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Ireland’s Political Earthquake

February 12, 2020

Episode Notes:

Ireland has just experienced a political earthquake. On Feb. 8, Sinn Féin — a left-wing nationalist party and the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) — had its best showing ever in the Irish general election. It appealed to voters yearning for a break from the political status quo, and upset with the rising cost of housing and healthcare. Sinn Féin earned 24 percent of the vote, just edging out Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, the two dominant political parties. However, due to the country’s parliamentary system and its single transferrable vote system of proportional representation, Fianna Fáil won 38 parliamentary seats, eclipsing Sinn Féin by a single seat. Now the parties will negotiate to form a coalition government. This will be tricky, as the mainstream parties have long distanced themselves from Sinn Féin due to its links to the IRA.

Dr. Timothy Hoyt — John Nicholas Brown Chair of Counterterrorism and Director of the Advanced Strategy Program at the Naval War College — joins the WarCast to discuss Sinn Féin’s historic electoral success, and what it means for peace in Northern Ireland, Anglo-Irish ties, and the United States.

Disclaimer: Dr. Hoyt’s remarks are his own personal opinion and not those of the U.S. government, Department of Defense, or Naval War College. 

[ 01:28 ] Sinn Féin and Irish politics

[ 05:45 ] Takeaways from Irish elections

[ 08:39 ] Implications for peace in Northern Ireland and Irish unification

[ 11:00 ] Impact of Brexit

[ 13:05 ] Anglo-Irish ties

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