Independents in Irish party democracy

By Liam Weeks

Independents in Irish party democracy


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3297-0
  • Pages: 328
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: May 2018
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Political corruption, Society & social sciences / Political activism, Society & social sciences / Political parties, Ireland, European history, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Elections, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy, POLITICAL SCIENCE / General, HISTORY / Europe / Ireland, Ireland, Irish Politics, Politics & government, Political parties


This book examines the phenomenon of the independent politician, believed to be extinct in most political systems. It is very much alive and well in Ireland, and has experienced a considerable resurgence in recent years. Independents won a record number of seats in 2016 and had three ministers appointed to cabinet. This presence is very unusual from a comparative perspective, and there are more independents in the Irish parliament than the combined total in all other industrial democracies.

The aim of this book is to explain this anomaly, how and why independents can endure in a democracy that is one of the oldest surviving in Europe and has historically had one of the most stable party systems.


'With this book, Liam Weeks has rectified a long-standing neglect and he has done it painstakingly, busying himself over the past 15 years to establish why Ireland has a political culture so "permissive of independents". The result is an impressively thorough overview of the many facets associated with the existence of Independents in Irish politics.'
Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin, The Irish Times

'An essential resource for anyone seeking to understand this key and often under studied aspect of Irish democracy.'
Seán McGraw, Asstistant Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame

'This book ought to be read by all involved in Irish politics, both citizens and politicians alike.'
Shane Ross TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport


1. Introduction
2. A typology of independents
3. Independents' electoral history
4. Independent parliamentarians
5. The independent voter
6. Independents and the electoral system
7. Independents and government
8. Why are there independents in Ireland?
9. Conclusion


Liam Weeks is a Lecturer in the Department of Government and Politics, University College Cork, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations, Macquarie University

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