From De Valera to Varadkar: The Transformation of Irish Politics

The rise of Sinn Féin in Ireland was dramatically underlined over 100 years ago with the election of Éamon de Valera in the Clare East by-election. One thing Sinn Féin came to rely on during that election and beyond was youthful enthusiasm, vigour and focus, in contrast to an older and tired Irish Parliamentary Party. As with all generational shifts, it caused tension. Later, Lemass's Fianna Fail had to sustain the momentum and convince its members and the electorate it could deliver something new and different and that it had a new project for a new generation: advancing the cause of Irish nationalism well beyond the limited home rule that had been part of the constitutional crusade at Westminster in previous decades. Peter will examine how successive governments in Ireland changed the political landscape, and whether Varadkar is a major departure from his predecessors or not.