Good Times for a Change? Ireland since the General Election

75 Soundings 66-81 (2020)

19 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2020

See all articles by Colin Coulter

Colin Coulter


John Reynolds

National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Date Written: July 2020


The 2020 Irish general election result was widely characterised as both a ‘shock’ and as a victory for the left. These claims are true, but only partially so. The recent turn to the left was not a sudden development, but rather an expression of how the Irish political landscape has slowly but fundamentally changed since the global financial crash. And while the electorate certainly appear more open to left-wing politics, the principal beneficiaries in terms of the popular vote (Sinn Féin) and access to power (Greens) were parties with only questionable left-wing credentials. Before the new government could even be formed, the advent of the global health pandemic transformed the political terrain once more, with the two traditionally dominant centre-right parties agreeing to share power for the first time. While the restoration of the political status quo has exposed the limitations of Sinn Féin's left-nationalism, we suggest that the socialist left has an opportunity to revive and expand, and should have an important role to play in the economic and social contestations that lie ahead under the latest iteration of neoliberal governmentality.

Suggested Citation

Coulter, Colin and Reynolds, John, Good Times for a Change? Ireland since the General Election (July 2020). 75 Soundings 66-81 (2020), Available at SSRN:

Colin Coulter

Independent ( email )

John Reynolds (Contact Author)

National University of Ireland, Maynooth ( email )

Maynooth, County Kildare

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