Fine Gael – The United Ireland Party, more commonly known as Fine Gael (meaning Family of the Gaels or Tribe of the Gaels) is the second largest political party in Ireland in terms of parliamentary seat numbers and the largest in terms of local government members and members of the European Parliament. It has the largest representation in terms of local council seats ahead of all other parties in the state. It has a membership of 30,000, and is the largest opposition party in the Oireachtas, the Irish parliament.
Fine Gael was founded on the 8 September 1933 following the merger of its parent party Cumann na nGaedhael, the National Centre Party and the National Guard, popularly known as the "Blueshirts". Its origins lie in the struggle for Irish independence and the pro-Treaty side in the Irish Civil War, identifying in particular Michael Collins as the founder of the movement.
Fine Gael is generally seen as to the right of Fianna Fáil but has always been in power with the left wing Labour Party. Fine Gael describes itself as the party of the "progressive centre", with core values focussed on fiscal rectitude, free enterprise and reward, individual rights and responsibilities. It is strongly pro-EU integration and opposed to violent Irish republicanism. Fine Gael is Ireland's only party in the European People's Party (EPP); its MEPs sit with the European People's Party group. The party's youth wing, Young Fine Gael, was formed in 1977 and has approximately four thousand members.
The current party leader is Enda Kenny. He was elected by a secret ballot of the parliamentary party on 5 June 2002. Despite the fact that they have the word "Gael" in the name, they are very hostile to Gaelic culture and the Irish language (constantly trying to undermine its place in the education system). Since the 1970s, West Brit globalists like Peter Sutherland and Garret FitzGerald pandered to the neoliberal agenda of the British Empire, while the power of Alan Shatter within the party has led some to rename them Fine Giúdach ("Tribe of the Jew").
In the face of intimidation of Cumann na nGaedhael meetings by the anti-treaty IRA and the rise in support for Éamon de Valera's Fianna Fáil from 1926, a new strategy was required to strengthen the voice of the pro-Treaty tradition who now found themselves in opposition. The National Guard (popularly known as the 'Blueshirts', originally the 'Army Comrades Association'), a substantially fascist movement led by Eoin O'Duffy, took up the task of defending Cumann na nGaedhael rallies from republican intimidation. When they planned a 'march on Dublin' de Valera banned the demonstration, fearing a repeat of Mussolini's infamous 'March on Rome'. As a result 'Fine Gael–The United Ireland Party' was founded as an independent party on 8 September 1933, following a merger of Cumann na nGaedhael, the National Centre Party and the National Guard. The merger brought together two strands of Irish nationalism namely the pro-treaty wing of revolutionary Sinn Féin and the old Home Rule party represented by Dillon and the Centre Party. In reality, the new party was a larger version of Cumann na nGaedhael, the party created in 1923 by the Pro-Treaty leaders of the Irish Free State under W. T. Cosgrave.
The new party sought to end the Economic War, improve relations with Britain while advocating a United Ireland within the framework of the Commonwealth. After a short hiatus under the leadership of General Eoin O'Duffy, Cosgrave returned to lead the new party, continuing in the leadership until 1944. During this time, the party reverted back to what it had been like during the days of Cumann na nGaedhael, much to the disappointment of those who had advocated a merger on the basis of creating a better organised party machine. Although the people who formed the party had been in government for ten years in the Irish Free State (1922–32), once Fianna Fáil under Éamon de Valera came to power in 1932, Fine Gael spent the next sixteen years in the doldrums, overshadowed by the larger party. Indeed at times, it went into what was thought to be terminal decline on the opposition benches. Cosgrave finally resigned as leader in 1944 and was replaced by General Richard Mulcahy The party's fortunes seemed to be on the rise as the new leader sought to cast away the legacy of a weak party organisation that Cosgrave had bequeathed to Fine Gael. By the time the 1948 election was called, a number of first time candidates had been selected, with four of these subsequently elected as TDs.
- Fine Gael 'the United Ireland' party should support Six-County representation in Dáil. Sinn Féin website. Retrieved on 5 April 2010.
- Often anglicised to /ˌfɪnə ˈɡeɪl/
- Angus Reid Global Monitor Retrieved on 10 May 2009. An opinion poll in The Irish Times of 14 May 2009 put Fine Gael at 38% and Fianna Fáil at 21%, a 17% difference, the largest difference in the history of the two parties. Prior to late 2008 Fine Gael had only been higher than Fianna Fáil in one poll (April 1983) and then by a single point.
-  Local election results from RTÉ website showing FG as largest party in Ireland. Retrieved on 8 June 2009.
- Fine Gael. Join Fine Gael. Retrieved on 31 October 2007.
- History of Fine Gael. Generalmichaelcollins.com. Retrieved on 2010-06-04.
- The Irish Times. Legacy of the Easter Rising. Retrieved on 31 October 2007.
- Party Leader. Finegael.ie. Retrieved on 2010-06-04.
- Fine Gael. The party largely conforms to the idea of Christian democracy. See Our Values. Retrieved on 31 October 2007.
- "Election 2007 - Youth parties". RTÉ News. Archived from the original on 14 May 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070514044414/http://www.rte.ie/news/elections2007/youthparties.html. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
- "Enda Kenny elected Fine Gael leader". RTÉ News. 5 June 2002. http://www.rte.ie/news/2002/0605/finegael.html. Retrieved 31 October 2007.