The first of five general elections held during the 1980s saw Charles Haughey and Garret Fitzgerald fighting their first elections as leaders of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael respectively.

The first of five general elections held during the 1980s saw Charles Haughey and Garret Fitzgerald fighting their first elections as leaders of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael respectively.

Added to the mix of an ailing economy, increasing unemployment and emigration was the H-Blocks campaign in support of the Republican prisoners on hunger strike in the Maze Prison. The prisoners had gone on hunger strike, aiming to secure the reintroduction of political status for Republican prisoners.