First Inter Party Government 1948-51
À new small party called Clann na Poblachta had been formed and would prove to be very influential in the coming years. A coalition would be formed with Fine Gael as the largest party. As the largest party in the coalition, it was a foregone conclusion that Fine Gael would provide the nominee for Taoiseach. The natural choice was the party leader, Richard Mulcahy However, republicans such as Sean MacBride refused to serve under the man who had been the commander of the Free State forces during the civil war. Since the other parties would have been 17 seats short of a majority (and indeed, would have been 11 seats behind Fianna Fáil) without MacBride, Mulcahy unselfishly stepped aside in favour of John A. Costello, a relatively unknown politician and former Attorney General Mulcahy, who remained nominal leader of Fine Gael, became Minister for Education. William Norton, the leader of the Labour Party became Tánaiste and Minister for Social Welfare.