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Fine Gael… not quite a mass party… February 27, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Interesting snippet squirrelled away in the IT in some of the coverage of the FG leadership contest. Fiach Kelly wrote:

It is believed Fine Gael has about 24,000 party members, with 2,000 in Dublin. The remainder are based in clusters around the country, such as Mayo, Sligo, Cavan, and Longford-Westmeath. TDs in those constituencies would be expected to influence their own members such as if, for example, Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys declared for Varadkar. Longford-Westmeath’s Peter Burke is understood to favour Varadkar.

Small isn’t it? One would have to wonder if those ‘clusters’ see higher numbers what is it like in areas with fewer numbers? How few, indeed, might there be in some constituencies, even with sitting TDs?

And what is the picture like for Fianna Fáil?

These aren’t academic questions. The base a political party can call upon at election time is absolutely crucial to its continued political survival.

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1. dublinstreams - February 27, 2017

he recently tried to estimate party membership based on membership fee income listed in their annual accounts. Fine Gael top the poll when it comes to members’ fees http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/fine-gael-top-the-poll-when-it-comes-to-members-fees-1.2930740

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dublinstreams - February 28, 2017

the question is how many members does it take to be a mass party? I looked for the highest membership figures for FF in the last ten years and I couldn’t find it.

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2. murf - February 27, 2017

You also have to ask what makes someone a ‘member’. If paying 15 euro makes one a member, it’s a pretty low bar.

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3. Aengus Millen - February 27, 2017

Unfortunately political membership is pretty uncommon I would think. Most people aren’t as interested in these things as we are. FF might have more (or would have at one time) but I would be surprised if any of the left-wing parties did. It doesn’t stop people voting for them. I have family up in Monaghan who vote for Heather Humphreys but are not party members.

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dublinstreams - February 27, 2017

a recent audit of European political parties https://politicalreform.ie/2016/10/06/an-international-audit-of-irish-political-parties/ “The only country in
which the ME ratio has not declined in recent years is Ireland,
which appears to have experienced a modest increase
(from 2.03 to 2.16) in the 5 years following 2008. “

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4. Dr. X - March 1, 2017

The distinctive characters of the two big right-wing parties were always rooted in the wider social networks that their members belonged to, and on which they could call at election time and other crucial moments.

If the 24,000 FG members formed some sort of ‘tribe that hides from man’ and had taken themselves off to a commune in the Guyanese jungle, then their leaders might have cause for concern. I’d say, however, that they still remain highly embedded in their communities, and their networks within those communities, and that we will therefore have Fine Gael to kick around for a few more years to come.

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