IRELAND
Also: Éire.
Officially: Republic of Ireland; Poblacht na hÉireann.
Seat of government: Dublin.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The parliament (Oireachtas) comprises the Dáil, elected in multi-member geographical constituencies with limited proportional representation, which chooses the government, led by the taoiseach, and the Seanad, chosen by selected officials and functional constituencies.
Governing party: Fine Gael.
Heads of government: Leo Varadkar, FG, taoiseach (since 2017); Simon Coveney, FG, tánaiste (since 2017).
Other parliamentary parties: Fianna Fáil, led by Micheál Martin; Sinn Fein, led by Gerry Adams; Labour Party, led by Brendan Howlin; Solidarity – People Before Profit; Independents 4 Change; Social Democrats; Green Party.
Ceremonial head of state: Michael Higgins, president.
Assessment: Working with Britain to settle the question of self-determination for the people of Ulster. A 2007 general election returned Fianna Fáil as the largest party; the Green Party was added as a coalition partner due to a loss of support for the Progressive Democrats, who disbanded in 2009. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (1997-2008) announced his resignation in 2008 following persistent corruption allegations; his successor was Brian Cowen (2008-11). A general election in 2011 saw a massive loss of strength by Fianna Fáil and the complete loss of seats for the Greens, with Fine Gael finishing first and entering into government with Labour, under FG’s Enda Kenny (2011-7). An election in 2016 gave Fine Gael a small plurality, but with a collapse in the vote for both Fine Gael and Labour; FG formed a minority government with Fianna Fáil’s conditional support.
FH: 1-1, free. Econ: 9.01 (12), full democracy.
Updated: 2017 December 24.
 

O.T. FORD Enda Kenny