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Our political system is dominated by two big parties,


Phinney Gael and Fianna Fail


The countries have a clear dividing line between the leading political


groups but in Ireland, were different.


So what, if anything, does divide the two


power centers of Irish politics?


In Ireland we don't fish the international pattern,


but closeness of the village community viewed as family,


friendship, commerce and politics,


making each a personal affair.


You see there's a big block on the left.


Basically, people who favor higher taxes to pay


for better public services, state involvement in the economy.


And then there's a bloc on the right who back lower taxes


and favorite market solutions.


But in Ireland, with two big parties and they're both,


broadly speaking, right ish.


Down the decades, they've moved further right or to


the left, but they've generally sat around


the center of the political spectrum.


This is the way of things in Ireland.


It is the politicians role provide the linkage


between country man and bureaucrats.


So where are they today? At the last general election,


party carried out an exit poll asking people to place


themselves on a left right scale of zero being


very left wing and tending very right wing.


The mean or average voter was at four


point nine eight pretty much bang in the centre.


But supporters of Fine Gael and Thena Fall were at


five point eight four and five point seven respectively.


In other words, both are slightly to the right


of the average voter and the two are almost


exactly the same.


So in crude terms, they're both targeting


the same market, but there could be differences on other issues.


So nationalism, for instance, and that's the issue that


divided Fini Gale and Fianna Fail in the first place.


To stem from the Sinn Fein party, which split


in the early 1920s over the Anglo Irish Treaty,


the local common and or branch of Fianna Fáil traces


its genealogy directly from the first Sinn


Fein common in the peninsula.


Secretary of the Commons John MacIntyre.


Fianna Fáil descended from followers of Aymond Devil


Arah, who thought the treaty didn't give Ireland no freedom,


while in a Gael's political ancestors went with


Michael Collins, who saw it as the best deal available.


Like Harry Shields, who since the day in 1921


when he raised his hand for the treaty, remained a


loyal member of the other party.


[Being a girl, we had a meeting being held up, and they will do all we can know.


And then.


And they made you work? Yeah.


If I get caught, I would have played.


I shook hands anyway, who were for or against to give


that game when a group played,


a few of them young children.


Andrew clear that the treaty had been good to you,


and I know it kept my hand from that.


I always wanted that bag.]


Nowadays, being a fool would see itself as founder


on the national question, basically more engaged in the idea


of a united Ireland for what it has taken a hard


nationalist line in opposition.


It's not always the same in government.


And the key example is Charlie Harvey's response to the


1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, which basically


gave the republic a say in the affairs of Northern Ireland in


return for recognition of the border point


denounced it as a sellout.


While he was in opposition, in the light of my political


objectives, which are the ultimate reunification


of Ireland, in my view, this agreement today,


there was serious damage to that concept


and puts it away into the far distant future, if ever.


But once he got back into government, he worked it like


it was his idea all along.


In the same way, Fine Gael sees itself as the party of law and


order tough on Republican paramilitaries.


But then in the 1950s, if any gay led government refused,


introduce and termina to stop the IRA border campaign.


When deviltry got back in, the IRA leaders very quickly found


themselves in turn on the border campaign just run out of steam.


If it's not the six counties and it's not the left writing,


the other dividing line in European politics is very


often well, Europe, but both parties


are very pro EU.


Broadly similar when it comes to church state relations as well.


So what is it that in 1999, two political


scientists, Michael Gallaher and Michael March, decided to


ask members of any Gaelic ferry question


they discovered to their surprise a thirty nine


percent of Finegan or saw no real policy difference


between their party and 3:47, as Gallaher


and March concluded with considerable understatement.


This was a pattern that we would not expect to


find in any other European country.


So you could say the persistence of the divide is partly


down to tradition, but also habits.


For decades, people tended to vote for the party


that their parents voted for.


So much so the party activists, particularly


in rural areas, could actually tell which households


voted which way.


[Mandy, you know some of them better than myself.


I think that's forced her to hear what she


had to vasili in the fall.


And let's just cross


a different deal.




The next she got her shallow hershe butler


as tricolour would have been found in the file.


But his wavefront been Fanueil


and I don't know what with voted off to the right, but


furnished home from him.]


From there, the differences seemed to overcome differences of


perception, how they see themselves and how they see each other.


Finegan would see itself as the party most loyal


to the state, which it always points out was.


Hounded by the party's forerunners, paedophile members


insisted it wasn't a party, but more a national movement


representing all classes and sectors of society.


For decades claimed to be the real Labor Party.


And it consistently won huge working class support.


But at the same time, winning the support of business people,


it claimed it was just better at politics and better


at government than 50 Gael.


Until the economic crash destroyed its reputation


for competence and left a trail in its traditional rival.


Since then, it's been trying to rebuild.


But there's an election coming up sooner, if not later.


And the Fianna Fáil leader me hallmarked


will be looking to get into the peace box office like


every one of the party's leaders before him,


success matters to both parties.


Being in power, matters to both parties


winning or losing matters to both parties.


And maybe that's the real difference between them.


Rainfall teashop Sean Lamar certainly thought so.


Asked back in the 60s to explain the difference


between his party and Finn Gael, he had a succinct answer.


Simple, simply said were in their eyes.