It was founded in December 1932 with the support of several sitting TDs, including the four Farmers' Party members and some Independents. Prominent among the latter were party leader Frank MacDermot, a TD for Roscommon since the general election of February 1932, and James Dillon, a TD for Donegal, who was the son of John Dillon, the last leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party. In the general election of January 1933 the new party won eleven seats. Fianna Fáil formed a majority government after the election.
In September 1933, the National Centre Party merged with Cumann na nGaedheal (the Official Opposition) and the Army Comrades Association, to form Fine Gael. A small number of party members found the merger unacceptable and some of them stood in later elections as Independents. Although MacDermot became a Vice-President of Fine Gael at its foundation, he differed from most of his party colleagues on issues such as the degree of emphasis to be given to Ireland's membership of the Commonwealth and he ultimately resigned from the party, to sit as an Independent.