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Why is there no Radical Right Party in Ireland?

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The rise of the radical or extreme right parties in Europe - parties usually noted for strong, sometimes racist anti-immigrant ideologies - has attracted a great deal of attention in political science. Ireland, despite having some conditions favourable to the growth of such a party has no radical right party. This paper argues that that this is because the 'space' usually occupied by such parties - for young, poor people disaffected by economic change - is taken up by Sinn Fein, which though it has similarities to radical right parties, differs markedly in its attitudes to immigrants. It goes on to explain the special circumstances that prevent nationalist parties in Ireland from presenting overtly anti-immigrant platforms. The focus on anti-immigration and liberal economic policies for such parties may mean that other parties with strong resemblances are excluded from studies they might usefully be included.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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