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An Electoral History of The Catholic Right 1983 to present October 7, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

There were initially attempts to form Parties that rejected ‘The Liberal Agenda’ in the 70’s and 80’s . There were a number of attempts at setting up a Christian Democrat Party (Sean Dublin Bay Loftus named himself Seán D. Christian Democrat Dublin Bay Loftus in the 1973 General Election), In 1981 Daniel McCarron stood as a Christian Democrat in Dublin South Central although they were different groups. (Indeed Declan Waters stood as an Independent Christian Democrat in 2011 in Waterford)
The Christian Social Party and The Constitution Party were other attempts that never really got off the ground despite the distrust many on the Catholic Right had in Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.
This distrust continued until eventually The Christian Principles Party led by Frank Flanagan were founded and ran a number of candidates in the 1991 Local Elections. Two of them Dominic Noonan (polling 1048 in Clontarf) and Sean Clerkin (polling 1136 in Cabra) came close to winning seats.
They were relaunched as The Christian Centrist Party which ran a number of candidates in the 1992 General Election.
The X-Case set the Catholic Right in a spin. Youth Defence was founded. There was The Maastricht Referendum (which like almost every European Referendum was seen as a way of getting Abortion into Ireland) which many on the Catholic Right campaigned against.
The Government fell and we had The 1992 Abortion Referendum and General Election on the same day.

Aside from CCP a large number of Independents ran in 1992

1992 Pro Life Independents
Miriam Hogan -Carlow Kilkenny 2596 (4.7%)
Mary Smith – Cavan Monaghan -686 (1.2%)
Con O’Leary – Cork NC – 1038 (2.3%)
Niamh Nic Mhathúna – Dublin C – 514 (1.4%) (A founder member of Youth Defence)
Sean Dublin Bay Loftus – Dublin NC – 3551 (7.7%)
Richard Greene (endorsed by CCP)- Dublin South – 1671 (2.8%)
Sean Lyons – Dublin West – 1027 (2.8%)
Michael Quinn – Dun Laoghaire – 1705 (2.9%) (Ex Youth Defence and Far right movements such as DRM)
Darina Costelloe – Galway West – 1308 (2.6%)
Augustine Moore – Limerick East – 463 (1%)
Bridget Randles -Limerick West – 645 (2%)
Martin Hogan – Longford Roscommon – 459 (1%)
Brendan Cleary -Meath – 852 (1.7%)
Joe O’Gorman – Tipp South – 1016 (2.6%)
Tony Scott -Waterford -1312 (3.1%)
Stephen Price -Westmeath – 747 (2.4%)
Michael O’Connor -Wexford – 502 (1%)

1992 Christian Centrist Party candidates
Gerry Duffy -Cork NC – 449 (1%)
Patrick Doherty – Donegal NE – 487 (1.6%)
Joe MacDonough – Dublin NW -741 (2%)
Eamonn Murphy – Dublin SC – 832 (2.1%)

A Grand total of 23,505 (1.34% of the National Vote)

There was also a group in Limerick called ‘Solidarity’ led by Nora Bennis.
In the 1994 European Elections Bennis polled surprisingly well in Munster, Eamonn Murphy ran in Dublin and polled well too.
1994 European Elections
Eamonn Murphy -Ind- Dublin -9296 (3.3%)
Nora Bennis -Ind -Munster – 18424 (5.1%)

A Total of 27720 (2.43% of the National vote)

The Solidarity group and remnants of the CCP joined together to form the Christian Solidarity Party. The first CSP candidate was Catherine Kelly who contested the Cork South-Central by-election on the 10th of November 1994,polled 1,704 (4.0%) votes.
In turn there was a falling out and The National Party was founded by Bennis. Another Party Muintir na Éireann was set up in 1994 by Richard Greene

The 1997 General Election saw candidates from The National Party, Christian Solidarity Party, Richard Greene running for Muintir na Éireann as well as various Independents running on the following pro life policy.

The above candidates (plus one or two not on the list but were of similar ilk)received the following votes in the 1997 General Election…..
Michael Quinn -NP- Carlow Kilkenny – 870 (1.5%)
Gene Flood- CSP -Cavan–Monaghan – 1024 (1.7%)
Larry McGinn- CSP- Cavan–Monaghan – 1001 (1.7%)
Joe Aston -CSP- Clare – 499 (1.1%)
Mairead Scannell -NP – Cork East – 1637 (3.8%)
Con O’Leary -CSP – Cork NC -1114 (2.5%)
Eddie Mullins —CSP -Cork NC – 777 (1.8%)
Theresa Heaney -NP- Cork SW -1792 (5.1%)
Eamonn Murphy -Ind- Dublin C – 432 (1.2%)
Angela Keaveney —CSP- Dublin North – 666 (1.6%)
Sean Dublin Bay Loftus -Ind- Dublin NC- 2485 (5.8%)
Joe MacDonough -NP- Dublin NW – 614 (1.7%)
Richard Greene – MnE – Dublin South -1431 (2.5%)
Colm Callanan -Ind – Dublin SC – 91 (0.2%)
Marie Kirrane -NP -Dublin SE – 1169 (3.2%)
Sean Lyons -Ind -Dublin W -585 (1.5%)
Gerard Casey —CSP -Dún Laoghaire – 2000 (3.7%)
Liam Downes -NP – Galway W – 959 (2%)
Ciaran O’Connell -NP -Kerry N – 1288 (3.6%)
Peter McNamee-NP- Laois Offaly – 1099 (1.9%)
Nora Bennis – NP -Limerick East – 1533 (3.1%)
Ciaran Sherry -NP- Mayo – 733 (1.2%)
Brian Curran -CSP – Meath – 1031 (1.8%)
John Lacken – CSP -Sligo–Leitrim – 1359 (3%)
Margaret Carey -NP – Tipp North – 1295 (3.2%)
John Harold Barry -NP- Tipp South – 2125 (6%)
Declan Waters -NP- Waterford – 855 (1.9%)
Danny Murray -NP – Westmeath – 1118 (3.4%)
Michael O’Connor – Ind – Wexford – 616 (1.1%)

A total of 32,198 votes (1.78%)

The 1999 European Elections saw Dana after her 1997 run for the Presidency, elected to The European Parliament for Connaught-Ulster.
Gerard Casey – CSP – Dublin – 9425 (3.4%)
Dana – Ind – Conn-Ulster – 51086 (16%) – Elected
Father Liam Sharkey -Ind -5334 (1.7%)

Total 65,845 (4.73%)

The 2002 General Election saw The CSP and The National Party run candidates
Tony Smith -CSP -Cavan Monaghan – 358 (0.6%)
Derek Whelan – CSP – Clare – 176 (0.4%)
Patrick Manning – CSP -Cork East 187 (0.4%)
Gerry Duffy -CSP – Cork NC – 215 (0.5%)
Gerry Duffy -CSP – Cork NW – 383 (1.0%)
Theresa Heaney – Ind (NP) -Cork SW -748 (2.0%)
Paul O’Loughlin -CSP – Dub C – 366 (1.1%)
Colm Callanan -CSP – Dub MW – 107 (0.4%)
David Walshe- CSP -Dublin N – 247 (0.6%)
Michael Larkin – CSP – Dub NW – 154 (0.6%)
Darragh O’Reilly(ex FF) -CSP – Dub SW – 760 (2.1%)
John Smyth – CSP – Dub W – 134 (0.4%)
Michael Redmond – CSP – Dun Laoghaire – 265 (0.5%)
Manus Mac Meanamáin – CSP – Galway East – 93 (0.2%)
Dana -Ind- Galway West – 1677 (3.4%)
Michael Redmond – CSP – Laois Offaly – 142 (0.2%)
Nora Bennis – NP – Limerick East – 479 (1.0%)
Conor O’Donoghue – CSP – Limerick East – 86 (0.2%)
Patrick O’Riordan -CSP -Limerick West – 144 (0.4%)
Brian Lineman -CSP -Longford -Roscommon – 80 (0.2%)
Michael Maguire -CSP -Louth – 79 (0.2%)
Michael Redmond – CSP – Meath – 180 (0.3%)
John Lacken -CSP – Sligo Leitrim – 166 (0.3%)
Michael Larkin – CSP – Tipp South -120 (0.3%)
Declan Waters – CSP -Waterford – 335 (0.7%)
Patrick Walsh -CSP – Westmeath – 126 (0.4%)
Michael O’Connor – CSP – Wexford – 173 (0.3%)

A total of just 7,980 votes (0.42% of the vote)

The 2004 European Elections saw Kathy Sinnott win a seat in Ireland South, whilst Dana lost her seat in Ireland North West. Although Pro-Life , it was as a disability rights campaigner that Sinnott was elected.
Kathy Sinnott -Ind – South – 89127 (18.4%) was Elected
Barry Despard CSP -Dublin – 5352 (1.3%)
Justin Barrett – Ind – East – 10997 (2.4%)
Dana -Ind- North West – 56992 (13.5%) -lost her seat

A large total of 162,468 votes (9.12 % of the vote)

The 2007 General Election saw a massive drop in candidates from the Catholic Right, with all polling very poorly.
Mary Doherty -CSP – Donegal NE – 339 (0.9%)
Paul O’loughlin -CSP -Dublin C – 260 (0.8%)
Cathal Loftus (CSP) -Dublin North – 210 (0.4%)
Michael Redmond – CSP – Dublin SC – 155 (0.3%)
Colm Callanan -CSP -Laois Offaly – 156 (0.2%)
Conor O’Donoghue – CSP – Limerick East – 171 (0.3%)
Colm Callanan -CSP- Longford Westmeath – 124 (0.2%)
Declan Waters – Ind -Waterford – 270 (0.5%)

1,685 votes (0.08% of the vote)

The 2009 European Elections saw Libertas who had campaigned against the Lisbon Treaty , field candidates. A populist Eurosceptic Right Wing Pro Life party led by Declan Ganley they probably overstretched themselves by having candidate Europe wide rather than just concentrating on Ireland. They were a lost opportunity for the Catholic Right here in that they had an articulate leader and a broader platform than being just pro life.Incidentally in each of the European Referenda since 1980 (bar the Austerity Treaty) The Catholic Right have campaigned against them.
Declan Ganley- Libertas- North West – 67638 (13.7%)
Raymond O’Malley -Libertas- East -18557 (4.3%)
Caroline Simons -Libertas- Dublin – 13514 (3.3%)
Emmanuel Sweeney -Ind (ex Muintir na Éireann ) -Dublin -3583 (0.9%)
Kathy Sinnott -Ind – South – 58485 (11.7%) -lost her seat

A total vote of 161,777 (8.84% of the National vote)

2011 General Election. With Libertas shelved it was back to the CSP and some Pro Life Independents to cater for that section of the electorate.
Harry Rea -CSP – Cork NC – 324 (0.6%)
Paul O’loughlin -CSP -Dublin C -235 (0.7%)
Michael Larkin – CSP – Dub NW – 173 (0.5%)
Jane Murphy -CSP – Dublin S -277 (0.4%)
Colm Callanan -CSP – Dublin SC – 239 (0.5%)
Daire Fitzgerald – CSP -Dun Laoghaire – 434 (0.8%)
Mary Fitzgibbon -Ind – Kerry N- W Limerick – 706 (1.5%)
Conor O’Donoghue – CSP – Limerick City – 186 (0.4%)
Manus MacMeanmain -CSP – Meath West – 234 (0.6%)
Kate Bopp – Ind – Tipp North – 322 (0.7%)
Declan Waters – Ind -Waterford – 222 (0.4%)

A total vote of 3,352 (0.15% of the National vote)

This is a 2011 piece about the positive signs in their vote from the CSP Party Newsletter Dóchas

Despite all the above advances they went off the Political Register and fielded one candidate (running as an Independent) in the 2014 Local Elections, Commandant Cathal Ashbourne Loftus. He polled 76 votes in Ashbourne.

The 2014 European Elections saw the Pro Life Prince Rónán Mullen run. There were also some DDI candidates and Catholic Democrats. Not sure if DDI qualify or not.
2014 European Elections
Rónán Mullen -Ind – Midlands NW -36326 (6.5%)
Theresa Heaney – Cath Dems – Ireland South – 13569 (2.1%)

A total of 49,895 votes (3.01% of the National Vote)

The CSP failed to field any candidates in the 2016 General Election.This despite Legislation for The X-Case, The Marriage Equality Referendum and other attacks on “Traditional Values”. Instead the Catholic Democrats (formerly The National Party) , The newly formed but unregistered Christian Jobs and Action Party (CJAP),an Independent Christian Democrat , a variety of Pro Life Independents and some ex FG too extreme for Renua carried the flag. Although Renua lost all their seats, Pro Life Independents polled far better than the CSP had done in previous times. Still only ex Youth Defence man Tim Jackson (who didn’t mention anything about his Pro Life views on his leaflet) was the only one in any contention for a seat.

2016 General Election
Paddy Manning -Ind -Carlow Kilkenny -1078 (1.5%)
Mary Smyth -Ind – Cavan Monaghan – 1589 (2.7%)
Theresa Heaney -Cath Dems -Cork SW – 686 (1.6%)
Tim Jackson- Ind (Ex YD) -Donegal -3580 (4.9%)
Peter Mathews -Ind – Dub Rathdown – 2021 (4.9%)
Fidelma Healy Eames -Ind- Galway West -1394 (2.2%)
Tommy Roddy – Ind – Galway West – 251 (0.4%)
Mary Fitzgibbon -Ind -Kerry – 635 (0.8%)
Nora Bennis – Cath Dems – Limerick City – 673 (1.4%)
John O’Gorman -Ind – Limerick County – 207 (0.5%)
Noel McKervey- Cath Dems – Longford Westmeath – 654 (1.2%)
John Malone -Ind (CJAP) – Meath West – 439 (1.1%)
Kate Bopp -Ind – Offaly – 549 (1.2%)
Bernie O’Hara -Ind -Sligo Leitrim – 1206 (1.9%)
Des Guckian -Ind – Sligo Leitrim – 1060 (1.7%)
John D Walsh -Ind CD – Waterford – 858 (1.7%)

A total of 16,880 votes (0.79% of The National Vote)

Despite an obviously large tranche of socially conservative voters , they in the main stick with FG and FF and probably Independents like The Healy-Raes, Lowry and so on. The hopes of a Dail electoral breakthrough by the Micro Parties is long gone. The Catholic Right parties and Independents generally failed to provide meaningful policies outside of Social issues. In the main they didn’t work on the ground as other parties did. Yes there were leaflets outside mass, protests at RTE and so on but there were little or no standard constituency work. The leadership was weak and there were splits galore with personal animosities leading to various people wanting to build their own pro life kingdoms rather than a large one.
Those that did have success , such as Kathy Sinnott and Dana were people who had high profiles outside of their Conservative views.
Although they had no success in Elections Libertas was probably the best chance the Irish Catholic Right had. At the moment Rónán Mullen who has served in the Seanad since his 2007 election is the Catholic Rights highest profile elected figure.
Although there are plenty of TD’s with strong Pro Life views, most are in Parties.Over the years those that left parties over ‘social issues’ rarely fared well.
It appears that these social issues are not the driving force for most electors in General or Local Elections but it is in the secondary elections to the European Parliament and The Seanad where they have had limited success.
As we know it’s often Political lobbying around Election time and persuading FF or FG to sign Pro Life Pledges or distributing leaflets announcing which candidate is Pro Life that has become the modus operandi of some elements of The Catholic Right. Yet you’d wonder these days how effective it is?


1. sonofstan - October 7, 2016

Fascinating. Thanks.


WorldbyStorm - October 7, 2016

+1 what’s striking is how little ‘political’ power they have had as against their influence. Though I guess one would also have to factor in those of similar views in the bigger parties.


Michael Carley - October 7, 2016

Think UKIP.


Gewerkschaftler - October 7, 2016

And think AfD. They are effectively now in government in the form of the Bavarian CSU.

No – they wield political power out of all proportion to their size.

One could argue that these people have been effectively in the Irish government since the 1950s through FG & FF being too timid / cute to say boo to them without massive pressure from movements.


WorldbyStorm - October 7, 2016

I agree with all the examples in a way but my point is though that they have enormous or have had enormous political influence on thode with instrumental political power like ff and fg but as IEL shows have bar two or three figures never got anyone elected. And even then really only to subsidiary institutions. Any outing they’ve had as parties has delivered no real returns. Whereas Ukip and AfD do have reps etc. BTW I’m always minded of Benedict Anderson’s line about nationalisms having a political poverty in the sense of their being no single nationalist economic approach as against the very real political power of nationalisms to mobilise people.


gendjinn - October 7, 2016

So I am going to passionately disagree with you on this.

It’s not a tail wagging the dog situation, it is a situation where the tail gives the dog cover to be do what they wanted to do all along.

Noel Browne.

The vast bulk, if not the entirety, of every FF/FG TD in their history has been a right wing Catholic (socially speaking, if not also economically). Sure, hasn’t the country been that way itself up until we decided to stop ignoring priests raping children.

The same thing happens in coalition governments – FF used the PDs well in that regard.


WorldbyStorm - October 7, 2016

I don’t exactly disagree believe itbor not. But I think outside of some in ff fg and I’ve met a fair few of there reps over the years the obsessive pro life thing isn’t there, its more a secondary consideration, haughey or Lynch or Reynolds for example don’t strike me as people hugely exercised by it on its own terms, though I do agree plac gave cover to impose it. I also think its important to keep in mind normative aspects – most people in the society tended to agree, even today that sentiment or anti choice sentiment is strong. But I think a fair bit of it was going with that sentiment or not questioning it or not seeing any reason to question it rather than ideologically convinced hard social rightists.


WorldbyStorm - October 7, 2016

Or to put it slightly differently yes the dig wanted to do it but in truth the dog was haply enough to go along, it could hardly comprehend there were alternativrs .


gendjinn - October 7, 2016

The leaders have always been political opportunists on abortion, didn’t stop them screwing it up in the 80s, in the 90s and refusing to fix it ever since.

So at this juncture you’d understand why the degree to which they are exercised by it is secondary to which way they vote. Which is essentially the same as evidenced by vote on Wallace’s Foetal Abnormalities bill.

I feel quite strongly that abortion is a fundamental right. That women cannot be free without the ability to decide to have a child or not.


WorldbyStorm - October 8, 2016

I’m not disagreeing with you but opportunism is a different thing to true belief or the sort of absolute adherence to a certain pattern of beliefs. Now, one can make the case that it is in a way even worse than simple belief because it is pure opportunism.

But let’s me put it a different way. If in a forthcoming referendum a somewhat more liberal abortion regime is forthcoming I cannot see a serious fightback by FF or FG TDs. I just don’t think they care enough about the issue, and once the heavy lifting has been done, even up to a choice position if that is achievable they’d sooner wash their hands of it. That’s why I think that their social conservatism is pretty thin. It’s not that they’re liberals but that they’d rather not have to engage it.


gendjinn - October 8, 2016

It is hard to know how passionate they are, or their priority list. Only their votes. Which have real world consequences.

But yes, one would hope that over the decades the fanaticism of religion amongst the population of TDs would be trending down. Just orders of magnitude slower than the populace.

Agreed that I wouldn’t expect to see a passionate fight to death from FF/FG party as a whole. But I expect chunks of their TDs to do so. Hopefully we will find out and do so while winning!


WorldbyStorm - October 8, 2016

Apologies, just rereading my comments above which were on the mobile yesterday I’m amazed you followed them!


2. gendjinn - October 7, 2016

I always thought FF/FG were the Catholic right and the ones you mentioned the Catholic fascists.


WorldbyStorm - October 7, 2016

There’s something in that analysis gendjinn


gendjinn - October 7, 2016

Even now those TDs are the only ones in the country standing in the way of repealing the 8th.


Starkadder - October 7, 2016

“I always thought FF/FG were the Catholic right and the ones you mentioned the Catholic fascists.”

Hmm. How about FF/FG were the Christian Democrats, and the ones irishelectionliterature mentioned, the Irish version of the John Birch Society /Monday Club / Poujadists ?


gendjinn - October 8, 2016

But that’s what I said, without the euphemisms😉

Liked by 1 person

3. irishelectionliterature - October 7, 2016

To be honest I think people overestimate the power of the Pro Life lobby. It’s vocal and well funded. The idea that these people represent the real people of Ireland and other such sentiments is misguided.
I suppose the point of doing this was to illustrate that Ireland returning to the 1980’s (1950’s or whenever) is the choice of very very few. Yes FF and FG do cover most bases for morally Conservative voters but more often than not there are other more important motives as to how or why they vote.
I’m Pro Choice but Abortion does not figure highly in how I cast my vote. I suppose the candidates on the Left would tend to be Pro Choice anyway.
Also look at Labour grasping at straws in the General Election when boasting that they would Repeal the 8th if they were returned to Government, didn’t exactly connect with anyone bar their own membership which see themselves as a progressive force (I do like to point out that Labour were in the Government that brought the 8th Amendment before the people in the first place!)


Starkadder - October 7, 2016

“To be honest I think people overestimate the power of the Pro Life lobby. It’s vocal and well funded.”

Vocal indeed. It’s uncommon to have a letters page in the “Irish Examiner”, “Southern Star”, “Kerryman” etc. without having at least one angry anti-abortion letter. I suspect a disproportionate amount of the movement’s time is spent on grinding out
green-ink epistles and making phone calls to radio chat shows.

Not that the papers have any problems with that. A friend said he wrote a number of letters to the “Evening Echo” in the 1990s criticizing the Catholic Church, that the paper never published. Of course the EE was quite happy to run numerous anti-abortion and anti-birth control letters.


4. sonofstan - October 7, 2016

“I’m Pro Choice but Abortion does not figure highly in how I cast my vote”

Same here, but for my daughter, and many of her friends, it’s the single issue that overrides all others. She has forced all of our local reps out into the open about their views and told them straight out that it’s the issue that will determine her vote until the 8th is repealed. And she’s not alone.


Joe - October 7, 2016

And same here. Both on my views and my daughter’s.
I’d still be iffy though on whether repeal would carry. It needs to be done really well. I’d agree that the legislation that would be put in replace post repeal would need to be ready and published before the vote. Problem there is the legislation that my daughter and her friends would want won’t be the same as what Enda or whoever proposes.


6to5against - October 7, 2016

That’s the problem. I think a majority support repeal, but that will include those who only want abortion available in extraordinary circumstances, as well as those who want full availability.

Pro-life groups will try to drive a wedge between the two and it won’t be hard.


5. lamentreat - October 8, 2016

“….Sean Dublin Bay Loftus named himself Seán D. Christian Democrat Dublin Bay Loftus in the 1973 General Election…”

When did he add the “Rockall”?


6. Dave - October 12, 2016

The main poster on this thread was involved in some of these parties in the past.Gives great insight about the parties’ own failings.



RosencrantzisDead - October 13, 2016

Thanks for that link. Really interesting discussion and, dare I say, insightful about party politics.

Although, it would appear that my rather low estimation of Gerard Casey was, in fact, affording him far more credit than he deserved.


WorldbyStorm - October 13, 2016

Yes, an excellent critique and applicable a lot further afield than the Christian right – I thought it oddly telling the lack of interaction with the points made. Perhaps most on that right have effectively subcontracted out the political heavy lifting to ff and fg.


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