General Election, 17th February 1987

Factfile

25th DAIL (166 DEPUTIES)

Others include: the Progressive Democrats; the Workers Party; the Communist Party of Ireland; the Democratic Socialist Party; the Green Alliance - Comhaontas Glas; Sinn Fein; and non-party candidates

Turnout 73%
Number of women elected - 14 (8%)

Elected for Clare : Sile de Valera (FF), Donal Carey (FG),
Brendan Daly (FF), Madeleine Taylor - Quinn (FG)

Election held against background of economic crisis with highest ever recorded current budget deficit, and record unemployment at 250,178

Four-week campaign dominated by key issues of the economy, emigration and unemployment  

Progressive Democrats, founded January 1986, contest their first general election and win fourteen seats, now third largest party in new Dail

FG wins two of the four seats in Clare with just 28% of first preference vote; PDs poll 11% first preferences in Clare

Outgoing Tanaiste Dick Spring (Lab) holds Kerry North seat by margin of five votes

Fianna Fail election slogan: "Cuts hurt the old and the poor"

Workers Party slogan: "Tax the greedy not the needy"

FF targets 1985 Anglo - Irish - Agreement, proposes amendments in face of all-party consensus on Agreement ; subsequently FF decides to accept Agreement

FF proposes abolishing unpopular DIRT tax, subsequently have second thoughts about it leading to media accusations of U-turn on policy issues

Sinn Fein, contesting first election on participationist policy, protests at section 31 media restrictions

Amongst new parliamentarians are Michael McDowell (PD), Geraldine Kennedy (PD), Charles Flanagan (FG), Anne Colley (PD), Jimmy Deenihan (FG), Senator Brendan Howlin (Lab), Emmet Stagg (Lab), Michael Lowry (FG), Mairin Quill (PD), Mary Coughlan (FF), Tom Kitt (FF), John O’Donoghue (FF), Dermot Ahern (FF), Jim Higgins (FG), Noel Dempsey (FF), Dick Roche (FF)

Barry Desmond (Lab, Dun Laoghaire) subjected to anonymous "whisper campaign" alleging he favours widespread availability of contraceptives

PD billboard slogan "Dessie can do it"

Final election result : FF 81, FG 51, Lab 12, Others 22

March 10 : Charles Haughey elected Taoiseach of minority FF govt on casting vote of Ceann Comhairle after tied Dail vote 82 - 82, Brian Lenihan Tanaiste

March 11: Garret Fitzgerald resigns as FG leader; March 21, Alan Dukes elected new leader

    "They can’t think and they can’t speak but, by God, those fellows go out in the rain."
    - Anonymous PD strategist on FF election workers

    "We do not inherit the earth from our parents - we borrow it from our children"
    - Green Alliance - Comhaontas Glas

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