My forthcoming book, A Just Society for Ireland? 1964-87, is now available to pre-order. Further details, including the introductory chapter, can be found below.
Fine Gael’s demise has been periodically predicted since 1933. Yet it has survived, becoming the largest party in the state after the 2011 general election. Drawing on interviews with key players and previously unused archival sources, this book offers a fascinating account of a critical period in Fine Gael’s history when the party was challenged to define its place in Irish politics. The central role played by Declan Costello is disclosed for the first time. Although he was never party leader, his Just Society proposals transformed Fine Gael by encouraging a new generation of socially-minded politicians, while his agenda for change paved the way for Garret FitzGerald. Exploring the continuities and discontinuities between Costello’s Just Society and FitzGerald’s Constitutional Crusade, the book documents how the internal debate shaped the party and provides an insight into the origins of an identity crisis with which Fine Gael continues to struggle. It also offers a commentary on Irish society, and explores the difficulties faced by an older generation as it sought to locate itself in a changing Ireland.
You can read the introduction here.
One: A New Ireland?
Two: Winning the Party?
Three: 1965: The First Failure
Four: 1969: The Second Failure
Five: From Leader in Crisis to Leader in Government
Six: The National Coalition, 1973-77
Seven: 1980s: New Leader, New Party
Eight: The Constitutional Crusade
Nine: A Liberal Ireland?