This is the first major study of the origins, development, and strategies of Fianna Fail; showing how the party achieved its central role in Irish politics. Dunphy explores its historical development, looking at its organizational structure, the evolution of party ideology, and theinteractions between party and state. He analyses how the changing social structure of Ireland affected Fianna Fail policies, and demonstrates how the inadequacies of rival political parties' responses to crises benefited Fianna Fail. The author locates the historical experience of Fianna Failrule in Ireland within the broader dimensions of European politics. The result is a fascinating mixture of detailed empirical research and broader theoretical analysis which reconstructs Fianna Fail's rise to power and explains how it retained its position of dominance.