The State of the Parties: Dáil Éireann

Last Change: 24 May 2014 (Results of Dublin West and Longford-Westmeath by-elections)

In the lifetime of any Dáil, parties find their seat numbers falling or rising due to any number of events - deaths, resignations, expulsions and by-elections to name the most frequent. This page will track the state of the parties in Dáil Éireann from now until the next general election.


Fine Gael 

2011 GE: 76 seats
May 2014: 69 seats

Fine Gael managed to maintain its seat level for its first two years in Government, the only two reductions occurring because of the election of Sean Barrett as Ceann Comhairle and the resignation of Denis Naughton, both in 2011. The tragic death of Meath East TD Shane McEntee in December 2012 resulted in a vacated seat in Meath East, which was filled in the resulting by-election by his daughter Helen. Four Fine Gael TDs (lost the whip on 2 July 2013 when they voted against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, 2013, followed nine days later by Minister of State Lucinda Creighton. The number fell by one more in March 2014 with the death of Longford-Westmeath TD Nicky McFadden.

Blue - Gain, Red - Loss

9 March 2011 - Sean Barrett (Dún Laoghaire) is elected Ceann Comhairle.
7 July 2011 - Denis Naughton (Roscommon-South Leitrim) loses the party whip.
21 December 2012 - Shane McEntee (Meath East) dies.
27 March 2013 - Helen McEntee (Meath East) is elected to take her father's seat.

2 July 2013 - Peter Matthews (Dublin South) loses the party whip.
2 July 2013 - Billy Timmins (Wicklow) loses the party whip.
2 July 2013 - Brian Walsh (Galway West) loses the party whip.
2 July 2013 - Terence Flanagan (Dublin North East) loses the party whip.
11 July 2013 - Lucinda Creighton (Dublin South East) loses the party whip. 
25 March 2014 - Nicky McFadden (Longford-Westmeath) dies. 
24 May 2014 - Gabrielle McFadden (Longford-Westmeath) wins the by-election for her sister's seat.


Labour Party

2011 GE: 37 seats
May 2014: 34 seats

As is typical for the junior party in a coalition, the Labour Party has seen the steepest drop in its popularity according to opinion polls. The party's troubles have been exacerbated by the resignation of several TDs over various issues. Patrick Nulty brought Labour an extra seat in the Dublin West by-election, only to take it away again when he lost the party whip in protest at measures taken in Budget 2012. Willie Penrose, Tommy Broughan, Róisín Shortall and Colm Keaveney each also resigned in protest of different measures taken by the Government, though Penrose rejoined the parliamentary party in October 2013.

29 October 2011 - Patrick Nulty wins the Dublin West by-election.
15 November 2011 - Willie Penrose (Longford-Westmeath) resigns from the parliamentary party.
1 December 2011 - Tommy Broughan (Dublin North East) loses the party whip.
6 December 2011 - Patrick Nulty (Dublin West) loses the party whip.

26 September 2012 - Róisín Shorthall (Dublin North West) resigns from the parlimentary party.
13 December 2012 - Colm Keaveney (Galway East) loses the party whip.
7 October 2013 - Willie Penrose (Longford-Westmeath) rejoins the parliamentary party.


Fianna Fáil

2011 GE: 19 seats
May 2014: 20 seats

Out of Government and with a vastly depleted contingent of TDs, Fianna Fáil was bound to be less prone to seat changes. Seamus Kirk's tenure as Ceann Comhairle came to an end with the commencement of the 31st Dáil, bringing the party's total up to 20, as he had been automatically re-elected. This increase was temporary however, as the death of Brian Lenihan on 10 June 2011 returned the party to its previous number. Fianna Fáil failed to win the by-election caused by Lenihan's death. It was over two years before the party's next change, when former Labour-turned-Independent TD Colm Keaveney joined the party in December 2013.

9 March 2011 - Seamus Kirk (Cavan-Monaghan) steps down as Ceann Comhairle.
10 June 2011 - Brian Lenihan (Dublin West) dies.
4 December 2013 - Colm Keaveney (Galway East) joins Fianna Fáil, formerly Independent.


Sinn Féin

2011 GE: 14 seats
May 2014: 13 seats

Sinn Féin managed just over two years without any chance to their parliamentary party membership, until Meath West TD Peadar Toibín was suspended for six months in July 2013 for voting against the party whip on the 2013 abortion legislation. He regained the whip in January 2014.

12 July 2013 - Peadar Tóibín (Meath West) is suspended from the party until January 2014.
24 January 2014 - Peadar Tóibín (Meath West) regains the party whip.





United Left Alliance

2011 GE: 5 seats
May 2014: 2 (People Before Profit), 2 (Socialist Party), 1 (WUAG)

The United Left Alliance parties had not seen any changes to their totals until August 2012 when Dublin North TD Clare Daly resigned from the Socialist Party. The United Left Alliance is no longer referred to as such in the Dáil. WUAG formally left the alliance in 2012. Whether it will be resurrected for the next general election or not is yet to be seen.

31 August 2012 - Clare Daly (Dublin North) resigns from the Socialist Party.
24 May 2014 - Ruth Coppinger (Dublin West) wins the by-election to replace Patrick Nulty.




Independents

2011 GE: 14 seats
May 2014: 23 seats

Each of the aforementioned TDs who either resigned from their parties or lost the whips now sit as Independents, bringing the already unusually high number of unaligned TDs from 14 to 23. Patrick Nulty's surprise resignation on 22 March 2014 was the first resignation of a TD from the 31st Dáil.

7 July 2011 - Denis Naughton (Roscommon-South Leitrim) loses the FG whip.
15 November 2011 - Willie Penrose (Longford-Westmeath) loses the Labour whip.
1 December 2011 - Tommy Broughan (Dublin North East) loses the Labour whip.
6 December 2011 - Patrick Nulty (Dublin West) resigns from the Labour Party.
31 August 2012 - Clare Daly (Dublin North) resigns from the Socialist Party.
26 September 2012 - Róisín Shortall (Dublin North West) resigns from the Labour Party.
13 December 2012 - Colm Keaveney (Galway East) loses the Labour whip.
2 July 2013 - Peter Matthews (Dublin South) loses the FG whip.
2 July 2013 - Billy Timmins (Wicklow) loses the FG whip.
2 July 2013 - Brian Walsh (Galway West) loses the FG whip.
2 July 2013 - Terence Flanagan (Dublin North East) loses the FG whip.
11 July 2013 - Lucinda Creighton (Dublin South East) loses the FG whip.
13 July 2013 - Peadar Tóibín (Meath West) is suspended from the SF parliamentary party.
7 October 2013 - Willie Penrose (Longford Westmeath) rejoins the Labour Party.
4 December 2013 - Colm Keaveney (Galway East) joins Fianna Fáil. 
24 January 2014 - Peadar Tóibín (Meath West) regains the Sinn Féin whip. 
22 March 2014 - Patrick Nulty (Dublin West) resigns his seat.