Brexit & Ireland, an inside story of the Irish response

Tuesday, 03 September 2019
Need to understand how Ireland helped to shape the EU's response to Brexit? RTÉ's Europe correspondent Tony Connelly tells the dramatic story of the Irish response to this political and economic earthquake. Read More...

Stanhope Forbes, father of Cornwall's Newlyn School of painting

Friday, 16 August 2019
Dublin-born Stanhope Forbes spent time painting Brittany before founding the influential Newlyn School of painters in Cornwall in the late 19th century. Read More...

Lough Derg: the spirit of a holy place

Wednesday, 04 April 2012
A small island in a lake called Lough Derg is one of the most famous of Ireland's places of pilgrimage. About 35,000 pilgrims come to it each year intent on doing penance for their sins or seeking divine intervention in their lives. Read More...

Nantes-Brest Canal, Brittany's popular leisure waterway

Friday, 07 October 2011
The Nantes-Brest Canal is a 364 km long waterway connecting the city of Brest, on the west of Brittany, to the city of Nantes in the south east. Read More...

The shrine of the Cailleach at Glen Lyon

Wednesday, 07 September 2011
Each year, in one of the most remote areas of Scotland, a family of stones are brought out of the house in the spring and returned to the house for the winter. The tradition stretches back thousands of years and the site is believed to be the only surviving shrine to the Celtic goddess Cailleach. Read More...

Scottish National Party re-elected in landslide election victory

Historic result as First Minister Alex Salmond returns to office with the largest majority vote in the history of the Scottish Parliament.

Historic result as First Minister Alex Salmond returns to office with the largest majority vote in the history of the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP formed Scotland's first majority government after voters gave the party 69 seats on the Scottish Parliament election on 5 May 2011.

The main opposition parties' share of the vote fell to 37 seats for the Labour Party, 15 seats for the Conservatives, and 5 seats for the Liberal-Democrats. The Scottish Green party retained their two seats and independent MSP Margo MacDonald was also re-elected to the chamber.

The SNP's victory was hailed as historic as no party has ever had an overall majority since the opening of the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood. The complex mixed member proportional representation system used in the Holyrood election was originally implemented to prevent single party governments in Scotland.

In its worst election defeat in Scotland since 1931, the Labour Party went down to 37 seats from the 46 MSPs it had in Holyrood in 2007. The party failed to get their main shadow cabinet ministers elected to Parliament as finance spokesman Andy Kerr and former ministers Tom McCabe, Frank McAveety and Sarah Boyack lost to the SNP in Labour's West of Scotland heartlands. Labour leader Iain Gray barely managed to retain his East Lothian's seat by a narrow majority of 151 votes.

The Liberal Democrats were the biggest losers of the election, down to 5 seats from the 17 MSPs they had in 2007. The Conservatives won 15 seats, two down from the 17 MSP they had in 2007.

The three main opposition party leaders, Iain Gray (Labour), Annabel Goldie (Conservatives) and Tavish Scott (Liberal-Democrats) announced their resignations in the wake of their respective parties' poor electoral performance.

The SNP now has a clear majority of four in the 129-seat Scottish Parliament, giving Mr Salmond's government enough votes to pass bills such as Minimum Pricing on Alcohol, introduce the large retailer levy known as "Tesco Tax", and hold an independence referendum amongst others.

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Celtic Countries is the online magazine for people who enjoy the Celtic nations, their natural splendour, culture, and lifestyles.

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