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It’s quiet out there… too quiet… so here a few things to look at in the meantime. June 6, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish History, Irish Politics.

I sort of hate this period between voting and actual results. Anyhow, that in mind let me point you in the direction of something useful and good to look at as we while away the hours…

A thought before we begin…

In 2004, Fianna Fáil won 302 of the full 883 council seats, while Fine Gael won 293. The focus today will be on whether Fine Gael can become the dominant party in local government for the first time.

In a way part of the problem for Fianna Fáil has been the perception of its dominance. I’ve already suggested tentatively that only Ahern’s leadership (and what a qualified blessing that has proven to be) masked the fact that they were already reliant on a floating vote which now seems to have expanded. But the problem with perceptions of dominance is that as soon as the reality intrudes they start to look threadbare with alarming rapidity.

And I can’t help but feel that just as Fianna Fáil made no preparations at all for our current financial problems, so it is that they made no serious effort to contemplate what life would be like for them when they became ‘just another party’, so to speak. You can only eat out on a reputation for so long.

The perception was not the reality, in a democratic context FF were always inevitably going to someday encounter a situation where they dipped below another party.

So, I think it’s fair to say that today is going to bring them little good news on that score.

Meanwhile, I’m puzzled reading this piece in the Guardian this morning…

Under the heading “Anxious moments for EU leaders as sceptic Irish and Czechs vote” I read that:

Ireland and the Czech Republic, the two biggest obstacles to reform of the EU’s Lisbon treaty, went to the polls today on the second day of the four-day election marathon for the European parliament.

With Václav Klaus, the Czech president, climate change denier and Europhobe, urging Czechs to cast a vote against Brussels, European leaders were anxiously watching to see if either of the two ­countries would copy the anti-EU triumph in the Netherlands of Geert Wilders, the anti-immigration populist.

Now that’s quite a fascinating and almost entirely incorrect appraisal of the situation on the ground. And granted it is meant to convey the perception (that word again!) from Brussels, but surely we have rarely seen a European Election more concerned with local/national issues than the one we’ve just experienced.

And the piece itself acknowledges this:

But Ireland was set to buck the trend with the highest turnout in the EU, estimated at about two-thirds of voters. They were expected to hammer the governing Fianna Fáil of the prime minister, Brian Cowen, amid a desperate financial and economic crisis.

But it was unclear if Declan Ganley, the businessman who led a successful ­referendum campaign to defeat the ­Lisbon treaty last year and whose Libertas outfit is running on a Eurosceptic ticket across the EU, would win a seat.

Fianna Fáil is tipped to lose a third of its vote but only one of its four seats in the parliament in Brussels and ­Strasbourg. The main opposition, Fine Gael, is predicted to take four of Ireland’s 12 seats in the 236-seat parliament.

Even were Ganley elected it would not, despite some of the superheatead boosterism of his partisans, represent a fundamental shift in our relationship with the EU, not in a context where the overwhelming majority of MEPs will come from pro-EU, pro-Lisbon, parties. And whether one likes that, or not, it’s odd that the Guardian would present us with such an odd analysis. “Sceptic Irish” indeed.

Anyhow, enough politics. Enough!

Firstly, let me recommend this for all those of us who want something calming in terms of music.

Secondly, here you’ll find a useful site, linked to Dublin Opinion (if I’m not much mistaken) which deals with a specific area of Irish history. It’s got a fascinating spread of material which dovetails nicely with the sorts of discussions you’ll find here on the CLR. And vice versa…

Thirdly, what about this (which is also on the Irish Labour site)? I have to be honest The Ripening of Time passed me by, perhaps because I’d have had to have been reading it between the time I was 11 and 15. And I was other wise engaged with the onset of adolescence and a growing interest in music. My loss, and still worth a read.


1. Eamonn Cork - June 6, 2009

RTE exit poll, FG 34%, FF 24%, Lab 17%, Independent/others 13%, SF 9%, Green 3%.
If it’s accurate it’s an astounding meltdown for FF, less than a quarter of the vote. It also seems to closely reflect the last couple of opinion polls. No point in analysing it though, I suppose, until we have some actual results. Though I don’t think we’ve ever had a government with 27% public support before. The governing coalition, on those numbers, has around as much support as a Lab/SF coalition would have.
That tally from Central is encouraging, I’d like to see Maureen O’Sullivan get in.


2. Eamonn Cork - June 6, 2009

Just on the RTE site.
Higgins, Ryan and McDonald in battle for last Dublin seat. Ho-hum, we knew that already.
But . . .
Childers and McGuinness topping poll in East, Aylward and Phelan battling for last seat.
Aylward would have been seen as a certainty all along, if those figures are right and there’s a battle it’s terrible for FF. Should they come away with nothing in Leinster, it is beyond their wildest nightmares.
Mind you, a lot of these early tallies don’t hold up in the light of day.


3. WorldbyStorm - June 6, 2009

WTF with Childers? I’m changing my name by deed poll…


4. tomfoolery - June 7, 2009

A map with the following on it would be a powerful graphical represntation of how Fianna Fáil is just another party in Dublin at least.

FF-Free zones so far (mid-day, Sunday)

In Dublin and surrounding counties, as of lunch time on Sunday, in electoral areas where the counting has been completed, FIanna Fáil have zero councillors in the following:

Ballbriggan Fingal County Council 5 seats

Lucan South Dublin County Council 5 seats

Ballyfermot-Drimnagh Dublin City Council 4 seats
Crumlin-Kimmage Dublin City Council 4 seats
North Inner City Dublin City Council 6 seats
South-East Inner City Dublin City Council 4 seats
South-West Inner City Dublin City Council 4 seats

Ballybrack Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council 5 seats
Blackrock Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council 4 seats

Baltinglass Wicklow County Council 3 seats

[Heck, I could even imagine a mural on the end of the Kevin St flats at Cross Kevin St, looking down towards the Coombe: “YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A FIANNA-FÁIL FREE ZONE”


5. tomfoolery - June 7, 2009

bahhh. Should have been “NOW”, not “NOT” 😦


6. Eamonn Cork - June 7, 2009

WBS, Childers won because it’s a well known political fact that combining a first name out of Irish mythology with a second name belonging to a classic adventure novelist renders the candidate irresistible to voters.
Look forward to Deirdre Verne, Grainne Louis Stevenson and Maeve Conan Doyle on the FG ticket in the next election


7. Leveller on the Liffey - June 7, 2009

Nice one, Eamonn 🙂

Did you hear George Lee on (Newstalk?) radio telling voters he might make some mistakes as a TD (no, he didn’t mean joining Fine Gael) so he’s asking them for some”leeway”? Geddit? (Audience groans.)


8. Eamonn Cork - June 7, 2009

Brilliant stuff from Brian Lenihan, explaining that politics isn’t about numbers, it’s about leadership. I recall General Pinochet coming up with a similar line back in the day.
Leadership seriously. How in the name of Jesus are you going to govern the country when nobody supports you. In Lenihan you can see the logical culmination of many years of a FF conviction of entitlement. And it really stinks.


9. Seán Ó Tuama - June 7, 2009

I am furious at the way Irish journalists seem to be obeying this euro: 9:00 pm rule on disclosing developments in the euro elections. Does anybody have any up-to-date tally or early count results?


10. Eamonn Cork - June 7, 2009

apparently RTE are predicting that Ganley will just miss the third seat in West. Don’t know what that’s based on.
Not a word from East or South which is driving me daft too. Amazing how little tally word there is.


11. Eamonn Cork - June 7, 2009

RTE now predicting Aylward ahead of Phelan in East.


12. WorldbyStorm - June 7, 2009

Is that how it works? It’s really irritating and gives no sense of how the election is developing.


13. WorldbyStorm - June 7, 2009

Cheers, it’s all over the shop isn’t it, this election…


14. Seán Ó Tuama - June 7, 2009

Thanks, people. I am living abroad now so without live RTE difficult to maintain my now largely spectator sport relationship with irish elections. But really this ridiculous rule takes a lot of the entertainment and interest out of the euro-elections.


15. alastair - June 7, 2009

I don’t think it’s so ridiculous. Maybe there’s not much in the way of pan-european parties now (aside from Libertas of course!), but better to sit on results until all the votes are in, or risk the sort of ‘west coast apathy on the basis of east coast vote’ syndrome that happens in the US.


16. WorldbyStorm - June 7, 2009

Well, that’s certainly an argument, but an easier way forward would be voting on a single day, etc, etc.. surely that’s not beyond the wit of the EU govts to arrive at.


17. Seán Ó Tuama - June 7, 2009

Yeah, sure, the first count results in Connacht-Ulster are to going to have a great influence on the early afternoon voters in Bruges. Simply a case of harmonisation for the sake of showing how European we all are. Euro-crap window dressing!


18. alastair - June 7, 2009

Come the day that there are actual cross-country parties, it will matter. A bit of patience in the meantime doesn’t seem that big a price for in allowing for very probable scenarios of the future (or currently – if you take Libertas seriously).

WBS is right though – the logistics of a common voting day shouldn’t be an impossibility.


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