Catholic Democrats (Ireland)

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Catholic Democrats
Founded1995 (1995)
IdeologySocial conservatism
Political Catholicism
Political positionRight-wing[1]
Address47 O'Connell St.

The Catholic Democrats is an unregistered minor conservative political party in Ireland with no elected representation.[1] It was initially known as the National Party and later as the Christian Democrats.

It was founded in December 1995 by Nora Bennis, a Catholic values and anti-abortion activist. Bennis had attained approximately 5% of the vote in the 1994 European election in the Munster constituency, running under the Family First label. Bennis played a role in the campaign against the divorce referendum of that year, which passed with 50.3% of vote in favour. She had run a conservative pressure group called Family Solidarity. The creation of the party by the Limerick-based Bennis caused tension in conservative Catholic circles, because it followed the establishment of the Christian Solidarity Party by Gerard Casey and other Dublin-based activists, who named their party to show support for Bennis' group. The National Party aimed to attract the support of those who support traditional Catholic morality in legislation. The party's policies also included financial support for rural communities and a smaller role for the state in economic affairs.

The party had no electoral success at any level, and did not contest further elections. The party was renamed the Christian Democrats,[2] and then again during the course of 2012 as the Catholic Democrats. As of 2016, it was listed on the Register of Political Parties as "Catholic Democrats (The National Party)".[3] They campaigned against the children referendum in 2012.[4] Theresa Heaney from Cork ran, unsuccessfully, for the party in the 2014 European election in the South constituency.

The party ran three candidates in the 2016 general election;[5][6] Bennis in Limerick City, Heaney in Cork South-West and Noel McKervey in Longford-Weastmeath. None of them were elected.

They no longer appeared on the Register of Political Parties from October 2016.[7] In November 2017, the Standards in Public Office Commission stated that no statements of accounts had been received from the Catholic Democrats, in breach of the Electoral Act.[8]

General election results[edit]

Election Seats won ± Position First Pref votes % Government Leader
0 / 166
Steady Increase8 19,077 1.1% No seats Nora Bennis
0 / 158
Steady Increase12 2,013 0.1% No seats Nora Bennis

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Maol Muire Tynan (13 February 1996). "Bennis says new party will surprise". The Irish Times. p. 4. At the launching of the fledgling conservative and "pro family" party in Dublin yesterday
  2. ^ List of Bodies Approved by the Referendum Commission under Section 7 of the Referendum Act 1998, in respect of the Referendum on the Thirty-First Amendment of the Constitution (Children) Bill 2012 (PDF), retrieved 13 January 2014
  3. ^ "Register of Political Parties" (PDF). Houses of the Oireachtas. 10 December 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  4. ^ Griffin, Dan (6 November 2012). "No campaign bemoans lack of time and resources". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  5. ^ "Election 2016 - Catholic Democrats". RTÉ News. 10 February 2016.
  6. ^ Nora is back on the election trail in limerick Limerick Post, 11 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Register of Political Parties" (PDF). Houses of the Oireachtas. 20 October 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 January 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  8. ^ Burke, Ceimin (29 November 2017). "Nearly half of Ireland's political parties failed to submit accounts to watchdog". Retrieved 1 December 2017.