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Module Code: POU44302

Module Name: Political Change in the Republic of Ireland 2020-2021

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Semester 2
  • Contact Hours:
  • Module Personnel: Dr Lisa Keenan
  • Pre-requisite: There are no prerequisites for this module. However, this course assumes a reasonable knowledge of the Irish political system and would be most suited to students who have taken Junior Sophister Irish Politics A & B.

Learning Aims

This module aims to build students’ understanding of how the important political shifts that have occurred in Ireland in recent years have come about.  


Learning Outocomes

The core learning aims for this module are as follows:

  • Understand the origins of the social change that has been occurred in Ireland in recent years;
  • Explore the use of key democratic institutions to achieve this change;
  • Consider the diverse causes of the decline in the popularity of the two main political parties;

Module Content

This course examines important political changes that have occurred in the Republic of Ireland in recent years. The module focuses on two main kinds of changes. Firstly, the important changes that have taken place with respect to social issues (e.g. divorce, reproductive rights, marriage equality). The course will explore the extent to which different actors (e.g. activists, political parties etc.) can claim credit for bringing about such changes, as well as the involvement of various institutions (the courts, deliberative bodies etc.) in this process. Secondly, the module will examine the ongoing transformation of the party system, focusing on the slow decline of the two main political parties – Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – and the apparent rise of smaller and anti-establishment parties.

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Recommended Reading List

Detailed readings for each topic will be provided on the module syllabus. Some key readings are:

  • Coakley, J., & Gallagher, M. (2016). Politics in the Republic of Ireland. Routledge.
  • Fishkin, J. S. (2011). When the people speak: Deliberative democracy and public consultation. Oxford University Press.
  • Griffin, G., O’Connor, O., Smyth, A. & O’Connor, A. (2019). It's a Yes!: How Together for Yes Repealed the Eighth and Transformed Irish Society. Orpen Press.
  • Healy, G., Sheehan, B., & Whelan, N. (Eds.). (2015). Ireland says yes: The inside story of how the vote for marriage equality was won. Merrion Press.
  • Uleri, P. V., & Gallagher, M. (Eds.). (2016). The referendum experience in Europe. Springer.

Assessment Details

  • One policy memo (25%)
  • Three response papers (15%)
  • Research proposal (60%)

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