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FF risking becoming the new SDLP? Might be too late to avert that outcome… October 16, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.

…The IT reports that at the by-election postmortem meeting of the FF parliamentary party the following was suggested:

Longford-Westmeath TD Robert Troy said the party needed to do more to connect with younger voters in particular. He chastised his colleagues at the meeting for being too relaxed, adding: “We’ll be the next SDLP.”

But again, returning to the Budget speech yesterday it was very very obvious just how conflicted the FF critique was. On the one hand there was the inclination to tilt left and hammer the government over expenditure cuts and social provision. But simultaneously they could resist the temptation to berate it for not being more cautious in its economic policy. That the two were in direct contradiction with one another appeared not to concern them, but it made for painful listening and viewing.

And this typifies a party that when at its peak was broadly speaking able to catch-all was in a position – in no small part through having elected representatives in working class communities, both rural and urban, to hold onto diverse electoral groups. The contradictions could be smoothed over through the simple process of exercising power. That’s gone. Obviously. But what’s also gone is the prospect of power that drove it so long.

Adrian Kavanagh’s latest projection on foot of the IT/Ipsos-MRBI poll underscores that. The poll ratings were Fine Gael 24% (NC), Sinn Fein 24% (up 4%), Fianna Fail 20% (down 5%), Labour Party 9% (up 2%), Independents, Green Party and Others 23% (down 1%). 

From this Kavanagh posits the following seat numbers: Fianna Fail 34, Fine Gael 45, Sinn Fein 41, Labour Party 6, Independents and Others 32.

In other words there’s no prospect at all that FF will be returned as anything close to the largest party (short of a remarkable change in long-lasting polls). Nor is it self-evident that it will be returned as part of a coalition. And moreover it is now clearly not beyond the bounds of possibility that it will be eclipsed by Sinn Féin. That last would be disastrous in the short to medium term, for many practical and some somewhat more intangible reasons. Of the latter perception is the big problem, of the former, well the most obvious in terms of the Dáil is that they would, if not in government, become the largest opposition party and therefore become the primary focus of parliamentary opposition. That’s no small thing in itself. And there are many others.

And while I’d tend to the view FF could be in government next time that’s not assured.

That it is responsible in large part for its misfortunes (though not entirely) in relation to the collapse of its political support doesn’t quite make the SDLP comparison apt. For there’s a sense that SF nipped in due to the open door that was left due to its collapse whereas with the SDLP it seems more likely that demographic and purely political changes have left them in their current sorry state. In other words there was nothing inevitable about SF moving to such a strong position.

So where next for it? Well, no sure fire winners were suggested, if the following is to be believed:

Mayo TD Dara Calleary, who was director of elections for the Roscommon South-Leitrim byelection, said a more sceptical approach to Europe and policies and regulations from the European Union should be adopted.

Perhaps, though I don’t know if it fits well with where FF has been, or indeed with a broader mood nationally, whatever about RS-L. And in any event SF can cover that side more effectively.

Can’t see it going leftwards, not functionally. Not their style.

Entertaining, in its own way, this:

It is understood no speaker laid the blame at the door of Mr Martin’s leadership, with Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív saying the party’s problems were a “far bigger” issue than just the leadership alone.

Got to love that conditional ‘just’. Though he’s not far wrong in this:

Mr Ó Cuív said Fianna Fáil used to be supported and trusted by the public but was “now irrelevant to people’s lives”.



1. rockroots - October 16, 2014

Complete misuse of the word ‘merger’, imho, but here’s Troy last week rejecting FG as too right wing…



2. CMK - October 16, 2014


They haven’t changed that much. Still sort of stuff is still going on.


3. workers republicu - October 16, 2014

A friend of mine was talking to a neighbour of his,who attended s funeral,earlier in the year, at which most Cork FFs attended.( I think of a GAA man).
He said the FFs were in three groups and weren’t speaking to each other, I mean which weren’t speaking to each other.
Micheal Martin is not popular with Cork FFs. I’d Sat Michael Mac Grath is the most popular among Cork FFs. O Caoimh is popular among old fashioned ‘Green (nationalist)FFers and in the West. FF is driven with splits. If Martin is ousted as leader, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Mac Grath considered a coalition with SF if the numbers stacked up. We know O Caoimh would.


workers republicu - October 16, 2014

Riven with splits!


4. shea - October 16, 2014

taught they would have moved leftish by now. suppose that space is over crowed. the anti eu one could be interesting, with the referendum over the water and in the occupied bit in the north east bound to be some over spill on the discussion here and the whole satellite economy thing would want to be as well.


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