After years of growing anger over austerity programs, which have hit the middle and lower classes of Ireland, voters shocked the political establishment on 8 February.
In a stunning upset, the Sinn Féin party, known mostly as the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, received more first-choice votes in the Irish general election than any other party.
Mary Lou McDonald, President of Sinn Féin, announced, “We asked people to give us a chance, a chance to deliver the platform… and that platform is about solving the housing crisis, it’s about getting to grips with the crisis in our health services, it’s about giving families and workers a break, giving them some breathing space.”
Ms. McDonald was referring to the alarming increase of homeless people over the past few years. In addition to a housing squeeze, rents have skyrocketed as much as 40 percent over the past three years forcing many young people to leave Dublin and other cities and move back into their parents’ homes… while many others are living on the streets.
For almost a century, Irish politics have been under the ironclad control of two establishments, the pro-business parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, which together were often referred to as the “duopoly.”
“This is no longer a two-party system,” Ms. McDonald emphasized. “People want a different type of government.”
Despite a booming economy after recovering from the 2008 global recession, most Irish citizens, as in much of the world, have been left behind. Dublin has the highest cost of living of any city in the Eurozone, rents across the entire country went up every quarter for seven consecutive years, and last year more than 10,000 Irish citizens became homeless.
Exit polls confirmed that the large numbers of young voters were not focused on Sinn Féin’s controversial past association with the para-military Irish Republican Army, but rather on the party to take on the elites and deal with the problems of working people.
Lawmakers from other parties have conceded that the huge coalition of young voters and  the working-class are fed up with the old system and will be hard to ignore.
TRENDPOST: What occurred in Ireland is another chapter in the “New World Disorder,” one of our 2020 Top Trends.
Anti-establishment movements will continue to sweep the globe. With the majority of wealth concentrated in the hands of the few while real incomes decline and hardships increase among the general population, protests will escalate and old parties will die, replaced by those promising to serve the needs of the working class and those suffering hardships.

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