In 1982, there were two general elections. The first, held in February, followed the collapse of the Fine Gael-Labour coalition after the Government's budget had been defeated.

In 1982, there were two general elections. The first, held in February, followed the collapse of the Fine Gael-Labour coalition after the Government's budget had been defeated. Minister for Finance John Bruton had attempted to put VAT on children's shoes and the left-wing independent TDs who had been supporting the government had voted against the budget.

Although Fianna Fáil emerged as the largest party, they would rely on the support of independent TD Tony Gregory and three Sinn Féin The Workers Party TDs to form a government.