election was the start of an unbroken run of‭ ‬16‭ ‬years in Government for Fianna Fáil that was to last until‭ ‬1973.

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