The Progressive Era refers to a period in Irish history in which the Labour Party and the Civil Front ruled together, defined explicitly as lasting between the landslide victory of the Labour-CF coalition in 1957 up until the victory of Albert Reynolds in the 1985 Presidential election, the first time a President was elected separately from the Dail. The Progressive Era came about due to deep frustrations with the Irish public over the grandiose but unrealized visions and promises of the ruling Christian Democrats, the perceived failure of the Great Movement, and the uncoordinated response of the Irish right towards the unified left-wing coalition. The Progressive Era is known for many events, including the haphazard introducton of the Irish welfare state, the rise of Ireland as both a military and civilian nuclear power, its troubled relationship with France as well as NATO, the Irish economic boom of the 1960's and early 1970's, as well as a period of political instability in the Dail caused by snap elections as well as the assassinations of three Presidents, and also sustained violence and civil discord in northern Ireland started by the Protestant minority, which felt fundamentally persecuted. The Progressive Era concluded with the 1979 Belfast Crisis in response to a Protestant separatist movement in Ulster, the constitutional reforms enacted in 1982, and the victorious campaign of the Conservative champion Albert Reynolds.

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