Fianna Fáil and Abortion May 4, 2013Posted by doctorfive in Fianna Fáil, Irish Politics.
How unfortunate to watch Fianna Fáil down yet another hole of their own making. Months on from Savita and draft legislation dominating the week still no white smoke. That widely perceived weakness of leader Micheál Martin has returned and while even most Fine Gael backbenchers prepare to endure one side or the other it’s difficult to see anything but Soldiers of Dithering. Curious to see the responsible opposition in knots and against everything crew onside isn’t it…
Noel Whelan today outlines part of their dilemma
Some argue that there is political advantage for Fianna Fáil in opposing the Bill because it would position it to benefit from anti-abortion voters disenchanted with Fine Gael for reneging on its commitments before the last election not to legislate for the X case.
On the other hand, if it opposes this legislation Fianna Fáil risks alienating the mainstream middle ground who now support or are at least reconciled to the reality that legislating for the X case, including the risk of suicide, is now necessary. Positioning itself against that trend is likely to cost Fianna Fáil more than any gains from those sectors of the electorate who oppose this Bill.
Indeed FF already closely wedded to the various anti-abortion tendencies are in the best position to pick up stray votes from FG and SF though outlier of Dáil Éireann is particularly risky business for a Party with no seat in the Capital.
The well worn theme of grassroots continue to dominate internal party re
branding building and last Sunday the same membership took the kind of absolutist position alien to FF style pragmatism.
That this Ard Fheis reaffirms Fianna Fáil’s position as a pro-life party
That this Ard Fheis reaffirms that Fianna Fáil is a pro-life party which will oppose any legislation
which has the potential to be significantly expanded beyond the limited circumstances where an
intervention is required to protect mothers.
That this Ard Fheis proposes that this Party opposes the introduction of any legislation which
introduces the “risk of suicide” as a threat to life of the mother and legitimises abortion in Ireland.
Nice scare quotes on that last one.
All unanimously approved as reported with much fever on twitter & Irish Times
Resolutions confirming Fianna Fáil’s status as a “pro-life” party had overwhelming support at the party’s ardfheis.
During a debate on health issues just one delegate spoke against the motions and only a handful of delegates voted against them.
Earlier party leader Micheál Martin said he did not believe there should be another referendum on the issue. He told reporters the party would listen to the debate which would inform its policy decisions on the issue.
Taking some highlights from Martin’s opening address two days previous
put power directly into the hands of our active members
all voting this weekend will be on the principle of one member, one vote
hand over to members the final say
proposals will be brought to the members for direct consultation
core principle of empowering its members
reinvigorated membership and a united party
I want to thank our members for everything you are doing to work to rebuild the bond of trust
Motions & conferences are of course regularly swept under the rug of realpolitik but the message on Sunday was clear and the crunch more imminent then issues usually long-fingered to a Central Council for deflation.
The expectations of Martin’s membership would want to go beyond informing policy if words like above and fabled renewal mean anything more then a Party continuing to cod themselves.
The softening up began on Wednesday seeing Martin ‘hint’ at support highlighting the draft’s similarities to his own 2002 effort. The following marathon meeting ended in stalemate with most commentators putting the Party spilt equally down the middle. One vote could decide according to some so now it’s twenty-one years and ‘several weeks’ before any decision.
Back to Noel Whelan today and a free vote on abortion Bill would be healthy precedent for democracy. Given Fianna Fáil were power for sixteen of those twenty-one the democracy horse has long bolted and we are, to be honest, in the last debate where politicians are likely to grow up.
Is it too late for Enda to back down on a free vote? Unlikely for a handful of his own TDs. Probably less to provide cover for Micheál Martin. Still bound to be a long bank holiday weekend with plenty of refuelling in Castlebar on route to Knock.
Also today we see Cedar lounge fan Breda O’Brien weep for (the vanity of) Ireland while raising unintended consequences
The usual Irish answer of, “Ah, sure, it will never happen,” is grotesquely inadequate and dangerous.
Worth returning to the Attorney General in 1983
the wording is ambiguous and unsatisfactory. It will lead inevitably to confusion and uncertainty, not merely amongst the medical profession, to whom it has of course particular relevance, but also amongst lawyers, and more specifically the judges who will have to interpret it. Far from providing the protection and certainty which is sought by many of those who have advocated its adoption it will have a contrary effect. In particular it is not clear as to what life is being protected; as to whether “the unborn” is protected from the moment of fertilisation, or alternatively is left unprotected until an independently viable human being exists at 25 to 28 weeks.
Further, having regard to the equal rights of the unborn and the mother, a doctor faced with the dilemma of saving the life of the mother, knowing that to do so will terminate the life of “the unborn” will be compelled by the wording to conclude that he can do nothing. Whatever his intention, he will have to show equal regard for both lives and his predominant intent will not be a factor. In these circumstances I cannot approve of the wording proposed.
How much of that crushingly jumps out now before we even get to architects who so sure of themselves scoffed publicly at the idea the Amendment would be used to prevent a women or child from travelling.
Was looking at The Clár For The upcoming Fianna Fail Ard Fheis (which I’ve posted here) and amongst other motions this one caught my eye.
Now there are many things wrong with RTE but this is taking it a bit far ….
Democracy vs Fascism? January 17, 2013Posted by smiffy in Fianna Fáil, History, Irish History, Irish Neutrality, Uncategorized.
Here’s an interesting cartoon, from the New Zealand Herald in 1933, of a rugby match in which democracy is depicted standing up against a strange bunch including Mussolini, Hitler, a figure depicted as ‘Spain’ and … someone else we know.
When I looked at it first, I thought it was suggesting that De Valera was either a fascist or linked to fascism. Looking again, I’m not so sure. The details of the picture, on the website of the New Zealand National Library,here, states that it ‘(s)hows a rugby team composed of Mussolini, Hitler, De Valera and Franco, with a football representing ‘Fascism’. They are rushing towards the goal which is defended by a man representing ‘Democracy”.
Given the date, 4 April 1933, it could hardly be Franco. So what, in the eyes of the cartoonist (Trevor Lloyd) have in common, that unites them against democracy? One interesting, perhaps coincidental, point to note is that the cartoonist (according to this thesis) is the son of a wealthy Irish migrant to New Zealand, and grandson of a former Deputy Lieutenant of King’s County (Offaly). This may or may not have any bearing on the piece.
Many of the readers here will have a far surer grasp of the history and politics of the period than me. Would anyone care to hazard a suggestion as to what is going on in this?
“Resist Austerity” ………. Say Fianna Fail November 20, 2012Posted by irishelectionliterature in Fianna Fáil.
Eminently Predictable but Still Sickening July 25, 2012Posted by Garibaldy in Economy, Fianna Fáil, Workers' Party.
The BBC reports today news that
An Irish oil exploration company has announced that it has found between 1bn and 1.6bn barrels of oil in Ireland’s first commercially viable oil well.
Providence Resources has been carrying out tests at the Barryroe oil well 70km off the coast of County Cork, and the find is four times what was expected.
The CEO assured us that
The exchequer would get sizable income from the successful exploitation of offshore fields both in Nothern Ireland and the Republic
Um, maybe not, thanks to our friends in Fianna Fáil.
Who is the chief executive? One Tony O’Reilly Jr.
A lot of the initial media reaction to the Constituency Commission report naturally focused on the massive changes in Dublin and focused on individual TDs votes and areas of support being moved. It didn’t really focus on what parties would benefit from it. I did a small piece on the Left TDs and now a bit on the rest.
Looking at the Constituency Commission report the big winners are Fianna Fail. Not neccessarily in the nuances of population shifts from Constituency to Constituency but in the reduction of the number of 3 seaters and unification of the likes of Kerry and Tipperary where they have no seats at all.
Were an election to be held on the figures from 2011 with the new boundaries Fianna Fail could expect to easily pick up seats in the new five seat Kerry and Tipperary constituencies and the new four seat Sligo Leitrim. Its even concieveable that the new five seat Dublin Fingal and Dublin Bay North would return Fianna Fail candidates. The addition of some of the leafier parts of Dublin Central should help to regain a seat in Dublin West. Indeed the addition of a good deal of Foxrock and Cabinteely to Dun Laoghaire may well help Mary Hanafin there.
Where seats have been reduced there is danger of a seat loss in Cork South Central but other reductions such as Cavan-Monaghan, Mayo and Galway East should have no impact on their seat numbers (although the partys TDs may be different)
For Labour outside of Dublin the only TD in peril from the changes would be Colm Keaveney, who in the reduced Galway East will have lost a good bit of his vote. Ciaran Lynch in the reduced Cork South Central is being mentioned as a loser but on 2011 figures he’d be fine. Ditto Alan Kelly in Tipperary who loses some of his base to Offaly but again on 2011 figures he should be okay. That’s not to say that they are safe come the next election.
Its in Dublin though where Labour could suffer badly and again based on 2011 figures and the boundary changes a number will be in trouble. Alex Whites area in Dublin South is now in Dublin South West which already has two Labour TDs. Then in the reduced Dublin South Central Eric Byrne or Michael Conagahan could be in danger and possibly two out of Sean Kenny, Tommy Broughan and Aodhan O’Riordan in the new Dublin Bay North. Even Joe Costello in Dublin Central may have lost a good deal of his vote. Again that’s all before we even get to the next election where Constituency Commission or No Constituency Commission Labour will lose seats.
For Fine Gael the report doesn’t make great reading either. On 2011 figures the changes would result in seat losses in Cavan-Monaghan, Mayo with a number of places like Kerry, Tipperary, Cork South Central, Galway East, Roscommon-Galway also likely to have reduced numbers of Fine Gael TDs.
In Dublin the changes in Dublin Central would put Paschal Donohoe in danger , they probably would have held the two seats they currently hold in Dublin NC and Dublin NE in the new Dublin Bay North but Catherine Byrne may have been in trouble in a reduced Dublin South Central and at least one of the three TDs elected for Dublin South would be gone.
As for Sinn Fein, well on the 2011 results it makes little impact on the seats they actually won. The only real difference being that Larry O’Toole may have been elected in the five seat Dublin Bay North.
The Greens wont be thrilled with Dublin South butchered and with Dun Laoghaire in effect down to 3 their chances in those places of a seat are all but gone. Dublin Bay South could be an outside bet with the new Dublin Fingal a decent bet were Trevor Sargent to run.
As for the other Independent TDs not covered already. Stephen Donnelly and Mick Wallaces Wicklow and Wexford are pretty much the same. Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan should be okay, and oddly enough was downprotesting with Turf Cutters in the part of East Galway that is now in his constituency the night before the report came out.
Shane Ross should be OK in a 3 seat Dublin Rathdown although you never know. Noel Grealish seems to get in no matter what he does. In Kerry Michael Healy Rae at the very South of the constituency and Tom Fleming may well struggle. With surely 1 FF, 1 SF , 1 Labour and at least 1 FG seat its hard to see either getting in.
In Tipperary Michael Lowry will surely sail home but Mattie McGrath (Like Seamus Healy) will be vulnerable.
Ó Cuív set for martyrdom? May 7, 2012Posted by irishelectionliterature in Fianna Fáil.
Interesting day or two ahead for Fianna Fail as Dev Og decides to jump or not over his stance on the Fiscal Treaty Referendum.
Deputy Ó Cuív received a letter this weekend from the party whip asking him to refrain from media interviews camaigning for a No vote in the fiscal treaty referendum.
And if he doesn’t stop campaigning for a No vote?
The former minister told RTÉ News that the implication of the letter was quite clear: he would have to leave the party if he did not agree.
Interesting though that
….. the letter was sent to Mr Ó Cuív at his request following discussions with the party whip on Friday and Saturday.
Is he preparing the ground for martyrdom?
From The Week in Politics on Sunday night it looks as if he has a good deal of support from Fianna Fail Councillors and grassroots in both Galway West and Galway East.
The fact that no other TD has come out in support of him speaks volumes, that is unless some come out to support him now.
If he does jump will it end up as an Ó Cuív Independent Fianna Fail ala Blaney or will a broader Fianna Fail Nua be set up?
Would Sinn Fein take him?
Then again he might just back down.
Why would he though?
He’s in his early 60′s and highly unlikely to see Ministerial Office again whilst in Fianna Fail.
It also looks as if the Fianna Fail leadership don’t share his vision of where the party should go.
We’ll see ….
Happy Easter April 8, 2012Posted by irishelectionliterature in Fianna Fáil.
Last Thursday morning Fianna Fail senator Averil Power appeared on Pat Kennys radio show to talk about Phil Hogans meeting with Michael Lowry a few days after the Moriarty Tribunal findings…. and quite reasonably, how Lowry was able to get a meeting with Hogan and The Priory Hall residents, despite protesting outside the Dail every Tuesday, have yet to get even 5 minutes with Hogan.
The resulting interview encapsulated the difficulties Fianna Fail will face for years trying to raise relevant issues.
Kenny let her dig her own grave and then pounced … a few times.
Well worth a listen.
Fianna Fail ….Post Mahon April 3, 2012Posted by irishelectionliterature in Fianna Fáil.
Tags: fianna fail
At a recent family function, I was greeted with a gleeful “Well at least Bertie wasn’t corrupt!” from a Fianna Fail supporting relative in relation to the Mahon tribunal findings. The rest of the guests turned on him, mocked him and then quizzed him some more on his attitudes to the tribunal.
He thought Michael Martin was correct in moving to expel the various people with findings against them. “He has to be seen to take decisive action”.
Then we got the “They were all at it” line of defence followed by a critique of Enda Kenny and him still being seen with Denis O’Brien despite the Moriarty tribunal findings.
So that was it, this was nothing unique to Fianna Fail and Bertie was in effect innocent!
Funnily enough on the day before Noel Whelan had written a piece in the Irish Times “FF may shut up shop and seek to re-emerge later” which centred around The Mahon Tribunal findings and the future of Fianna Fail.
He wrote of a speech he gave at the McGill Summer School ..
The party, I suggested, might just wither, sitting out the presidential election, losing council seats in the next local election, and a few more seats in each of the next three or four general elections.
Second, I proffered that Fianna Fáil might just be subsumed into Fine Gael: a scenario that is more likely if Labour is on the Opposition benches, say after the next election.
Fianna Fáil might alternatively merge with Sinn Féin, a process that could begin as some kind of loose “popular front” type arrangement on transfers.
Finally I floated the possibility of a News of the World solution to Fianna Fáil’s plight: close up shop and seek, after a period, to re-emerge as part of some new entity.
Any of these scenarios seemed improbable last July but no more improbable than a Fianna Fáil collapse might have seemed four years ago.
All scenarios, and in particular the News of the World option, seem more probable after the Mahon findings.
There have been plenty of other Fianna Fail doom merchants about since also.
Then what comes out the other day only the first Poll taken post Mahon. A Red C Poll for Paddy Power and have Fianna Fail fallen off the face of the earth? Has it dented support?
Fianna Fail were on 15%.
A rogue poll was one suggestion…..
Then ask yourself why would Fianna Fail support fall much after Mahon?
Was there anything that we didn’t know? (by that I mean that certain people were crooked)
And I’m sure my relative wasn’t alone in Fianna Fail feeling vindicated by Bertie not being corrupt…. and sure wasn’t Michael Martin showing great leadership getting Bertie and co to resign.
Of course Swanning around with Denis O’Brien didn’t put Fine Gael or Labour in a particularly good light either.
Not a word about the way Willie O’Dea etc tried to undermine the tribunal.
Of Course the question now is can they break out of that 15% and actually grow to a Party of Power once again, because without a whiff of power they wont prosper. It’s a question I’d love the pollsters to ask, “Would you consider ever voting Fianna Fail?”. In other words how big is the ABFF vote.
“..at the next local elections, Fianna Fail would, where possible, field at least one candidate in every single local authority area under the age of 30.”
As we know one of the biggest problems for Fianna Fail is Dublin. I had a look too at the the 2009 Local elections (Where FF got over 24% of the vote , 17% in Dublin) and how first time Fianna Fail candidates got on.
In 2009 between the various Dublin Councils there were 5 first time candidates elected for Fianna Fail out of 31. (They ran 60 candidates).
Of the five, one was Aoife Brennan, daughter of the late Seamus Brennan TD.
Two were sitting councillors Eoghan O’Brien (co opted to replace his brother Daragh O’Brien) and Daragh Butler with the
other two being David McGuinness and Eamon Walsh. Not a particularly high success rate.
Trying that tactic from a far lower base is very risky and they did make a mess of their 2009 Local Elections campaign in Dublin.