Majority government is better choice for economy – Institute of Directors

Snap poll of institute’s members finds single-party is preference to coalition

Once votes are counted on – or about – February 9th, the Institute of Directors (IOD) would prefer we emerged with a clear majority Government rather than a confidence and supply deal like the one that kept the current Fine Gael-led administration afloat.

A snap poll of the institute’s members, published on Tuesday, shows they favour a single-party majority Government over a coalition, as this would be more stable and so better for the economy.

You have to go back to the 1977 election for the last, clear, single-party majority, when Jack Lynch led Fianna Fáil to an 84-seat landslide, giving it a a 24-seat lead over Fine Gael and Labour combined.

Many blame that government for plunging the Republic into a recession that lasted through the 1980s. After that, Fianna Fáil-minority administrations switched with Fine Gael-Labour alliances before coalitions became the norm from 1989.


Arguably one of the most successful was the unlikely Fine Gael-Labour-Progressive Democrat “rainbow coalition” of 1994 to 1997. This produced an Exchequer surplus, began cutting corporate taxes and introduced schemes to make it easier for small businesses to get credit.

The outgoing Government’s record is mixed. It lasted as long as the one elected in 1977. It handled Brexit well. The economy is in good shape, but mostly due to external factors and long-established policies. Health and public housing are a mess, but decades of neglect and mismanagement are partly responsible for that.

The reality is that composition does not always determine a government’s stability or effectiveness. Irish voters know this, they have been electing their own governments continuously for almost a century, longer than those in many EU states.

They will do so again on February 8th, irrespective of what the IOD says. If institute members want a say in the make up of the next Government, they can turn up with everyone else at the polling stations and vote for whatever result they think is best.