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Fianna Fail ,Gender Quotas and the next General Election July 24, 2014

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

Come the next General Election Parties will have to have at least 30% female candidates or lose some of their State Party Funding. In purely electoral terms it is bound to cause some rancour at selection conventions, more rancour as names are added by Party HQ to the ticket and of course the possibility of scorned candidates running as Independents.
As an example of some of the difficulties facing the parties I’m focusing on Fianna Fail, especially as it has no female TDs and there are a large number of Councils with no female Fianna Fail Councillor. The abolition of Town Councils also means the pool of possible Councillors is smaller.
As it stands Fianna Fails election planning and strategy will be interesting, then add in Gender Quotas and the fact that all their TDs are male and it becomes quite a challenge. Of course you have the added complication of there being less seats and newly redrawn constituencies on top of all that.
In 2011 Fianna Fail fielded 75 candidates. In certain areas like Dublin North, Dublin South West, Dun Laoghaire , Kildare North and Longford Westmeath, sitting TDs meant they had to field more candidates than was ideal. Cork South West, Donegal South West, Dublin Central, Dublin West and other constituencies they also fielded too many candidates.
I’d imagine they would ideally run around 75 candidates. So with 20 males TDs already ensconced, that would leave 23 or so of the remaining 55 candidates having to be female. The below is all guesswork but shows the difficulty and balancing act required to field the required number of Female candidates.

Carlow-Kilkenny 5 seats
Kilkenny based John McGuinness is currently a TD and there are no female FF Councillors in Kilkenny. Bobby Aylwards nephew Eamon Alyward was elected to the Council.
Likely Carlow based Jennifer Murnane O’Connor polled well in the Local Elections so I’d assume it would be her as the Carlow based FF candidate here.
So probably 2 male 1 female

Cavan-Monaghan 4 seats
Cavan based Brendan Smith is a sitting TD, In Monaghan there are no female FF councillors and former TD Margaret Conlon failed to win a seat there at the locals. Cavan based Councillor Niamh Smyth would be a possible choice but given a significant part of Cavan is now in Sligo Leitrim its likely that were FF to field three candidates two would be from Monagahan.
So probably
1 male 1 female

Clare 4 seats
Timmy Dooley is a sitting TD and the only female FF councillor is Ennis based Claire Colleran Molloy who didn’t poll especially well in the Local Elections. Dooley would be strong in Ennis too. So likely Fianna Fail will run two male candidates, possibly Shannon based Cathal Crowe as the second.
2 male candidates.

Cork East 4 seats
No sitting Fianna Fail TD but likely to run two. Kevin O’Keeefe would be in poll position for a nomination and there doesn’t appear to be any possible female candidates.
2 male candidates.

Cork North Central 4
Billy Kelleher a sitting TD and no potential female candidate on the Council. Likely run a second male candidate.
2 male candidates

Cork North West 3
Sitting TD in Michael Moynihan, as far as I know there are no female Fianna Fail Councillors in the area. Probably a running mate from the other end of the Constituemcy.
2 male candidates

Cork South Central 4 seats
Losing a seat so unlikely that Fianna Fail will field more than its two current TDS Michael Martin and Michael McGrath.
2 male candidates

Cork South West 3
Senator Denis O’Donovan will probably stand along with a second candidate , no female Fianna Fail Councillor in the area.
2 male candidates.

Donegal 5
Sitting TD Charlie McConalogue is Innisowen based as is Fianna Fails only Female Donegal County Councillor Rena Donaghey. Fianna Fail will probably have to run three candidates to cover the various geographical areas. Former TD Mary Coughlan may yet be persuaded to run, especially given the difficulties around Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill.
2 male 1 female candidate

Dublin Bay North 5
Averil Power will surely run here, although the performance of Séan Haughey, Tom Brabazon and Deirdre Heney in the Local Elections might force a second Fianna Fail candidate.
1 female and 1 male (or 2 female)

Dublin Bay South 4
Presumably just the one candidate, Frank Kennedy and Jim O’Callaghan being the obvious names ……. although Mary Hanafin did start her electoral career in this area when elected to the Council for Rathmines in 1985.
1 male candidate

Dublin Central 3
The redrawn Dublin Central looses a good deal of Mary Fitzpatricks home patch but I’d imagine she’ll run.
1 female

Dublin Fingal 5
Former TD, Senator Darragh O’Brien will surely run here, there are no female FF Councillors in the area, so if a running mate is selected it may well be Darragh Butler.
1 or 2 male candidates

Dublin Mid West 4
Former TD John Curran may run again although Trevor Gilligan looks well placed.
1 male candidate

Dublin North West 3
Councillor Paul McCauliffe looks a likely candidate again no female Fianna Fail Councillor in the area.
1 male candidate

Dublin Rathdown 3
Shay Brennan was a late addition to the Fianna Fail ticket in the locals and polled very well being the first candidate elected in Dundrum. However Senator Mary White has distributed a number of ‘constituency newsletters’ in the current Dublin South. She also has regular newspaper ads in the local papers. There will surely be only one candidate. Her gender would I suspect give the Senator an edge.
1 female candidate

Dublin South Central 4
Catherine Ardagh is a possible choice although I’m not sure of the intentions of former TD Michael Mulcahy.
1 female candidate

Dublin South West 5
John Lahart has been selected as the by-election candidate in preparation for the new boundaries (he represents Rathfarnham which only has a small part of it in the current Dublin SW). Would FF run two here?
1 or 2 male candidates

Dublin West 4
David McGuinness the obvious name here but Jack Chambers polled very well in the locals.
1 male candidate

Dun Laoghaire 4
No Sitting TDs but three potential female candidates in Mary Hanafin, Kate Feeney and Jennifer Cuffe. If Sean Barrett stays on it will be in effect a three seater and running two candidates in such a competitive constituency may hamper the chances of both candidates. I’d hazard on a single candidate strategy, although if it is Mary Hanafin who gets the nod at the selection convention … one of the other two may be added.
1 female candidate.


Sinn Féin and Clann na Poblachta July 24, 2014

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

It’s long struck me that the party the contemporary SF is most like is not Fianna Fáil, lite or any other version, but Clann na Poblachta. Of course the comparison is not exact, far from it. The historical antecedents of CnaP are indirect as against a fairly, though not precisely, direct lineage for SF. And there’s an obvious difference in the histories, CnaP was a new formation, SF is a long standing one.

But yet, if one considers how SF is, however imperfectly, left of centre and Republican, then I think there is sufficient substance in the comparison to make it useful, not so much as regards the past of SF, as its potential future.

CnaP was, famously, a coalition between social radicals (some with very curious histories behind them, including the then far right – for more on this consider RM Douglas’s commanding history of Ailtrighe na hAiseirghe where quite a number of AA members went across fairly smoothly to CnaP), many of them informed by developments in Britain and in particular the radicalism of the post-war Labour government in areas such as health and welfare. In that respect CnaP was a somewhat social democratic party, and it is – I think – fair to say that SF is likewise.

But the Republican element to the make up of CnaP was as important. And it was remarkably strong. This was, as it were, broadly the generation of Republicans who had supported the anti-Treaty side, but not gone with Fianna Fáil when that party entered the constitutional arena. They had remained with or supportive of Sinn Féin and the IRA throughout the following years until the sheer impotence of that as either a military or political force during the war years pushed them to break with it.

It’s a bit more complex than that – for ironically parallel to the rise of CnaP a similar ferment was evident within SF and the IRA and in such a way that the more militarist approach of the 1950s appeared, but it will suffice as a general analysis.

Perhaps that jettisoning of the overt militarist element, by breaking with the IRA is similar, albeit not entirely with the process SF has been through in a decade or so.

And it’s not that difficult to see that oppositional approach to the system amongst those like Sean MacBride co-existed or informed a degree – though only a degree – of social radicalism. The appeal of those like Noel Browne who brought that social radicalism and a corresponding energy must have been considerable, even if, as we know, it all went awry further down the line.

Again, let’s not overstate this. CnaP was always a much more uneasy coalition than SF seems to be. But SF is itself a coalition, as are all political parties with a membership larger than a hundred or so members – and even then I may be being generous. They have to be because of intrinsic political and interpersonal dynamics. And SF is pulled in various directions as the conflict recedes into memory (some telling indications of populism in the last few weeks too). That said, while the nature of the conflict and the goal of Republicanism as being a form of political glue holding SF together is often commented on, less frequently is the small fact that given the continuing existence of Northern Ireland and the necessity for SF to engage with that also offers a glue. It’s political pre-eminence there is extremely useful in many respects but not least in providing a constant reminder of what is being sought, as much as what has – by their lights – been achieved.

And it provides a tension and a strength, legitimising at all times their continued existence in a way that CnaP could not hope to replicate. I’ve always been a little more impressed than many I know at the influence CnaP had on the Irish polity in relation to partition. The Anti-Partition campaigns of the late 1940s were both a part of and a response to CnaP. That they failed dismally is well known, that they were tried at all is testament to their effort. They were, too, of course, hugely counterproductive. Assistance to nationalist candidates in the North at elections during that period rebounded by consolidating the unionist vote. And in essence CnaP became just another Irish political party of the centre-left with no clear rationale, a process that perhaps the Mother and Child controversy accelerated rather than initiated. But the logic of anti-partition candidates was – albeit premature – not entirely without merit from their position. And look now at how in the context of the North SF is indeed that anti-partition party (and a source of continuing coherence in good times and bad).

Finally, CnaP gained 10 seats at their height. Far from discreditable, but not what was expected and thereafter never achieved again. SF has built up from much much lower numbers. There’s no reason for it to go back to previous numbers, and every indication that it will double or perhaps eventually triple CnaP’s tally, but what was given by the electorate can sooner or late be taken away.

Again, changed circumstances. There’s broad agreement on the current dispensation, but… nothing is for sure. And those stresses that felled CnaP. In some respects they’re built into the very nature of the political system in this state.

You may have missed this earlier: From the selection in the Left Archive… Pavee: No. 3 from the Committee for the Rights of Travellers July 24, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
1 comment so far

As part of getting people acquainted and used to the extended Left Archive we’re going to link every week to previous documents that have been posted there that may be of interest. This week,Pavee: No. 3 from the Committee for the Rights of Travellers

Many thanks to Alan Mac Simoin for scanning and forwarding this document to the Archive. This is a very interesting document produced on the back of activism by Travellers, members of Sinn Féin and people who were later amongst the founder members of the Workers Solidarity Movement in support of Travellers’ rights encompassed in the Committee for the Rights of Travellers. This was avowedly non-party political activity and in this issue of Pavee the focus is on events in Tallaght where there were marches against Travellers. Prominent Travellers representatives were arrested and this issue details the case of two such happenings and the harassment of families of members of the Committee for the Rights of Travellers including the joint Chairpersons of the Committee.

There’s also criticism of the Review Body Report released on Travellers in the recent past and the annual Conference of the National Committee for Travelling People. It notes that:

There was a good deal of talk from the Leadership of the National Committee, but few of them could point to any gains made by the Travellers in their struggle to be accepted as human beings.

And it suggests that:

It is not of the Comm. For the Rights of Travelling People how to conduct their Annual Conference but as we were invited as ‘observers’ could we make some observations? Why not a National Committee OF Travelling People? Why not make the Conference less formal and in surroundings that would encourage more Travellers to attend? Why not a bit of music and a bit of Crack for the children?

It notes various encounters with Dublin County Council, one in relation to the cleaning of sites which it suggests was part of an election effort, the other being a meeting with Councillors where ‘we found the Councillors all baring a few more worried about their votes rather than the miserable conditions Travelelrs are forced to live in’. There is mention of vigilante groups and increasing activity by them. And there’s a prize for ‘Bigot of the Month’.

Fake online comments… July 23, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

…great NPR On the Media which looks at the arrival of state-sponsored commentors online. Those of us familiar with sites like Politics.ie, or newspaper comments, will have seen numerous examples of same from people who would by any reasonable analysis appear to be operating on behalf of states various

I commented a while back on how the Guardian some commentors engaging in debate over the Ukraine/Russia situation were particularly inept, but of course it’s not just them. As the NPR programme notes the US has been at this too as well as – very obviously, other states.

Political jokes and humour… July 23, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, The Left.

Reading this excellent proposal, noted in comments a while back, for a 4 day week due to the positive health, social and societal benefits of same, there was a comment below it which went as follows:

It’s that joke about the banker, the worker and the unemployed man in a cafe. The banker takes 9 of 10 biscuits on the table and nudges the worker “You want to watch out, that unemployed man has his eye on your biscuit.”

And the thought struck me, anyone know any good political jokes, actual real jokes you can tell people? All contributions gratefully accepted.

What you want to say – 23rd July 2014 July 23, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

Unpaid overtime… July 22, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy.

Interesting survey from the Guardian earlier in the month on managers and unpaid overtime. But managers tend to be in a somewhat more favourable position than most workers.

One comment really struck home:

In my previous job (fairly basic admin), I was called into see my line manager. She expressed concern about my commitment to the job because I was “coming in on time, leaving on time and taking my full lunch-break”. I was contracted and paid (not a brilliant salary) for a 37 hour week, yet was expected to put in extra hours for free. I resisted, for many reasons, including the fact that I was already working another part-time job (as my main job’s salary didn’t pay me enough to live on). I was then bullied by the line manager and the resulting stress caused me to resign. Since returning to employment six years ago, I’ve witnessed a gradual erosion of breaks and holidays – disappearance of short morning/afternoon breaks, pressure to work over lunch break, pressure to come in early/leave late, pressure not to take annual leave entitlement and pressure to work outside of work hours. All this for no corresponding increase in salary. It’s really hard to resist this pressure, but I think it’s vital to do so wherever possible, for the sake of your health, sanity and well-being.

I’ve seen similar trends across the last twenty four years of working the private sector and on contract in the public sector. It’s all cobblers really. In most contexts overtime is a function of poor organisation, management and logistic – and in areas where time contingency is an issue then leave in lieu (and paid overtime) should be the norm.

Have people seen similar?

City States July 22, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.

This piece on Slate from earlier in the Summer answered a question I’d long had as to why city states didn’t really survive into the modern era. It’s a curious one because in numbers they persisted into the 18th century (and perhaps arguably a little bit longer if one considers fairly unique cases like Danzig). And Singapore is sort of in that category.

But consider this:

Autonomous cities took off in Europe at a time in history when rule of law and political authority were weak. Wealthy merchants in a city would band together both to fund their common security and to enforce property rights when larger governments couldn’t.


what went wrong? Often, these cities evolved political systems that gave wealthy merchants direct control over governance, and they used that power to make life miserable for the competition. 
“The big drawback is that once a group of people are running their own affairs, they’re also looking out for their own interests,” he says. “So they start setting up barriers to outsiders coming in and all these restrictions on others engaging in commerce within the city limits.”

It’s a sort of riposte to all that right libertarian stuff about removing the state and all will be well. Truth is that state like structures with the same vices, or worse – much worse, manifest themselves.


As oligarchies closed to outside commerce, the European cities began to slowly decline. Their closest successors today might be autonomous Asian cities like Hong Kong and Singapore, which share their economic dynamism as well as some of their troubling cronyism.

Actually, remember a couple of years back when Singapore was held up by some as an example of the sort of state Ireland could ‘reform’ itself into.

Some Workers’ Party and Democratic Left Archive Material July 21, 2014

Posted by irishelectionliterature in The Left.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded these links on. They contain a variety of documents from The Workers’ Party / Sinn Fein from 1992 back to 1971 and also some material from the Democratic Left.
The Workers’ Party
Democratic Left

Sports Special – what you want to say… July 21, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Here’s our weekly thread for people to talk, sound off, discuss, give out, or whatever they want about sport… and by the way, if anyone has posts they think would be appropriate for the site on sport send them in…


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