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What’s half a year? And reflecting on how this government was the very last option on anyone’s list. May 26, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Noel Whelan on the money in a piece about how Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have ‘lost half a year of government’. And he notes that this isn’t simply a function of the election outcome but of deliberate decisions taken by those parties in relation to the aftermath.

The fact that more than 10 weeks after the election we have a weakened, makeshift, minority Government, an incoherent Opposition and an unproductive parliament arises from choices made by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil and the slow pace they have set.
Not only was the formation of Government delayed but, in addition, the effective operation of parliament is to be held up.
It emerged this week that many of the key proposals from the Dáil reform committee will not be implemented until July, with no hope of them being bedded down before the autumn.

This makes me think of something a friend said when noting that of the all the outcomes the current one was the very last on everyone’s list. No one wanted a minority FG coalition with Independents – bar perhaps some of those Independents. Every effort was made to avoid this outcome and fashion something else. Yet here we are.

The Government will stagger one – Whelan thinks its prospects are ‘more precarious now than when it was formed two weeks ago’. But it is a marriage of convenience, perhaps not even that. More accurately it is a device or a means of avoiding an election that neither FG or FF want.

And that – in truth – is the name of the game. Those polls, stubbornly fixed at where they were at the election – offering no comfort to the larger parties that they can make a break for the country or arrive at any position other than the one they currently face (albeit with a marginal and perhaps in some cases even less hospitable environment – more SDs, more AAAPBPs!).

One other aspect he notes. That the Seanad is still missing the 11 Taoiseach’s nominees. They will make no difference, this time one presumes that they will be signed and sealed as FG oriented ‘loyalists’ – given how the nominees went in the last Seanad they’d certainly want to be from an FG perspective, though perhaps there’ll be a sop to the Independents in government. But isn’t it something that those nominees haven’t been announced? Doesn’t it say everything about how unfocused matters are at the moment?

As to the longevity of the government, someone suggested to me that if it goes three weeks it can go three years. One would have to wonder.

Comments»

1. dublinstreams - May 26, 2016

we had a government for all that time, we lost half a year of the Dail

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WorldbyStorm - May 26, 2016

Ish. The acting government couldn’t initiate any major policy approaches, it was effectively a sort of low level continuity of the previous administration. Of course it may well be that the current govt is going to be so hobbled by FF etc that nothing much is done either.

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dublinstreams - May 26, 2016

what do you mean by policy approaches?, the gov could do whatever it wanted in that time it always does whatever it wants, except initiate new legislation in the Dail?, what was it the government didn’t do in that time that it couldn’t have done in the previous 5 years. I object to the notion going around that the Dail hobbles the government.

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WorldbyStorm - May 26, 2016

I’m not aware that I suggested that the Dáil hobbles the government – I *was* however suggesting that given the agreement between FG and FF the latter is able to exercise considerable control of the govt’s agenda. But the period between the election and the new government was one where the then government acted in a caretaker role. How could it be otherwise given there were ministers who hadn’t been reelected to the Dáil and therefore had no legitimacy for doing much more than a relatively minimal role of continuing governance without the introduction of any significant new measures.

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WorldbyStorm - May 26, 2016

Btw, this offers a good sense of the situation of the caretaker administration. As can be seen its not entirely clear, but custom and practice is to do relatively little.

http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/david-gwynn-morgan-what-exactly-is-a-caretaker-taoiseach-1.2563548

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dublinstreams - May 26, 2016

how does a government implement significant new measures?

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WorldbyStorm - May 26, 2016

Do you disagree that this is about legitimacy or lack of same?

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dublinstreams - May 26, 2016

somewhat yes

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WorldbyStorm - May 26, 2016

Somewhat how much?

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2. irishelectionliterature - May 26, 2016

I think a lot will depend on how successful FF are in taking Sinn Feins clothes and how satisfied they are that they have taken enough of them.
The current phoney war over Water Charges is an example. FF supposedly want rid of them but they want to be the ones that instigate it.
I don’t think FF or FG give a shite about the Garda Commissioner, whistle blowers etc. Mind you I don’t think too many people do either.
I’d guess an election next year.
I can’t really see FG becoming more popular and can’t see FF being forgiven fully yet. I think the electorate is far more cynical about politics and politicians than it used to be.

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