Fine Gael f?n? g?l [key], Irish political party. Formed in 1933, it was the successor of the party founded by William Cosgrave that held power from the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922 until ousted by the republican Fianna Fil in 1932. The Fine Gael party accepted the British plan that partitioned Ireland, and has generally been less anti-British than its major opposition. Under John A. Costello, Fine Gael formed coalition governments with the Labor party from 1948 to 1951 and from 1954 to 1957. After a long period in opposition it regained power, again with the Labor party, in 1973; and William Cosgrave's son Liam Cosgrave became prime minister. Except for a brief interruption in 1982, the party held power again from 1981 to 1987, when it was led by Garret FitzGerald. From 1994 to 1997, Fine Gael once more formed a coalition government with Labor, with party leader John Bruton serving as prime minister. Michael Noonan succeeded Bruton as party leader in 2001. Noonan resigned after electoral losses in 2002 and was succeeded by Enda Kenny. In 2011, amid a financial crisis, Fine Gael and Labor won the election and Kenny became prime minister. The coalition suffered large losses in 2016 and Kenny was able to form a Fine Gael minority government only with the acquiescence of Fianna Fil. Kenny stepped down as party leader and prime minister in 2017 and was succeeded by Leo Varadkar. The party placed third in the divided election of 2020, but joined Fianna Fil and the Greens in a coalition government, with Varadkar as deputy prime minister.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History