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  • © 2021

How Ireland Voted 2020

The End of an Era

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Provides a comprehensive account of Ireland's 2020 general elections

  • Features contributions by distinguished scholars analysing the election and by practising politicians giving their accounts of the campaign

  • Includes analysis of voting behaviour, gender quotas, and government formation

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Table of contents (14 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-l
  2. The Road to the Election

    • Gary Murphy
    Pages 1-22
  3. Election Pledge Fulfilment Under Minority Government

    • Rory Costello, Alice Sheridan, Duncan Casey
    Pages 23-40
  4. On the Campaign Trail

    • Mairéad Farrell, James O’Connor, Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Roderic O’Gorman, Marie Sherlock, Jennifer Whitmore
    Pages 135-163
  5. Geographical Factors in Constituency Voting Patterns

    • Adrian Kavanagh, William Durkan, Caoilfhionn D’Arcy
    Pages 197-217
  6. Voting Behaviour: The Sinn Féin Election

    • Kevin Cunningham, Michael Marsh
    Pages 219-253
  7. The Evolving Nature of the Irish Policy Space

    • Lisa Keenan, Gail McElroy
    Pages 255-273
  8. The Slow Formation of the Government

    • Eoin O’Malley
    Pages 297-320
  9. The Election in Context

    • John Coakley
    Pages 321-339
  10. Back Matter

    Pages 341-374

About this book

This book is the 9th volume in the established How Ireland Voted series and provides the definitive story of Ireland’s mould-breaking 2020 election. For the first time ever, Sinn Féin won the most votes, the previously dominant parties shrank to a fraction of their former strengths, and the government to emerge was a coalition between previously irreconcilable enemies. For these reasons, the election marks the end of an era in Irish politics. This book analyses the course of the campaign, the parties’ gains and losses, and the impact of issues, especially the role of Brexit. Voting behaviour is explored in depth, with examination of the role of issues and discussion of the role of social cleavages such as class, age and education. The process by which the government was put together over a period of nearly five months is traced through in-depth interviews with participants. And six candidates who contested Election 2020 give first-hand reports of their campaigns.


“How Ireland Voted 2020 garners stellar contributions from the best scholars of Irish electoral politics. In addition to the analysis of leading Irish academics, this edited volume offers a glossary, list of abbreviations, chronology, and set of colour photos to begin the book. This background information is most helpful to those less familiar with the parties and personalities associated with contemporary Irish politics.” (Timothy White, Estudios Irlandeses, Vol. 17, 2022)

“The book contains lots of detail on many different angles.” (Mick Fealty,, July 23, 2021)

“Like many West European countries, twenty-first century Ireland has experienced dramatic social and political change. How Ireland Voted provides invaluable insight into how and why the 2020 election added yet another important chapter to this story, as both politicians and voters adjusted and reacted to the unfamiliar landscape in which they found themselves.” (Sir John Curtice, Professor of Politics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK) 

“The definitive, comprehensive word on a remarkable election, combining in-depth political context with expert analysis, this book is a must-read for contemporary understanding of Irish elections and will also be a valuable historical record.” (Jane Green, Professorial Fellow, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, UK) 

“An invaluable guide not just to how Ireland voted, but to why Ireland voted the way it did. Required reading for those wishing to understand the last election, and prepare for the next one.” (David McCullagh, RTÉ)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Political Science, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

    Michael Gallagher, Michael Marsh

  • Department of Government and Politics, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

    Theresa Reidy

About the editors

Michael Gallagher is Professor of Comparative Politics in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

Michael Marsh is Emeritus Professor of Political Science in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

Theresa Reidy is Senior Lecturer in Government at University College Cork, Ireland.

Bibliographic Information

Buy it now

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 32.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access