Irish general election, 1992

Irish general election, 1992
Republic of Ireland
25 November 1992

165 of 166 seats in Dáil Éireann
84 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 68.5%
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Albert Reynolds John Bruton Dick Spring
Party Fianna Fáil Fine Gael Labour Party
Leader since 6 February 1992 20 November 1990 November 1982
Leader's seat Longford–Roscommon Meath Kerry North
Last election 77 seats, 44.2% 55 seats, 29.2% 15 seats, 9.5%
Seats won 68 45 33
Seat change Decrease9 Decrease10 Increase18
Popular vote 674,650 422,106 333,013
Percentage 39.1% 24.5% 19.3%
Swing Decrease5.1% Decrease4.7% Increase9.8%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Leader Desmond O'Malley Proinsias De Rossa
Party Progressive Democrats Democratic Left Green Party
Leader since 21 December 1985 1992
Leader's seat Limerick East Dublin North-West
Last election 6 seats, 5.5% New 1 seat, 1.5%
Seats won 10 4 1
Seat change Increase4 New Steady 0
Popular vote 80,787 47,945 24,110
Percentage 4.7% 2.8% 1.4%
Swing Decrease0.8% New Decrease0.1%

Percentage of seats gained by each of the five biggest parties, and number of seats gained by smaller parties and independents.

Taoiseach before election

Albert Reynolds
Fianna Fáil

Subsequent Taoiseach

Albert Reynolds
Fianna Fáil

The Irish general election of 1992 was held on Wednesday, 25 November 1992, almost three weeks after the dissolution of the Dáil on 5 November. The newly elected 166 members of the 27th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on 14 December 1992, but a new Taoiseach was not elected. A new Fianna Fáil-Labour Party coalition government was not appointed until 12 January 1993 after Albert Reynolds was re-elected Taoiseach.

The general election took place in 41 parliamentary constituencies throughout Ireland for 166 seats in Dáil Éireann.


The general election of 1992 was precipitated by the collapse of the Fianna FáilProgressive Democrats coalition government. Allegations of dishonesty at the Beef Tribunal forced Desmond O'Malley and his party to part ways with Albert Reynolds's Fianna Fáil. Both Albert Reynolds and John Bruton of Fine Gael were fighting their first general election as leader of their respective parties. For Reynolds it would be his only election as leader. The campaign went very poorly for Fianna Fáil with Reynolds's support dropping by 20%.

Among the left, the Labour Party had increased their support in the local elections the previous year and many were predicting major gains for the party in the Dáil. The Workers' Party of Ireland had split at a special convention that year over a motion to re-constitute the party, similar to the move made the same year by the Italian Communist Party, and sever all links with the Official IRA. Six out of their seven TD's and a majority of their councillors left the party when the motion failed to be passed and hastily formed Democratic Left to contest the election.

Many political pundits had predicted that Fianna Fáil would not be re-elected and that a "Rainbow Coalition" involving Fine Gael, the Labour Party and possibly Democratic Left would be formed. John Bruton, the leader of Fine Gael, had problems of his own. Opinion polls showed that if a "Rainbow Coalition" came to power, Dick Spring of the Labour Party was seen as a better potential Taoiseach than Bruton. The possibility of a rotating Taoiseach was also hinted at in the media.

The big winner of the campaign was Dick Spring and the Labour Party. They distanced themselves completely from Fine Gael and fought an independent line. During the campaign Spring made very little comment about what the party would do after the election, however, he did say that if the Labour Party was part of a coalition he would have to be granted a turn as Taoiseach.

The election also saw Moosajee Bhamjee (Labour Party) become the first Muslim Teachta Dála (TD).


27th Irish general election 25 November 1992[1][2][3]
Party Leader Seats ± % of
First Pref
% FPv ±%
Fianna Fáil Albert Reynolds 68 Decrease9 40.9 674,650 39.1 Decrease5.0
Fine Gael John Bruton 45 Decrease10 27.1 422,106 24.5 Decrease4.8
Labour Party Dick Spring 33 Increase18 19.8 333,013 19.3 Increase9.8
Progressive Democrats Desmond O'Malley 10 Increase4 6.0 80,787 4.7 Decrease0.8
Democratic Left Proinsias De Rossa 4 New 2.4 47,945 2.8
Sinn Féin Gerry Adams 0 Steady 0 0 27,809 1.6 Increase0.4
Green Party N/A 1 Steady 0 0.6 24,110 1.4 Decrease0.1
Workers' Party Tomás Mac Giolla 0 Decrease7 0 11,533 0.7 Decrease4.3
Christian Centrist 0 New 0 3,413 0.2
Independent N/A 5 Increase1 2.4 99,487 5.8 Increase2.5
Spoilt votes 26,498
Total 166 0 100 1,751,351 100
Electorate/Turnout 2,557,036 68.5%

In 1989 the Democratic Socialist Party won 0.6% of the vote and 1 seat; the party merged with the Labour Party in 1990. Independents include Independent Fianna Fáil (5,248 votes, 1 seat).

In early 1992, 6 Workers' Party TDs left the party and founded Democratic Left (DL).

When the votes were counted the picture was clear. Fianna Fáil had its worst performance since 1927, winning less than 40% of the vote. Fine Gael, in spite of predictions of success, actually lost 10 seats. The Labour Party recorded its best ever result, an event dubbed the "Spring Tide" and more than doubled its number of seats. Talks between Fine Gael and Labour on establishing a minority government floundered after several weeks, partly over the issue of the 'revolving Taoiseach'. Spring had to enter into coalition with Fianna Fáil, or force another election. The coalition deal proved very unpopular with many of Labour's supporters, because Dick Spring had campaigned heavily against Fianna Fáil and particularly Albert Reynolds. As a result of the coalition, Albert Reynolds was elected Taoiseach with over 100 votes, the biggest majority by any Taoiseach in Irish political history until 2011.

Following a number of scandals in 1994, particularly over the beef industry, the Labour Party left the coalition and, after negotiations, formed the "Rainbow Coalition" with Fine Gael and Democratic Left on 15 December 1994, as three by-election gains had by then made a Fine Gael-Labour-Democratic Left majority government possible.[4] This was the first and to date, only occasion in Irish political history that a party had left a governing coalition and gone into government with opposition parties without first holding an election.

Dáil membership changes

The following changes took place as a result of the election:

Outgoing TDs are listed in the constituency they contested in the election. For some, such as John Stafford, this differs from the constituency they represented in the outgoing Dáil. Where more than one change took place in a constituency the concept of successor is an approximation for presentation only.

Constituency Departing TD Party Change Comment Successor TD Party
Carlow–Kilkenny No membership changes
Cavan–Monaghan John Wilson Fianna Fáil Retired Brendan Smith Fianna Fáil
Bill Cotter Fine Gael Lost seat Seymour Crawford Fine Gael
Clare Brendan Daly Fianna Fáil Lost seat Tony Killeen Fianna Fáil
Madeleine Taylor-Quinn Fine Gael Lost seat Moosajee Bhamjee Labour Party
Cork East Joe Sherlock Democratic Left Lost seat John Mulvihill Labour Party
Cork North-Central Denis Lyons Fianna Fáil Lost seat Burke – Former TD Liam Burke Fine Gael
Cork North-West Laurence Kelly Fianna Fáil Lost seat Moynihan – Former TD Donal Moynihan Fianna Fáil
Cork South-Central John Dennehy Fianna Fáil Lost seat O'Keeffe – Former TD Batt O'Keeffe Fianna Fáil
Pearse Wyse Progressive Democrats Retired Pat Cox Progressive Democrats
Cork South-West No membership changes
Donegal North-East No membership changes
Donegal South-West No membership changes
Dublin Central Dermot Fitzpatrick Fianna Fáil Lost seat Joe Costello Labour Party
Dublin North New seat Trevor Sargent Green Party
Dublin North-Central Vincent Brady Fianna Fáil Retired Derek McDowell Labour Party
Charles Haughey Fianna Fáil Retired Son of outgoing TD Seán Haughey Fianna Fáil
Pat Lee Fine Gael Lost seat Previously represented Dublin Central but due to boundary changes ran in Dublin North-Central
John Stafford Fianna Fáil Lost seat Previously represented Dublin Central but due to boundary changes ran in Dublin North-Central
Dublin North-East Michael Joe Cosgrave Fine Gael Lost seat Seán Kenny Labour Party
Pat McCartan Democratic Left Lost seat Tommy Broughan Labour Party
Dublin North-West Michael Barrett Fianna Fáil Retired Noel Ahern Fianna Fáil
Jim Tunney Fianna Fáil Lost seat Róisín Shortall Labour Party
Dublin South Nuala Fennell Fine Gael Retired Eithne FitzGerald Labour Party
Roger Garland Green Party Lost seat Liz O'Donnell Progressive Democrats
Dublin South-Central Eric Byrne Democratic Left Lost seat Pat Upton Labour Party
Fergus O'Brien Fine Gael Retired Seats reduced from 5 to 4
Dublin South-East Garret FitzGerald Fine Gael Retired Frances Fitzgerald Fine Gael
Joe Doyle Fine Gael Lost seat McDowell – Former TD Michael McDowell Progressive Democrats
Gerard Brady Fianna Fáil Lost seat Eoin Ryan Fianna Fáil
Dublin South-West New seat Eamonn Walsh Labour Party
Dublin West Tomás Mac Giolla Workers' Party Lost seat Joan Burton Labour Party
Dún Laoghaire Monica Barnes Fine Gael Lost seat Helen Keogh Progressive Democrats
Brian Hillery Fianna Fáil Lost seat Became a minister on first day Niamh Bhreathnach Labour Party
Galway East No membership changes
Galway West Frank Fahey Fianna Fáil Lost seat Éamon Ó Cuív Fianna Fáil
Kerry North Tom McEllistrim Fianna Fáil Lost seat Foley – Former TD Denis Foley Fianna Fáil
Kerry South Michael Moynihan Labour Party Retired Daughter of outgoing TD Breeda Moynihan-Cronin Labour Party
Kildare No membership changes
Laois–Offaly Tom Enright Fine Gael Lost seat Pat Gallagher Labour Party
Limerick East No membership changes
Limerick West No membership changes
Longford–Roscommon Louis Belton Fine Gael Lost seat Represented Longford–Westmeath but due to constituency changes was one of 5 outgoing TDs standing
in this new 4 seat constituency
Terry Leyden Fianna Fáil Lost seat Doherty – Former TD Seán Doherty Fianna Fáil
Louth No membership changes
Mayo East Seán Calleary Fianna Fáil Retired Tom Moffatt Fianna Fáil
Mayo West Martin O'Toole Fianna Fáil Retired Séamus Hughes Fianna Fáil
Meath John Farrelly Fine Gael Lost seat Brian Fitzgerald Labour Party
Sligo–Leitrim Gerry Reynolds Fine Gael Lost seat Declan Bree Labour Party
Tipperary North No membership changes
Tipperary South No membership changes
Waterford No membership changes
Westmeath Due to boundary changes, only 2 outgoing TDs from Longford–Westmeath moved to this 3 seat constituency Willie Penrose Labour Party
Wexford Séamus Cullimore Fianna Fáil Lost seat Byrne – Former TD Hugh Byrne Fianna Fáil
Michael D'Arcy Fine Gael Lost seat Doyle – Former TD Avril Doyle Fine Gael
Wicklow Dick Roche Fianna Fáil Lost seat Johnny Fox Independent
New seat Liz McManus Democratic Left

See also


  1. "27th Dáil 1992 General Election". Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  2. "Dáil elections since 1918". ARK Northern Ireland. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
  3. Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, pp1009-1017 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  4. "Dáil Éireann By Elections 1918–2005". Retrieved 22 July 2009.

External links

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