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Presidential Election and Dublin West didn’t turn out too bad for Fianna Fail at all. October 30, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Fianna Fáil, Irish Politics.
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On the last bus I found myself sitting amidst some aging Soldiers of Destiny, they were in good form and not just from the drink…..

When what seems an age ago Micheál Martin announced that Fianna Fail would not be fielding a candidate in the Presidential election there were shall we say misgivings among certain elements of Fianna Fail about the decision. It was a bit chaotic, Offering Gay Byrne a nomination yet stopping aspiring internal candidates such as Brain Crowley and Eamon O’Cuiv and thats before we got to the prospective candidacy of Labhrás Ó Murchú in the final few days before
nominations closed. It didn’t bode well for Martins leadership or indeed Fianna Fail.
So Fianna Fail were avoiding the cost of a Presidential election and concentrating their efforts solely on Dublin West candidate
David McGuinness.
Around the same time I had a conversation with someone who had canvassed for Conor Lenihan in February’s election. Naturally the Radio documentary “Dogfight Conor and Charlie” came up in conversation, he said if anything that the documentary had understated some of the hostility towards Conor Lenihan and Fianna Fail. A few stories of close shaves and rows the candidate got into were told. Over the course of the campaign such was the abuse that many had stopped canvassing as it just wasn’t worth the hassle. Looking back at the campaign I remarked that Fianna Fail didn’t call to my door even the once and I live in what was at one stage probably Fianna Fail heartland. I live in one of the only two LEAs in Dublin when in 2009 Fianna Fail candidates were elected on the first count.
So morale in Fianna Fail was low and Martins decision to opt out of the Presidential campaign for some made it lower.

Fast forward to the aftermath of Dublin West and The Presidential election.
The Presidential Election positives for Fianna Fail…
-Martin McGuinness, as feared by many in FF (and other places too) , didn’t hover up the Fianna Fail vote, as the campaign progressed Sean Gallagher did that.
-Fine Gaels performance caused much mirth in Fianna Fail circles. Had they gone with Dev Og or another candidate it could have been them.
– Despite the loss and his ‘Independence’, Sean Gallaghers vote was massive with 28.50% of the vote, many of it from Fianna Fail voters.

Negatives
-It was the links with Fianna Fail that in part led to Gallaghers late collapse. Like many viewers I uttered the word “Bertie” when on the frontline brown envelopes and cheques were mentioned. It also brought back memories of the shady fundraising done by Fianna Fail (and other parties)
-The Gallagher vote was much lower in Dublin and other urban areas than elsewhere. Given that they have no TDs in Dublin Gallaghers low vote there shows that Fianna Fail is still more toxic in Dublin than elsewhere…..

… However the result of David McGuinness in Dublin West will be a huge boost to them. Yes he didn’t win the seat and they are now seatless in Dublin but to increase the party vote from the General Election was a massive achievement (he got a bigger percentage vote and a bigger number of votes than Fianna Fail did in February). He also didn’t do too badly on transfers either.

…. As the last two Soldiers of Destiny left the bus, after their jubilant journey. Their parting shot to each other ….. “Wait til they cut the 4 Billion in December”

Having had little or nothing to be enthused about in a long time, The morale of the Fianna Fail Grassroots is up. Fianna Fail are far from dead yet.

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Comments»

1. Oireachtas Retort - October 31, 2011

Reality will dawn on them when they return on Tuesday I suspect. Mahon is due within weeks and the best of the party will be back on display.

In the long run of course it’s inevitable that the government will be architects of their recovery.

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2. Budapestkick - October 31, 2011

It’s somewhat pathetic that, in essence, those dead-eyed morons were celebrating losing their last seat in the capital.

Also, people seem to be ignoring the fact that they probably got quite a boost from the fact that the only other openly right-wing candidate in the constituency was a joke.

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irishelectionliterature - October 31, 2011

Have to agree there, the point was that they and any other FFer I knew were so despondent that anything other than a drubbing at the polls was good news for them.
Also Martin would have feared another backlash to canvassers during the Presidential campaign further damaging the grassroots.
Must confess I was shocked by the size of the vote David McGuinness got. Like myself I’m sure you had hoped that FF were in terminal decline, a poor result at the by-election would have continued that decline. Hopefully the Mahon report will hit them hard..

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3. Padraig Yeates - October 31, 2011

Sounds like a bad Halloween story made all the more horrific by it’s ring of truth.Should you be out taking the late bus home at your age?

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irishelectionliterature - October 31, 2011

Hearing FFers in good mood was fairly Ghoulish alright

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4. Northside Socialist - October 31, 2011

“Also, people seem to be ignoring the fact that they probably got quite a boost from the fact that the only other openly right-wing candidate in the constituency was a joke.” +1

FF threw a lot into the campaign in Dublin 15. They were almost beaten into third place. They made a big issue of corporation tax in their usual, last minute ‘bombshell’ campaign letter pushed through the doors. This was an attempt to discredit both the Labour and the SP candidates. Dublin 15 has large MNC employers so this may have resonated with some voters.

Also, the local papers beatified Lenihan following his death, Lenihan always used grants to local schools and GAA clubs as an opportunity to highlight himself and FF (standard stuff I know, but Varadkar for example has minimal credibility in the clientelism stakes outside of his core area of Castleknock and Loftus has even less credibility).

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5. Tomboktu - October 31, 2011

one of the only two LEAs in Dublin when in 2009 Fianna Fail candidates were elected on the first count

Two? Cabra-Glasnevin is one (Mary Fitzpatrick shafting the Ahern dynasty). What was the other?

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irishelectionliterature - October 31, 2011

Rathfarnham. I was refering to County Dublin.

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Tomboktu - October 31, 2011

Found it. John Lahart in Rathfarnham.

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6. make do and mend - October 31, 2011

The bottom line is that a FF candidate received over 1/2 million votes in the Pres election – this after the whiff of brown envelope politics seered the atmosphere with its putrid evervescence.

Doesn’t bode well for the Irish body politic in the future. I remember reading not long ago that the US independent/unaligned voter dwelt upon their voting decision for less than five minutes on average. They based their decisions upon such things as the promise of being taxed less or upon such lofty insight that their preferred candidate was able to speak really, really good.

How many so-called floating voters voted for a party in the last GE because they simply weren’t FF, but the voter couldn’t name one substantial policy of the party they voted for? This type of voting pattern is highly volatile and subject to quick reverses.

The FF bogeyman is here to stay. 500,000 voting zombies testify to that.

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7. DC - October 31, 2011

“Their parting shot to each other ….. “Wait til they cut the 4 Billion in December””.

It takes a certain amount of arrogance for a party that was well beaten (by the weakest link in the coalition) in their last stronghold in Dublin to assume that disgruntled voters will be flooding to them in a few montsh time…though I suppose anything is possible. Surely FF won’t actually oppose the cuts as such?

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8. tomasoflatharta - November 2, 2011

Elections Over – Fianna Fáil Still Toxic, A Government Starting to Slide http://tomasoflatharta.com/2011/11/01/elections-over-fianna-fail-still-toxic-a-government-starting-to-slide/

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