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Latest Millward Brown/Sunday Independent Poll September 21, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
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From RTÉ:

FG 25% [NC]

Ind/Other 24% [NC]

SF22% [-2%]

FF 21% [+1%]

LP 9% [+2%]

More on that during week, but just to say, pretty much well within margin of error in terms of movements.

More on the potential arrival of new members in the Technical Group September 19, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

Many thanks to Steve White for directing me to this, a piece in the Herald on the arrival (perhaps) of some of the Reform Alliance in the Technical Group. Category errors abound in what winds up an article with only the most tenuous connection to reality. Shall I list the ways? I surely will.

By applying to join the Dail Technical Group, she and her Reform Alliance colleagues are set to shift the balance of power in Leinster House – an important development as the countdown to a general election begins.

Is it, is it really?

Ever since Creighton departed Fine Gael over last year’s abortion controversy, she has been the subject of intense rumours about the possibility of a new centre-right party.
Despite plenty of coy hints and a so-called ‘monster meeting’ in the RDS, nothing has come of this yet.
Throwing in her lot with the Technical Group would be the next best thing, giving the Reform Alliance TDs a much higher profile while also keeping their long-term options open.

Er… how?

As usual with Lucinda , nothing about this is straightforward. Catherine Murphy, the Technical Group’s whip, has expressed hostility to the idea. Denis Naughten, an important member of the Reform Alliance, says he has no interest in making a move.

On the positive side, former Labour TDs Roisin Shortall and Tommy Broughan are rumoured to be potential recruits.

Now ponder that, here is one of the most avowedly right wing politicians in the state, and Broughan is meant to be a possible colleague of hers…

But check this out:

Assuming that these teething problems can be sorted out, then the potential is huge. The Technical Group’s membership might swell from the current 21 up to 23, more than either Fianna Fail or Sinn Fein.
If it managed to choose a single figurehead, he or she could claim to be the real leader of the opposition.

There’s a problem, and it’s one the Herald writer is either unaware of or chooses to ignore, that the Group has no political orientation. It can’t, despite the efforts of some involved, since it is a technical grouping. This doesn’t mean that in bad times, as with certain individual members of same ,that negative publicity for one won’t reflect on all. But functionally, and how could it really be otherwise, it’s a bunch of individual TDs bound together by the need to get common services and speaking time.
That is, essentially, all that the Technical Group is.
But the writer, again blithely in ignorance of such matters continues:

This, of course, is the Technical Group’s Achilles heel. Its TDs range from old-school socialists such as Joe Higgins and Maureen O’Sullivan to free marketeers like Shane Ross and Stephen Donnelly.
Like animals in the jungle, these Independents huddle together for warmth – but they are essentially lone wolves with little hope of ever agreeing a common policy platform.

Because they can’t, because – again – the Technical Group is not a political group.

Even so, Lucinda’s move makes perfect sense. It will secure the Reform Alliance much more speaking time in the Dail and increase their presence on Oireachtas committees.
Essentially, it buys them what Margaret Thatcher used to call “the oxygen of publicity”.

I’d wonder about that. What it surely points to is that the great dreams of the Reform Alliance have now faded, that that as a party is finished as a concept, at least this side of an election, that they were unable to attract TDs across and so on. Even had they done so they wouldn’t have constituted a party grouping because they hadn’t contested the 2011 election as the Reform Alliance. I’d actually think the RA TDs would get more publicity outside the Technical Group than within it.

One might also ask does Creighton want to be so closely associated with such a diverse group?

Not that the writer is completely incorrect:

With a general election now 18 months away at most, all of the main party leaders have started to play coalition poker. Independents are the wild card in the pack.
In most opinion polls, they get between 20 and 25pc – which could make it extremely difficult for Enda Kenny or anyone else to form a government without at least some of their support.


Last weekend’s RedC survey proved the point perfectly. If its figures translated into reality, then the only possible two-party coalition would be between Fine Gael and Sinn Fein.

But from there the castles in the sky become more absurd:

All this explains why Lucinda’s application to join the Technical Group will inject an extra frisson into the long election campaign.
She and her fellow Fine Gael rebels may even try to engineer a reverse takeover, ditching some left-wing members but uniting its more economically conservative TDs behind her leadership.

Again, the writer is apparently unaware that TDs can’t be jettisoned from the TG. Because, and let’s state this again, it’s a technical group.

If or when she finally decides to stop teasing and form a proper political party, it could be stronger than any of her opponents imagined.

From there we’re treated to boilerplate Creighton adulation…

… as ambitious as ever.
….one of the few Irish politicians recognisable by their first name alone …commands respect even from people who strongly disagree with her more right-wing views…

We are also treated to the suggestion that she could get revenge on Enda Kenny ‘becoming a major roadblock to [his] re-election as Taoiseach’ . How would that be then? Pulling the massed ranks of the TG in behind him – because she surely isn’t going to pull them in behind SF, is she? That’s right, a group which, whether the writer likes it or not is going to continue to contain a broad range of opinion left to right? Though a group which the writer also suggests will be have O”Sullivan et al ejected from it.

And then we read:

The great game of Irish politics is finally back on. It appears that Lucinda Creighton is determined to be a player.

It is impossible to come away from this without the sense that for some in the media the words Lucinda Creighton are enough to launch any article and pretty much any old nonsense can be written in front and behind them. Perhaps that may well be true.

But, if they believe for a moment what they write here then one suspects they’ll be disappointed.

Irish Left Archive: Civil Divorce is a Civil Right – Vote Yes – The Workers’ Party, 1986 September 18, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
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For the poster section of the Archive, this from 1986.


The text of the amendment was as follows:

The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1986, proposes –

to delete subsection 2° of Article 41.3 of the Constitution, which states that no law shall be enacted providing for the grant of a dissolution of marriage, and to substitute the subsection here following:

2° Where, and only where, such court established under this Constitution as may be prescribed by law is satisfied that:

i. a marriage has failed,
ii. the failure has continued for a period of, or periods amounting to, at least five years,
iii. there is no reasonable possibility of reconciliation between the parties to the marriage, and
iv. any other condition prescribed by law has been complied with,

the court may in accordance with law grant a dissolution of the marriage provided that the court is satisfied that adequate and proper provision having regard to the circumstances will be made for any dependent spouse and for any child of or any child who is dependent on either spouse.

As noted here it was defeated -

No 935,843 63.48
Yes 538,279 36.52

It would not be until 1996 that the prohibition was finally overturned by the Fifteenth Amendment.

If you have more posters from the Irish Left (or relating to Ireland from political parties or formations or campaigns abroad) from any period, whether issue led, party promotional, campaigning or such like please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be glad to post them online as part of this section.

From Reform Alliance to Technical Group September 17, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.

Those already in the Technical Group may well be hopping mad at this latest news.

Lucinda Creighton, a leading figure in the Reform Alliance, submitted her application to Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett to join the technical group.

Ms Creighton said last night that the Ceann Comhairle had agreed to facilitate her and colleagues Billy Timmins, Terence Flanagan, Peter Matthews and Denis Naughten in joining the group.

And they’re certainly not rolling out the welcome mat:

…the loose grouping of independent and smaller party TDs say… they would oppose her application to join them.

And what of this fascinating piece of information:

Neither the Ceann Comhairle nor the Technical Group itself has a role in who can and cannot join the group. However, it had been thought that those previously affiliated to political parties in the current Dáil term – as Creighton was with Fine Gael – could not join.


But Creighton said she had been in “constant contact” with Barrett’s office for the last two days and is now of the understanding that any independent TD can now join the Technical Group.

“He is interpreting the relevant standing order in such a way that any independent member in the Dáil can join Technical Group,” she claimed.

Hitherto those standing orders were interpreted on the departure of Creighton et al from FG to allow for the RA TDs and some ex-LP TDs to effectively be ‘the others’, given their own tranche of speaking time (though no resources if my memory serves me correctly).

So where does this leave Roisin Shortall or Tommy Broughan? What of the allocation of speaking time and resources?

And what of the Reform Alliance, the – er – last best hope for…erm… reform.

All very complicated, and above and beyond that, why now? Is the idea to bundle up all, or as many as possible of, the Independents in the Dáil under a single TG category thereby potentially diminishing their individual political identities to some degree? That goes so far, but what of those TDs outside the TG, that would be Grealish, Healy-Rae and one M. McGrath (IIRC) and also… Denis Naughten, previously sort of kind of of the Reform Alliance while Billy Timmins is apparently undecided (and what does that say about the Reform Alliance too?). We shall see.

More on the latest RedC/SBP poll September 17, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.

An interesting poll in the SBP this weekend from RedC. It’s headline figures as noted on Saturday were as follows:

Fine Gael – 28% (+3%)

Labour – 8% (+1%)

Fianna Fáil party 18% (NC)

Sinn Féin 23% (+1%)

Independents and Others are also on 23% (-5%)

Adrian Kavanagh – who has transcended the curious disappearance of Political Reform:

…estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 32, Fine Gael 56, Sinn Fein 37, Labour Party 3, Independents and Others 30.

FG big enough, one supposes, but… Behold the renaissance of the LP with a …er… ‘new’ leader. And government formation on those figures? 80 is pretty much the bare minimum necessary for a coalition to operate. How’s that going to work with the configuration offered above?

The reconsolidation of FG is troubling, but not entirely unexpected. Pat Leahy in the SBP suggests that this poll shows a ‘boost for the coalition parties’. And that it is ‘encouraging news… as the new political season begins and the countdown to the October budget begins in earnest’. I’m not entirely convinced:

Support for the government parties increases by four points today, with Fine Gael winning the lion’s share of that improvement, rising by three points since our last poll in June to 28 per cent today, while Labour gains by a single point, up to 8 per cent.

Richard Colwell of RedC puts it this way:

The rise in support in this poll [for FG] only claws back that lost during those months at the start of the year, but does show that the party can win back support with a prevailing wind behind them. The key is whether it will be enough to offset anger at austerity in the years before this.

Even if it was just anger at those years, I’d be sceptical that FG could claw back too much support. But the tenor of his analysis is that all is peachy from here on out.

Perhaps partially linked to the economic competence rating, and surely influenced by indications by the government parties that we have seen our last austerity budget, is the finding that voters also appear to be prepared to forgive the austerity that had been such a driver of dissatisfaction just a few months ago.

Erm… water charges, anyone?

In fairness Colwell is clear that Labour’s continuing low polling figures are a significant problem (look again at Kavanagh’s projection of 3!).

Still, looking at FG figures the thought does come to mind as to where else do those on the right go? Hardly FF, whose polls remained mired at just about where they were at election 2011. That in itself is remarkable. So much for their renaissance. It’s been said before that now we know their core vote. Seems they can’t actually break much beyond it. Some will be eyeing this figures carefully and wondering whether a certain M. Martin may have gone beyond his expiry date. That will probably include a certain M. Martin.

Labour? They’re not going to be cheering over 8%. That’s towards the lower end of their operating area, though I suppose a voting pact with FG might be of some help come the day of the election. But not much for them to be happy about either. A change of leader and yet so little to see gained from it. Which as any fule no suggests that it wasn’t the leader at all that was the problem but the party and its approach.

As for SF. Marginal improvement, but so what? They’re above 20% and well ahead of FF and the LP. It’s the very fact of continuity, of consolidation, that is so important to them. There’s perhaps likely to be some slippage at the election, but probably not that much. They’ll be well pleased.

And Independents and Others, sliding some 5%. Outside margin of error, indicative, of what exactly? Hard to say, still well ahead of their 2011 vote. But food for thought. They’d win big, and gain seats on this figure, but can they sustain it as Independents and Others? Or do they require more formal alliances.

That’s a thought isn’t it? Perhaps the public is tiring a bit of Independents, becoming more aware that a volatile post-election environment is likely with no party able to dominate and the combinations available being incompatible. That’s the sort of terrain a clever alliance of sorts might slip profitably onto.

Or, is it that it is far far too early to take away much at all from this poll, coming as it does at the end of a long Summer. Could it be that the return of parliamentary political activity – with the attendant focus by media upon same, will see these figures move around?

So it’s good to have a poll, but I’d feel a lot more comfortable offering conclusions, of sorts, in the wake of a couple more monthly ones. We’re moving into interesting times. The public appears to think austerity has done the business, or at least a majority of them. Perhaps that’s in a certain hope that austerity is now ‘over’ – as some of the media seems to suggest. We should be so lucky.

Notable are the figures in favour of increased public spending over tax cuts in the same poll. That probably won’t cut much ice with Fine Gael. But perhaps it should. Not least because citizens are as noted above now facing water charges and so on, and a budget too.

Leahy argues that:

What today’s poll suggests is that the root of the government’s political difficulties lies not in the unpopularity of its austerity policies – and how can one reasonably expect austerity to be anything other than unpopular? – but in the collapse of competence that occurred after the bailout exit at the end of last year.
Look at the numbers again: 58 per cent say austerity was necessary – even hefty minorities of Sinn Féin (42 per cent) and independent voters (45 per cent) agree. In the light of this, it doesn’t make much sense to assert that the voters were punishing the government for implementing something most of them agree with.

There may be something in that, but I wonder if that ‘agreement’ with austerity is rather like the agreement of one acquiescing to someone holding a gun to your head and walking forward on their command. There’s no agency involved here, no visceral or other attachment to austerity. Or to put it another way, to expect political reward for carrying through such policies (and let’s note that the government itself eschewed agency and let itself be pushed forward by the troika, not very unwillingly it has to be said) is to miss the point. Some might agree in theory that the policies were necessary, but that doesn’t mean they agree with the way they were implemented (something that the preference for increased funding of services over tax cuts is also suggestive of).

Area man says Fine Gael ‘have gone very right wing’… He should know. September 16, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has said he is preparing to be Taoiseach and has accused the Government of “playing around with people’s health and lives”.
Mr Martin said Fine Gael had “gone very right wing” and ruled out going into coalition with that party.

Docklands community to mark 50th anniversary of death of Sean O’Casey – this weekend September 16, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Irish Politics, The Left.
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Culture night performances and unveiling of important local plaque

This Thursday marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Sean O’Casey. He died on 18th September 1964 in Devon, aged 84 .
Sean O’Casey, one of Ireland’s most enduring playwrights, spent three decades of his early life living in the North Docks area of Dublin. To mark the anniversary of his death, the local community will be holding two very special events this week – an evening dedicated to the life and works of Sean O’Casey on Friday Evening and Saturday afternoon will see the unveiling of a plaque on the site of the former St Barnabas Church & School where O’Casey attended.

As part of Culture Night celebrations on Friday 19th September, the Sean O’Casey Theatre on St. Marys Road, East Wall will be hosting “What is the stars?” This is a newly constructed O’Casey piece which features scenes and characters from ‘The Silver Tassie’, ‘Juno and the Paycock’ and ‘The Plough and the stars’ alongside a musical accompaniment. In the year that also marks the outbreak of the First World War, this is a powerful piece which highlights a common O’Casey theme, of ordinary people living their lives while “The whole world’s in a state of chassis”. This will be followed by readings and performances of O’Casey material, drawn from his plays, autobiographies and letters. In addition to the invited participants, there will be an opportunity for all performers, amateur and professional to take part and read their chosen O’Casey piece.

On Saturday afternoon, 20th September, a memorial plaque will be unveiled on the former site of St. Barnabas Church, which stood from 1869 to 1969 on Sheriff Street. It’s most famous parishioner was Sean O’Casey, who dedicated a volume of his autobiography to the Reverand Griffin, whom he befriended here. The plaque will recall others associated with the mariners church – the Rev Canon DH Hall , the so called ‘building parson’ who was an innovator of housing reform in the early 20th century , and also the 12 parishioners who lost their lives in ‘The Great War’. The unveiling will take place at 2.30pm at the junction of East Road and Sheriff Street, followed by refreshments and celebratory event.

Commenting on the Culture Night event, Fran Laycock of the Sean O’Casey Theatre said: “O’Casey was a unique talent, he captured the voices of those around him and immortalised them in his work. When his characters speak, you are hearing the authentic sounds of Dublin life as witnessed by the playwright. What better way to celebrate his anniversary than by attending these performances in the heart of the community and amongst the people he was very much a part of, in a theatre named in his honour.”

Commenting on the unveiling of the plaque on the site where St Barnabas Church once stood, local resident Marie O’Reilly stated: “So much of the area has changed and important elements of our history are in danger of being forgotten. It is great to see this being prevented from happening – Saint Barnabas Church & School and the sizeable Church of Ireland population played a hugely significant part in the development of the North Docks community, yet many younger people are unaware of this. Commemoration events and the presence of historical markers will keep the great story of our area alive and hopefully encourage people to find out more.”

For further information contact:
Fran Laycock (Sean O’Casey Theatre) – 0876350056
Joe Mooney (East Wall History Group) – 0876698587

See links to event pages (which will feature related articles throughout the week):



The Youth Vote September 15, 2014

Posted by doctorfive in Irish Politics.

..or what’s left of it.

According to the Youth Council of Ireland

Red C poll has found that 30% of young people aged 18-25 were not registered to vote in advance of the recent local and European elections. The problem is most acute among the 18-21 age group with up to 43% of this cohort not registered.

Figures have increased

from 2009 when our report found that 26% of young people aged 18-25 and 36% aged 18-21 years were not registered to vote.

A small sample of just 412 but presumably close enough to the reality. With thousands having already left or soon leaving, the sight of nearly half those under the age of 25 not voting should be of particular concern to anyone planning on winning a referendum next year. Also the kind of numbers rarely forgotten when ministers are planning where the axe will again fall. The Youth Council ties these findings to an “outdated registration system”, which imo isn’t much more than tinkering in the wider scale of things. The necessity for establishment of permanent Electoral Commission is also claimed – something else I would be sceptical of but maybe more on that later.

More interesting was the voting behaviour from the last elections.

  • In the European elections 29% of young people voted for Independent candidates
  • 26% voted Sinn Féin and 23% for Fianna Fáil.
  • Fine Gael got 11% of the youth vote with Labour receiving 6%.
  • Independents (+9%) and Sinn Féin (+6%) did significantly better among young voters compared to the elections results based on voters of all ages with Fianna Fáil (+1%) and Labour (+1%) doing marginally better among young voters.

While in the locals

  • In the local elections 27% of young people voted for Sinn Fein, both Independent candidates and Fine Gael recorded a vote of 22% with 20% voting for Fianna Fail and with Labour, Green Party and others receiving 9%, 1% and 1% respectively.
  • Sinn Féin did significantly better among young voters at 27% compared to the 15% they received in the election, based on voters of all ages.
  • Independents, (-1%) Fine Gael (-2%)and Fianna Fáil (-5%) all recorded a slightly lower vote among young voters compared to the elections results based on voters of all ages with Labour doing slightly better (+2%).


On mortgages… September 15, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.

…got to hand it to the Money Doctor, John Lowe, in the SBP the weekend before last, when asked about whether to get a mortgage or continue renting he really laid it on the line in a way which was refreshingly straightforward. The question boiled down to the following:

…we seem to be back in a cycle of desperation whereby the house must be purchased at all costs whether we can afford it or not. Is the madness starting all over again and what can you advise a young 30-something couple?

To which he gave a fairly succinct response ‘stay calm’. Okay, there was more, quite a bit more… no panglossian proscriptions from him:

Interest rates are low and it is expected the inevitable rise will start within two years. Already lenders “stress-test” repayment ability by adding a further 2 per cent to the current rate to see if that ability is still there. This may not be enough.

That interest rate point is absolutely crucial. The bottom line is that the current levels are historically low (and unprecedentedly so), even if not passed on in full or part by mortgage lenders. But a 2% increase would almost certainly not be sufficient as a ‘stress-test’ given the potential for volatility.

And he continued:

Each lender now has complicated separate mortgage calculators to determine how much you can or cannot afford. But a young couple with their whole lives ahead of them should not be indebted up to the hilt or approved to their maximum allowable as:
• The accommodation may ultimately be not suitable.
• Their circumstances can change overnight (employment, family, health).
• They should be allowed to have some sort of life outside of repaying a penal monthly mortgage commitment.

We saw how each and all of those potential factors trapped people across the last decade and a half. And we’ve also seen how little state intervention there has been forthcoming to ameliorate the plight of people in those straits. Indeed it’s remarkable to consider in light of the super-heated rhetoric on the subject that so many people remain in significant difficulties in relation to mortgages. And little consideration of how additional factors may impinge – consider how water charges are set to upset financial situations in the very near future.

Lowe is absolutely spot on in the following:

I do advise caution when contemplating the biggest purchase of your life. Commissions, bonuses, overtime – all should be discounted when trying to calculate mortgage eligibility. If you hope to have a family, consider the financial implications of one of you being the non-earning but hard-working homemaker. If the mortgage is based on both working for the full term, then one partner has to replace the homemaker’s income or reduce the mortgage accordingly. Have you considered the cost of raising a family? Look at your hobbies and interests, will they have to be curtailed as a result of the mortgage? There are couples/families with debts incurred over the last seven plus years that will stay with them all their working lives.

That last is central to this. Again, where is the amelioration of outcomes like that where so many succumbed to the pressure of media narratives, or just simply the desire to have their own place to live. And as Lowe concludes:

Enda Kenny said it wasn’t their fault, but you try telling the lenders that now. Those debts still have to be addressed by both debtors and creditors. Let’s not make the same mistake twice. Think twice, take expert and independent advice.

Sensible advice. I wish it could be plastered up around this state. Because elsewhere it’s full steam ahead, and as noted by Garibaldy in the SISSOFTW already those siren voices who did so much to exacerbate things in the past are back presenting apologias for the construction industry.

This news here… September 15, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.

…surely only serves to underscore the outcomes extant as a result of the almost total aversion to state generated social housing extant amongst policy makers in this state – no?

Dublin City Council is “seriously looking” at building prefabs on derelict sites to house homeless families.

Assistant chief executive and head of housing Dick Brady has also called for rent control and for a stay on banks repossessing buy-to-let homes.

Mr Brady said the number of families becoming homeless keeps growing and must be stabilised. The only form of emergency accommodation for families is hotels in which there are serious child-safety concerns.

This is useful in this regard, as are the comments beneath it demonstrating attitudes amongst some/many(?) to the very idea of social housing.


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