Here's an interesting piece on the Ireland's ruling Fianna Fail's epic fail in a by-election, losing to the hard-left Sinn Fein for that seat.
That's in the backdrop of Ireland having to get EU help to cover a massage shortfall courtesy of failing banks and announcing tax increases and budget cuts to stem the red ink. Fianna Fail has been the plurality party in Ireland for the entire blog era, having held power for 13 years, usually in coalition with a libertarian party but currently with the Greens; they've been the primary conservative party in Ireland, at least using American applications.
The BBC folks differ, trying to cast Fine Gael as a party of the right; if memory serves, they were center-right years ago but morphed into center-left. Fine Gael has been the main opposition party as of late, running on a Clintonesque wonky-center-left platform; that might look center-right to a BBC writer of the left. They and the Labor party make up the lion share of the Irish left in the 21st century.
The party in power takes it in the neck when bad times come, and Fianna Fail might have run out of juice, having lost its main leader of the 00s and getting a bad case of incumbentitis; the John Major Tories of the early 90s come to mind, or, if you want to have a two-l llama case of the coming alpacalypse, the Canadian PCs under Mulrooney in the early 90s. Merkel is getting simular heat for presiding over bad times and having to bail out all their over-leveraged Euro-peers like Greece, Ireland and (soon coming to a financial page near you) Portugal.
The current British Conservative-led government pushed through an austerity package right after an election where (if the Tories and LibDems can hang together) they have four years to have voters forgive them for the budgetary carnage. Fianna Fail doesn't have that luxury, as a fragile coaltion might not hold together