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Sinn Féin, A Second Election and The Left February 17, 2020

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

There is no doubt that Sinn Féin running too few candidates allowed a number of deputies be elected that would otherwise have struggled. Many of these were on the Left and the Far Left.
There’s the obvious ones they left behind like Dublin South West, Dublin South Central, Dublin Bay North, Dublin Central and Waterford.
Third seats were possibly left behind in Donegal and Louth.
An Offaly candidate in Laois-Offaly, A Sligo candidate in Sligo Leitrim, a Carlow candidate in Carlow Kilkenny. Maybe vote management in Wexford, Cork North Central ,Dublin Fingal and Dublin North West bringing in an extra. Even where they didn’t win Galway East , Limerick County and even Dun Laoghaire could be within range. In fact I’d say Dublin Rathdown is probably the only place you wouldn’t bet on them getting a seat the next time.
Of course this all depends on when or how the next election is.
In Dublin those seats would in Dublin South Central probably at the cost of Joan Collins or Brid Smith, Dublin Central probably Gary Gannon , In Dublin South West Green Francis Noel Duffy or Paul Murphy would be in danger, Cork North Central Mick Barry.
Possible Gains – Likely Loser
Carlow Kilkenny – Malcolm Noonan, Jennifer Murnane O’Connor
Cork North Central – Mick Barry, Colm Burke
Donegal – Thomas Pringle
Dublin Bay North – Sean Haughey, Cian O’Callaghan
Dublin Central – Gary Gannon , Neasa Hourigan
Dublin Fingal – Duncan Smith
Dublin North West – Paul McAuliffe
Dublin South Central – any of Brid Smith, Joan Collins, Patrick Costello
Dublin South West – Paul Murphy, Francis Noel Duffy
Dún Laoghaire – Cormac Devlin
Galway East -Anne Rabbitte
Laois -Offaly – Carol Nolan
Limerick County – Richard O’Donoghue
Louth – Ged Nash, Peter Fitzpatrick in danger
Sligo-Leitrim – Marc MacSharry, Frank Feighan
Wexford – Labour Seat (If Howlin doesn’t run again), Verona Murphy
Waterford – Marc Ó Cathasaigh , Matt Shanahan
Wicklow – Steven Matthews , Stephen Donnelly

So The Left is in danger but so is almost everyone else bar FG.


1. Dermot M O Connor - February 17, 2020

From what I can glean, the ‘grand’ coalition seems on-again off-again depending on which hack is hacking, and which day of the week it is.

I wonder how much of the anti FFG coalition from the FG TDs is shape-throwing. “I’m opposed to this deal with every fiber of my Blue Shirt, but I’m prepared to look the other way if I’m the Junior Minister for Bunion relief. Or committee chairman for Swing Safety reform, it’s all gravy”.

It wouldn’t take many FFG backbenchers to quit their parties for a FFG/Green coalition to be numerically difficult. Two or three from each and even those three parties fall one shy of a majority; they’d be groveling to independents very quickly. Incredible to think about, that it would ever come to this…a Dail where FF and FG would be so far from even a simple majority.

Hard to tell what to root for: a ‘grand’ coalition which will see FFGG eating a shite sandwich for 5 years with the left able to chew their nethers and build in opposition, or a rickety FF/Green minority that’ll deliver another election within a year or two.


Which raises the tricky question of just how many seats SF needs to get to be able to get the core of a left govt. Would 60 be enough? Still 20 shy, would there be enough SDs / Inds / PBP to cross the line, especially if SF starts to eat their TDs?

I’m assuming that the Greens won’t be a coalition option, given their ‘tax the poor for their carbon’ mullarkey. O Broin (or maybe it was Doherty) sounded pretty unequivocal about that.

SF’s ‘real’ seat number in this GE was closer to high 40s, if not 50 on the FPV. So 60 isn’t that much of a gap, based on FPV + whatever gain they might make next time. Do they dare run 70 or 80?

Still, a much tighter broad left-alliance will be needed to get over that 80 threshold. 80 won’t cut it either, you’d need some extra to spare. Very tight vote management within parties, and a little co-operation between them.
Any chance of that happening?

I’d hope that the prospect of FINALLY being in government would concentrate minds.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - February 17, 2020

That’s an interesting question. I think we’re talking 60 plus. But… if on the left potential partners are cannibalised then there are clear problems. And then there’s the question of who is there after that. Would FF/FG go in with a much larger SF? Hard to believe. There might be some INds/others, but that 20+ (and to be comfortable 23 or so) might be very hard to make up).


Tomboktu - February 18, 2020

I wonder how much of the anti FFG coalition from the FG TDs is shape-throwing.”

I wonder how much of it is entirely internal to FG, designed to prevent a heave against Varadkar.

He was very quick off the block talking about now having the time to rebuild the party which he wasn’t able to do because of his work as Taoiseach. And then the language of “relishing” leading the opposition.


2. Jolly Red Giant - February 17, 2020

If SF stuck to their guns and refused to even consider coalition with FFG then they would benefit significantly in electoral terms. If they keep making overtures to FF then it could undermine their potential return.

It is also a mistake to view these issues in purely numbers terms – anything can happen in an election. For example – Ruth Coppinger could take a seat off the GP in DW, particularly if the GP are clearly pushing the coalition agenda (and either way I suspect the GP vote will drop). Those most likely to be affected are independents like Pringle.

Now – depending on the constituency running a second candidate could mop up transfer or could result in both SF candidates fighting out the last seat. There are probably 11 seats on the numbers last week where SF would make gains – and another half dozen where they might – but could also put themselves in a bit of trouble by splitting the vote.

I suspect if there was another election SF would adopt a cautious approach and be very selective about where they would run extra candidates.


james mcbarron - February 17, 2020

Cautious is probably right. Also voting 1 SF and 2 for the left candidate is grand under pr but if there are 2 SF candidates there is no guarantee that all those votes would stay in house. A case in point is that in Cork north central I know several people who are republicans first and socialists second but who gave Mick Barry a number 1 as they regarded Gould as safe and felt the second left seat was worth defending, such voters might not be so keen on SF taking all the spoils. I also think the performance of the socialist lefts TDs since the election will make them popular with the voters who wanted a left/change government.

On seat gains Cork North West was the one constituency where SF failed to run, the Soc Dems threatened to take a seat here with a very strong campaign and good local organisation. I suspect if we do have a second election some time soon, Liadh Ni Riada would be run by SF and be strongly favoured to take seat, denying FF their second.

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