“A makeshift majority” was how Seán Lemass angrily dismissed the peculiar political confection formed in 1948 to bring an end to 16 years of unbroken Fianna Fáil rule. That government, led by a compromise taoiseach, John A Costello, comprised no fewer than five parties: Fine Gael, Labour, National Labour, Clann na Pobláchta, Clann na Talmhan and an alliance of independents. It survived for three and a half years.
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