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Our political system is dominated by two big parties,

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Phinney Gael and Fianna Fail

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The countries have a clear dividing line between the leading political

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groups but in Ireland, were different.

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So what, if anything, does divide the two

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power centers of Irish politics?

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In Ireland we don't fish the international pattern,

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but closeness of the village community viewed as family,

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friendship, commerce and politics,

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making each a personal affair.

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

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Basically, people who favor higher taxes to pay

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for better public services, state involvement in the economy.

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

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and favorite market solutions.

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

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broadly speaking, right ish.

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

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the left, but they've generally sat around

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the center of the political spectrum.

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This is the way of things in Ireland.

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It is the politicians role provide the linkage

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between country man and bureaucrats.

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

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party carried out an exit poll asking people to place

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themselves on a left right scale of zero being

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very left wing and tending very right wing.

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The mean or average voter was at four

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point nine eight pretty much bang in the centre.

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But supporters of Fine Gael and Thena Fall were at

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five point eight four and five point seven respectively.

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In other words, both are slightly to the right

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of the average voter and the two are almost

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exactly the same.

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So in crude terms, they're both targeting

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

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

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divided Fini Gale and Fianna Fail in the first place.

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To stem from the Sinn Fein party, which split

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in the early 1920s over the Anglo Irish Treaty,

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the local common and or branch of Fianna Fáil traces

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its genealogy directly from the first Sinn

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Fein common in the peninsula.

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Secretary of the Commons John MacIntyre.

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Fianna Fáil descended from followers of Aymond Devil

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

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while in a Gael's political ancestors went with

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

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Like Harry Shields, who since the day in 1921

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when he raised his hand for the treaty, remained a

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loyal member of the other party.

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

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And then.

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And they made you work? Yeah.

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If I get caught, I would have played.

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

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that game when a group played,

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a few of them young children.

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Andrew clear that the treaty had been good to you,

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and I know it kept my hand from that.

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I always wanted that bag.]

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Nowadays, being a fool would see itself as founder

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on the national question, basically more engaged in the idea

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of a united Ireland for what it has taken a hard

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nationalist line in opposition.

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It's not always the same in government.

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

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1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, which basically

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

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return for recognition of the border point

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denounced it as a sellout.

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

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objectives, which are the ultimate reunification

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of Ireland, in my view, this agreement today,

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there was serious damage to that concept

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

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

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it was his idea all along.

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

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order tough on Republican paramilitaries.

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

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introduce and termina to stop the IRA border campaign.

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

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

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

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the other dividing line in European politics is very

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often well, Europe, but both parties

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are very pro EU.

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

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So what is it that in 1999, two political

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scientists, Michael Gallaher and Michael March, decided to

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ask members of any Gaelic ferry question

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they discovered to their surprise a thirty nine

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percent of Finegan or saw no real policy difference

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between their party and 3:47, as Gallaher

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and March concluded with considerable understatement.

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This was a pattern that we would not expect to

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find in any other European country.

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So you could say the persistence of the divide is partly

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down to tradition, but also habits.

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For decades, people tended to vote for the party

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that their parents voted for.

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So much so the party activists, particularly

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in rural areas, could actually tell which households

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voted which way.

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

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I think that's forced her to hear what she

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had to vasili in the fall.

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And let's just cross

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a different deal.

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Yes.

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The next she got her shallow hershe butler

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as tricolour would have been found in the file.

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But his wavefront been Fanueil

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

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furnished home from him.]

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From there, the differences seemed to overcome differences of

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

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Finegan would see itself as the party most loyal

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to the state, which it always points out was.

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Hounded by the party's forerunners, paedophile members

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

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representing all classes and sectors of society.

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For decades claimed to be the real Labor Party.

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And it consistently won huge working class support.

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

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it claimed it was just better at politics and better

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at government than 50 Gael.

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Until the economic crash destroyed its reputation

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for competence and left a trail in its traditional rival.

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Since then, it's been trying to rebuild.

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

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And the Fianna Fáil leader me hallmarked

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will be looking to get into the peace box office like

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every one of the party's leaders before him,

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success matters to both parties.

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Being in power, matters to both parties

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winning or losing matters to both parties.

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And maybe that's the real difference between them.

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Rainfall teashop Sean Lamar certainly thought so.

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Asked back in the 60s to explain the difference

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

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Simple, simply said were in their eyes.