1. Yes, basically. There are slight variations - FG have a reputation as being slightly more socially liberal and FF more willing to engage in public works schemes now and then, but only because FF are essentially driven by localism and clientelism.
2. The church's influence now varies from region to region. In Dublin it's mostly gone, although the rituals (funerals, weddings, communions subsist). In some rural areas it's a lot stronger, but this seems to be determined mostly by the nature of the parish priest. The influence of Catholicism has long been a convenient excuse, allowing us to ignore strong reactionary elements in our society (a lot of which, as you'd expect, were heavily promoted during colonialism)
3. Yeah he's still president, but president is a fairly meaningless position. People like him, but he doesn't weigh in very often.
4. In short - the population for most of the 20th century was generally conservative. Reasons for this (obviously my opinion): constant emigration acts as a pressure valve, because frustrated people on the cusp of consciousness leave. Weak trade unions, and as a result very low union participation rate (~24% I believe). Third, the role of socialists/trade unionists in Irish history was largely ignored, and Irish nationalism was seen (by many, not all) as consonant with staunch Catholicism, social conservatism with a mild 'conscience'. (Again, thinking of FF here).
5. Reactionary, coward. Easy to put all the blame on himself and the church, as opposed to the large class of big farmers (a tight-fisted bunch).
6. Yes, 100% true they used the airport for extraordinary rendition flights etc. We'll pretty much let them (or NATO) do whatever they like. I've never come across join-NATO sentiment, I'm sure there's some, but the general position is akin to the position during WW2 - Profess neutrality, aid power quietly.
7. It's gotten considerably worse since then. There's awareness, but it's been going on so long people don't care. By which I mean 52% of people in rural Ireland own the property they live in (i.e. are petit-porkeois) and the left is too fragmented to provide an alternative working people can support. What's going to happen? Another EU bailout, presumably. Easy liquidity from the ECB. This one is different from the last, though, because it's not accompanied by a market flooded with houses, it's artificial scarcity. So it won't burst, IMO, it might deflate slowly, because the demand for a first (as opposed to a second or third) home is basically inelastic. Hopefully we'll see some slumlords get lynched.
8. Yes to both questions, basically. Varadkar is confusingly popular because a) easy liquidity from the EU means decent quality of life for people with stable jobs and houses they own, and the left are all over the place.
9. Meh, not really, I don't think. FG are pro-gays and pro-abortion, basically Trudeau types. It's effective at taking away a certain sector of the lib vote, but those people wouldn't vote left anyway.
10. I don't think it'll be the same, no, but there will be one. The treatment will be the same; university fees go up, houses and hospitals get cut, all large-scale infrastructure plans(of which there isn't many) get 'postponed'. Porky scum get paid off.
Hope that answered it, I for one would like to see this thread in future. >>129353