Ireland: Party Loyalists with a Personal Base

Michael Gallagher

in The Political Class in Advanced Democracies

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780199260362
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601873 | DOI:
 Ireland: Party Loyalists with a Personal Base

Show Summary Details


The Irish political class is rather small, encompassing very few positions outside the group of elected national parliamentarians. Because of the distinctive electoral system with preferential voting (PR-STV), MPs have to combine elements of 'entrepreneurs' and 'backbenchers'. While electoral survival and career advancement depends on the party, which demands strict loyalty, the individual MP must also build a personal home base in the local party organization and among the voters in the district. The cumulation of local and national elected offices is common: local offices provide both an entry point into a political career as well as help to sustain visibility even after a rise to higher levels. Because of their limited resources, party organizations cannot provide any safe fallback-positions or alternative career paths.

Keywords: backbencher; electoral system; entrepreneur; Ireland; local office; party cohesion; political class

Chapter.  8012 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.