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Cumann na nGaedheal

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(Redirected from Cumann na nGaedhael)

Cumann na nGaedheal (League of the Gaels) was an Irish language name given to two Irish political parties.

The first Cumann na nGaedheal was founded by Arthur Griffith in 1904 to campaign against a visit by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra to Ireland. In 1905 it merged with a number of other parties to form Sinn Féin.

The second Cumann na nGaedheal was formed by pro-treaty Sinn Féin TDs in Dáil Éireann in Dublin in 1923. The leadership of the pro-treaty Sinn Féin group includedArthur Griffith, Michael Collins and W.T. Cosgrave. The former two died during the early staged of the Civil war leaving Cosgrave to lead the pro-treaty faction. The Cumann na nGaedheal party came into being when the pro-treaty wing of Sinn Féin decided to formally style themselves as a distinct party. The idea for the new party arose in late december 1922 but its formal launch was delayed until April 1923 as a direct consequence of the Civil war. It had as its core element the pro-treaty section of Sinn Féin returned in the 1922 general election. The party contested its first general election in 1923 and won 63 seats (39% of the poll). Its leader was W.T. Cosgrave who had fought in the 1916 Rising and had been prominant in the Government of the underground Irish republic. Until 1932 Cumann na nGaedheal formed the Government of the Irish Free State with Cosgrave as President of the Executive Council. Politically unselfish the party's support base gradually slipped to DeValera's new party Fianna Fáil after its inception in 1926. Cosgrave's party became soley identified with protecting the treaty and defending the new State.Ecomomically the party favoured balanced budgets and free trade at a time when its opponents advocated protectionism. Nonetheless it came as a surprise when Cumann na nGaedheal was defeated by Fianna Fáil in the general election of February 1932.

Its support base contracted further in the general election of January 1933 and it subsequently entered discussions with the National Centre Party and the National Guard (Blueshirts) on the possibility of a merger. This came about in September 1933 with the formation of Fine Gael from the three parties, though in relity Fine Gael was a larger version of Cumann na nGaedheal.

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