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I4C Dáil group… and other matters. February 20, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Talk here of efforts to construct independent technical groups – with seemingly two such already in the field.

One group, spearheaded by Tipperary Independent Mattie McGrath, is engaging in government talks.
Another group of Independents, organised by Marian Harkin and Michael Fitzmaurice, is meeting to form a technical group to get greater Dáil speaking time. It is not yet known if this group will then engage in government talks.

Then there’s yet another person ‘considering’ running for Ceann Comhairle – this time the indefatigable Denis Naughten.

The rather loose I4C adjacent technical group lost two members this election – with Maureen O’Sullivan and Tommy Broughan deciding not to stand again. Dean Mulligan came tantalisingly close during the contest but currently there are only three TDs who would fit the bill for a group – those being Joan Collins, Thomas Pringle and Catherine Connolly. So, of the other Independents who could make up the two necessary to form a technical group? Some names are floating around. Any thoughts?

Comments»

1. Tomboktu - February 20, 2020

Interesting choices for Ceann Comhairle.

Seán Ó Feargháil made some decisions that blocked reform of money messages.

Denis Naughten’s unwise meetings during a procurement procedure led to his resignation from government.

I’d say some TDs will genuinely have difficulty choosing between those two

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WorldbyStorm - February 20, 2020

Yep, that’s food for thought.

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2. PMC - February 20, 2020

Aside from the merits, or demerits, of either man I would have real issues with any Ceann Comhairle getting a second term. I appreciate the need for automatic re-election to the Dail after a term as CC but this should then preclude you from running the next time.

If O’Fearghail is elected CC and the next two governments last a full term (a big if admittedly) he will be in the Dail until 2030 without having faced the electorate since 2016. He could then happily retire. This would be farcical and I hope the parties of the left highlight it.

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WorldbyStorm - February 20, 2020

+1

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3. Paul Culloty - February 20, 2020

Sol-PBP and the aforementioned three TDs will bring McDonald up to 45 TDs today, Soc Dems abstaining from all votes, while Labour will abstain from some and may vote against others.

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irishelectionliterature - February 20, 2020

Good to see the Far Left back Mary Lou McDonald for Taoiseach. It was a massive step by some of them to back Sinn Féin.

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Fergal - February 20, 2020

I agree with IEL… a generous and commendable move by all involved, more of this and FF and FG won’t know what’s hit them…SD? Other Indos? Greens?

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Liberius - February 20, 2020

They kind of had to though given the momentum amongst the electorate (well the portion they are fishing from) for a left government as doing otherwise risks being seen as being part of the problem which is clearly not a place they’d want to find themselves in if there is to be a fraught second general election later in the year.

Though, and this is a different tangent, that doesn’t mean being obsequious followers and defenders of SF, I have been fairly amazed looking online at the number of people in the nebulous “left” who are throwing themselves onto anti-Semitism landmines in the unwise defence of Reada Cronin, obviously didn’t learn much out of what went on in the UK.

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WorldbyStorm - February 20, 2020

+1 Liberius. I do find the knee jerk defence stuff pointless. In this day and age stuff isn’t going to go away so might as well face up to it. And why defend stupid statements anyway?

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4. Paddy Healy - February 20, 2020

Note that when Richard Boyd-Barret spoke on the election of Taoiseach , he spoke only on behalf of People Before Profit. He said PBP would vote for Mary Lou but only in support of a minority left wing government. Solidarity and RISE did not announce their position on the election of Taoiseach, Social Democrats will abstain. I am told that the votes of individual TDs will not be released! Is this correct?

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dmfod - February 20, 2020
5. Jolly Red Giant - February 20, 2020

Socialist Party statement on the vote for Taoiseach

http://socialistparty.ie/2020/02/statement-vote-taoiseach/

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6. Jolly Red Giant - February 20, 2020

8th attempt

Statement on the vote for Taoiseach
Posted by: Socialist Party Feb 20, 2020

While it is practically ruled out that a Taoiseach will be elected and a government formed today, today’s events in the Dáil, at its first meeting since the General Election on 8 February, are very important.

Since the historic vote, when Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael plunged to their lowest combined vote – just 43.4%, both have either tried to ignore or dismiss the clear message from the election – people want real change and an end to their rule.

Therefore today’s votes for Taoiseach will be symbolic and indicative of what kind of Ireland and world people want to live in, rather than the individuals nominated.

Are TDs who have been elected by the people going to represent the desire of the majority for change (56.6%) or are they going to vote to sustain the status quo?

Are they going to vote to continue with the housing and homelessness crisis, the untold suffering from the health crisis, a state pension from 67 and inaction on climate, while the planet burns. Or are they going to vote for an alternative that offers hope?

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have ruled for one hundred years, they bear a huge responsibility for the state the country is in. They, along with the Greens and Labour it must be said, offloaded the cost and heavy burden of the great capitalist recession onto the back of ordinary people, so that the banks and the rich and wealthy in Ireland and internationally could be spared. Proof if proof were needed that they are bound hand and foot to business interests and never put people’s needs first.

Public statements from Micheal Martin, Leo Varadkar and the media indicate clearly that even though these parties are a minority in percentage terms and in seats in the Dáil, they are already planning to make some arrangement so they can ignore the vote on 8 February and continue to rule at our expense.

56.6% of people voted for parties other than Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, a large amount of them for Sinn Féin. Solidarity, and our TD Mick Barry (a long standing Socialist Party member), have fundamental differences with Sinn Féin and the role it generally plays, not least its role in the North.

However, today’s vote for Taoiseach is not primarily about individuals or for specific parties. It is a vote about either:

Respecting the outcome of the election and the desire for real change;
Dismissing the outcome of the election and voting for no change at all.
In this vote, at this stage for a very large number of working class people, Mary Lou McDonald represents the former and Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin represents the latter. For these reasons in today’s vote Mick Barry will be voting against Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin and for Mary Lou McDonald.

Our vote today does not represent a shift in our political views. We have always fought for real, radical and socialist change, most recently elevating such ideas in the mass movements we helped lead on water charges and repeal and abortion. We are supporting the mass desire for real change but would say that in order to achieve it, that working people and the young must get active in the struggle for change and take control of the future.

Neither does our vote today indicate any lessening of our concern, which is shared by many, that Sinn Féin has not ruled out going into coalition with either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael, even though that is the only way forward and path to real change. There have been numerous reports that they only see some arrangement with Fianna Fáil as the only practical way forward. We say here categorically if Sinn Féin were to go into coalition with either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael, that would be turning your back on the historic vote of 8 February. Now is not the time for such pragmatism, as James Connolly said:

“Don’t be “practical” in politics. To be practical in that sense, means that you have, schooled yourself, to think along, the lines and, in the grooves which those, who rob you would desire you to think. ”

One of the main disagreements we have with Sinn Féin, which is necessary to highlight in the context that we will vote for their nominee on this occasion, relates to their role in the North.

Alongside the DUP, Sinn Féin has implemented Tory austerity and neo-liberal policies which have decimated public services and resulted in one in six of the population on NHS waiting lists and voted to raise the pension age for workers, while at the same time favouring cutting corporation tax.

Everyone should know at this stage that unity cannot be achieved by pressurising, coercing or en-forcing a settlement on a minority. The only basis for unity is if Protestant and Catholic working class people unite and organise so their collective future and that of the planet, comes before profit. We will never support any proposals that heightens sectarian division between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, or between North and South.

We call on Sinn Féin, and the Greens, to rule out going into coalition with either of the traditional capitalist parties.

If you try to pull together an alternative administration, not involving any of the capitalist establishment parties, we would use our vote to facilitate such an alternative government coming into being.

We are prepared to meet and discuss with anyone as to what is necessary to realise real change for working people, the majority in society. If you try to pull together an alternative administration, not involving any of the capitalist establishment parties, we would use our vote to facilitate such an alternative government coming into being out of respect for how people voted on 8 February.

However, unless such a government is prepared to take the decisive action necessary to deliver on the key issues, including the democratic nationalisation of the key economic resources and a break with the capitalist market, like the Syriza government in Greece failed to do it will leave itself open to be attacked by domestic and international business interests. We would not participate in such a government but would support every positive measure it implemented. We would help build a mass movement to resist right-wing opposition to any reforms that may be initiated, or against u-turns or the breaking of any promises regarding the rights of people and the planet.

If as the weeks pass Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael make some arrangement so one or both of them control and dominate the next government, we call on Sinn Féin in particular, not to limit their opposition to the Dáil chamber. Instead, they should use their enhanced position and resources to help initiate a new mass movement of ordinary working people and the young to fight on the issues and to push the establishment and their parties back.
Let us take the lead from the events in France and the movement mushrooming around Bernie Sanders, and from the water charges and repeal movements.

Ordinary people need a mass social and political movement in order to fight for their interests and all the parties who stood for real change and against Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in the last election should co-operate in trying to bring it into existence.

Within such a movement there should be a debate about what ideas and policies are necessary in Ireland and internationally if capitalist exploitation and capitalist climate change is to be overcome. Solidarity and the Socialist Party will fully participate in such a struggle and believes that a majority for a left socialist government can be won in Ireland.

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WorldbyStorm - February 20, 2020

Yes, I distinctly heard him say he was supporting SF in the vote, albeit with the above caveats.

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Colm B - February 20, 2020

I agree fully with this position – there is no contradiction between voting for a taoiseach from a center left party but not entering a reformist gov. You can’t break with capitalism by administering it.
This allows socialists to support short term reforms that benefit workers while at the same time continuing to work outside dail to build the struggles that could lead to a radical transformation. It is very difficult for socialists TDs to resist the inevitable pressure to be “responsible” so this is a very positive development IMO. I hope the other left TDs follow suit.

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irishelectionliterature - February 20, 2020

I thought it was a show of pragmatism over idealogical purity which was very welcome.

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7. Paddy Healy - February 20, 2020

Independents 4 Change (Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly and Thomas Pringle) announced that they would vote for Mary Lou.
I welcome the decision of Mick Barry of Solidarity to vote for a Sinn Féin Taoiseach.

All the left must oppose any move by Sinn Féin to go into coalition with Fianna Fáil and/or Fine Gael.

There must be a major mass mobilisation in support of demands on housing, health, pensions etc

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8. Jolly Red Giant - February 20, 2020

Just to point out – there is a difference in approach by Solidarity and PBP/Paul Murphy. PBP and Paul Murphy are arguing that SF should form a minority government with the support of the left, Indos and others. The only way this can happen is by either FF or FG abstaining. There is a problem with this approach – any such government would only exist at the behest of FFG – and they would engineer a situation that they would use to discredit the left and bring the government down.

Solidarity holds the view that the numbers do not exist to form a SF led-government supported by the left and others – that SF should rule out coalition and that the combined non FFG/LP groups should force FFG to form a government or else cause a new general election. This may well happen anyway and the reality is that SF and the left should now begin the process of mobilising a mass movement to put FFG on notice and build to bring down such a government to lead to a general election and precipitate a new majority government on a left programme.

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dmfod - February 20, 2020
WorldbyStorm - February 20, 2020

Thanks dmfod!

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9. Paddy Healy - February 20, 2020

Varadar secures only 36 votes for Taoiseach!!!- 1 more than the FG total-defeated by almost 3 to 1

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10. Liberius - February 20, 2020

A “regional” technical group has been formed, fairly hard right in nature as well, and note the inclusion of Cathal Berry, not really surprising he’s aligning with the hard right being a military man and all.

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ThalmannBrigadier - February 20, 2020

Sorry – raising the issue of pay for enlisted ranks in the defense forces is not “hard right”. Being a military man does not mean one is hard right.

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WorldbyStorm - February 21, 2020

Yes true TB and I suspect I4C might have hoped he would make up numbers for their group there being precious few left inds in this Dáil – disappointing he’d go that group tho

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Liberius - February 21, 2020

Yet he is joining a group with Grealish and Murphy and the others. Don’t be useful idiot by following this forces pay crap, the people bigging that up couldn’t care less about normal people’s pay, they only want more money for gun totting thugs.

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Liberius - February 21, 2020

Additionally (because I’ve seen WbS’ comment), what evidence is there that Berry would’ve been left leaning? The IT piece linked to a few weeks ago here quoted a Berry flunky as saying they were interested in defence policy in general, the writing was on the wall with this, why not just admit that?

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WorldbyStorm - February 21, 2020

That’s not quite the point – it’s one thing not to be left leaning, It’s quite another to be hard right and based on an assumption that that is the case because someone was in the defence forces.

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WorldbyStorm - February 21, 2020

By the way I’d also take serious issue with the idea the defence forces are simply ‘gun toting thugs’.

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Liberius - February 21, 2020

To be fair I think it’s a reasonable bet (and yes I know that is an assertion rather than evidence, I did look but can’t find any research on political views of soldiers here in Ireland) based on evidence from elsewhere that right-wing extremism has been a problem amongst recruits (quote about Bundeswehr below) that this would apply here too with a sliding scale from far-right inclined recruits to milder ones. This might not be enough for those with a more positive view of soldiering (which, FWIW, is just gun toting even if you don’t like that description) but it is for me, so I wasn’t surprised that Berry aligned himself with Grealish and Murphy and the other assorted xenophobes and anti-abortion activists in the Dáil. I’m not inclined to change my views on these people so I don’t see much point taking this any further.

A German lieutenant posed as a Syrian refugee under an alias, applied for asylum in early 2016, and even received financial benefits after his application was accepted. He was arrested last week and charged with planning an act of violence; police found explosives in the home of a suspected accomplice. Police say he was motivated by xenophobia, and that the planned attack was possibly intended to frame the Syrian immigrant community.

An April 29 investigation by German news outlet Der Spiegel revealed that the soldier had expressed far-right views in 2014, and that the military knew of it — but had looked the other way. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen called it a failure of leadership in the Bundeswehr, or German armed forces.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/05/01/the-german-military-has-a-neo-nazi-problem-extremism-right-wing-terrorism/

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terrymdunne - February 21, 2020

Ireland is not Germany. It is not a reasonable supposition to suppose that Irish soldiers are particularly right-wing – if anything historically there very well could be co-relation between concentrations of soldiers and the working-class constituency of the Labour party – which if there was it shouldn’t surprise us given who would have been being recruited into the ranks of the army.

I don’t think there was anything particularly new about Berry’s candidature – I can remember single-issue protest candidates about soldiers pay and conditions in the late 1980s. There is a long-running discontent about this and yeah they are probably not too bothered about the situation for other people – like supermarket workers for instance – unless they are personally connected to them – which is the case with most people – concerned with what matters to them personally.

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WorldbyStorm - February 21, 2020

If we look at the far right here we actually see ex British Army members are the self proclaimed patriots . The very few instances of far right sympathies by soldiers and sailors have been stamped on by the authorities as I understand it. And to assume that a tiny fringe which may or may not exist here at all represents all soldiers isn’t robust. Re gun-toting fine, re thugs not so fine – that’s a v loaded term. And terrys point is persuasive re the LP. Don’t want to get on your case about this so happy to leave it there.

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CL - February 21, 2020

“Evidence of an “economic draft” became clear with the economic crisis in 2008. Prior to the collapse, a major story in the news was that the U.S. military was experiencing the greatest recruiting shortfall in its history. Once the crisis hit, there was a new story just a couple months afterward: that military recruitment had reached the highest levels yet.”
https://www.liberationnews.org/the-economic-draft-and-the-html/
It could be of course that the working class are inherently prone to violence and therefore become ‘gun-toting thugs’ whilst the more privileged sections of society are less predisposed to be militaristic.

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Stan - February 21, 2020

“By the way I’d also take serious issue with the idea the defence forces are simply ‘gun toting thugs’”

Likewise.

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Liberius - February 21, 2020

Re gun-toting fine, re thugs not so fine – that’s a v loaded term.

Fair enough, it was an unnecessary addition that I shouldn’t have used.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 21, 2020

Over the last few elections Irish soldiers have voted in significant numbers for left candidates.

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11. Paddy Healy - February 20, 2020

Disappointing 45 votes for Mary Lou 45=SF+I4C+ Sol/Rise/PBP

But Mary Lou had the lowest vote against 84=FF+FG+GN?

and largest number of abstentions 29

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Jolly Red Giant - February 20, 2020

‘disappointing’ – come on Paddy – more analysis and less emotion. seriously – how many votes did you really expect her to get?

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Paul Culloty - February 20, 2020

AFAIK, SF are still talking to Greens, SD, Labour and Independents – none of whom were going to commit until a framework for Government was concluded.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 20, 2020

Yep – Solidarity-PBP are meeting them again on Wednesday. The problem is the arithmetic. The only way such a government would emerge would be on the basis of either FF/FG abstaining – and such a government would be a hostage to fortune with FFG waiting, just a short time, to manufacture an issue where they could embarrass the government and bring it crashing down.

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12. Paddy Healy - February 20, 2020

The spontaneous electoral surge by the oppressed has given all of us on the left a new opportunity to talk TO each other rather than AT each other.-so I will not be responding to put down lines from JRG

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Jolly Red Giant - February 20, 2020

I’ll tell you what – how about, instead of lauding the success of SF in the election, you begin by demanding that they rule out coalition with FFG – then we can do the talking ‘TO’ bit.

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13. Paddy Healy - February 20, 2020

I have spent my entire political life (c 60 years) fighting coalition between Labour and Republican parties with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. (when I was expelled from the national executive of the Labour Party for opposing a return to coalition in 1969/70, JRG’s forebears kept their heads down) JRG knows that that his comment can only provoke hostility and poison discussion. The sooner we get away from this approach on the left the better.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 20, 2020

Well – a jump back 50 years – well done – when the Militant had all of a couple of members in the country. Then again – you taking your crew out of the LP in 1970, and weakening the potential of the left to overturn coalition, really worked out well over the following 50 years. Tell me – how is the expansion of WUAG into a national party going these days?

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WorldbyStorm - February 20, 2020

Cool it. This isn’t the site for this sort of stuff.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 20, 2020

Ah come one WbS – Paddy hasn’t been shy about dishing it out in the past – are you depriving me of a little bit of fun?

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WorldbyStorm - February 20, 2020

No problem people critiquing one another – just asking for a small gear change

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Pangurbán - February 22, 2020

Jrg I rarely agree with you but you’re spot on:
‘ do unto others etc. ‘

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Daniel Rayner O'Connor - February 21, 2020

As one who was allied to Paddy on the issue in 1970, I would remark that a/ he did not jump from the LP but was pushed out at the behest of that dubious character, Roddy Connolly.
b/ There were more than two militant members in Ireland (and the LP at the time, though, admittedly, the party establishment did not see them as the threat it would fear c17 years later (but then you weren’t around in 1970, were you, big guy?).
c/ The idea that the left had real potential to overturn coalition presumes that the LP leaders are consistent democrats. In fact the Oireachtas party controls conference votes thru’ its patronage, expressed in paper branches.
d/ There was also the not inconsiderable fact that a major opponent of coalition with FG was the unpredictable Noel Browne who would not give leadership but who could not work loyally.
While there is a case for going into the LP as a recruiting centre, the hope that it can be converted into a force for qualitative social change is as achievable as a slice of pie in the sky.

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charlie cairns - February 23, 2020

if we’re talking 1970, there were militant members in north, none in south, none in Irish labour party, earliest was 1971, possibly 2, when john throne moved to Dublin

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14. Paddy Healy - February 21, 2020

I will not be responding to comments by JRG in future. Comradely discussions are what are required on the left now.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 21, 2020

Nice of you to pick and choose when ‘comradely discussions’ are required.

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15. rockroots - February 21, 2020

“So, of the other Independents who could make up the two necessary to form a technical group? Some names are floating around. Any thoughts?”

Very slim pickings on the independent left this time around, it has to be said. Michael McNamara looks like the only other one who could be considered even mildly similar. A loose technical link-up with the left parties might be a better option at this stage, if they were willing.

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WorldbyStorm - February 21, 2020

Yeah, think you’re right – the only ones vaguely possible seemed (long shot) Berry and Shanahan as well as McNamara. A TG has to have five doesn’t it so this could be a problem

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Paul Culloty - February 21, 2020

And McNamara voted for Martin last night, which sets him apart from Connelly, Collins and Pringle.

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WorldbyStorm - February 21, 2020

Wow, that didn’t take long on his part. I’d wondered given his LP origin would he be in a sort of exile from them and work with them – perhaps not

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Jolly Red Giant - February 22, 2020

McNamara was on the right of the LP – got elected because he has a recognisable name and he stood as an independent.

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gypsybhoy69 - March 2, 2020

Perhaps a bit tabloidy but McNamara is married to the granddaughter of Patrick Hillery who was a FF TD in Clare for 22 years.

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Conor Kostick - February 22, 2020

They should form a group with the Sol-PbP members.

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16. CL - February 21, 2020

“Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said that An Garda Síochána agrees with a PSNI assessment that Sinn Féin and the IRA are overseen by a provisional army council….
Responding to Commissioner Harris’ assessment, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar … tweeted: “Why doesn’t McDonald disband the Army Council and the PIRA or if she cannot, repudiate them and sever all links and do so publicly and unequivocally?”
https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2020/0221/1116746-garda-commissioner-sinn-fein/

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6to5against - February 21, 2020

Wasn’t this a pretty extraordinary intervention? The head of a police force publicly questioning the legitimacy of a political party that could soon be in government. And for that police chief to then receive public backing from two establishment parties. If this happened in another country it would be reported as a prelude to a coup.
Hopefully in this case, it’s more likely to be choreographed steps leading to a FFG coalition. But still….

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CL - February 22, 2020

Interview with Patrick Radden Keefe, author of ‘Say Nothing’.

He suggests that the existence of the IRA in some form is what allows the peace process to proceed.
And Sinn Fein is here to stay.
https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2020/02/21/amanpour-patrick-radden-keefe-say-nothing-sinn-fein-ireland-election.cnn

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CL - February 23, 2020

” The exploratory talks between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael about forming a government will be underpinned by a key political strategy on the part of the two parties. It is the portrayal, to party supporters and the public, of Sinn Féin as a sinister force in Irish politics and unfit for government….
Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael seem destined for government, with Sinn Féin their common enemy. It is as much a political strategy as an ideological battle.”
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/soc-dems-will-not-join-government-involving-civil-war-parties-leaders-say-1.4182216

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17. roddy - February 21, 2020

Maybe Harris could repudiate some of his own links.

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Michael Carley - February 21, 2020

“Maybe Harris could repudiate some of his own links.”

I had to look up the page before I realised which Harris it was.

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18. Paddy Healy - February 21, 2020

Tommy Gorman (RTE Northern Correspondent) rubbishes allegation that IRA Army Council is running Sinn Féin!
Listen Until you hear tommy Gorman (after Drew Harris)
https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2020/0221/1116746-garda-commissioner-sinn-fein/
Tommy Gorman: “Is there an Army Council running Sinn Féin? I don’t thik that the DUP would be in an executive with Sinn Féin at Stormont if that were the case”

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19. Paul Culloty - February 21, 2020

Gary Gannon attempts to mollify the left in general, and SF voters in particular:

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Jolly Red Giant - February 22, 2020

Gary Gannon – who voted to privatise O’Devaney Gardens and then voted to spend €27m on a white water rafting facility in Dublin.

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Fergal - February 22, 2020

He’s saying the two together is problematic… but one of them on their own… is grand?

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Paul Culloty - February 22, 2020

Presumably in the increasingly unlikely event of an SF-FF agreement, they would have to leave that door open.

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Conor Kostick - February 22, 2020

Róisín Shortall on RTE this morning clarified that while they won’t join a FF/FG government, they would be willing to talk to either FF or FG, provided FF / FG accepted that a change of approach was needed.

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20. roddy - February 22, 2020

Journalists should not be afraid to highlight the nature of RUC special branch and its links with MI5.I think Drew Harris would be very reluctant to sue as robust questioning in open court would not suit him.

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6to5against - February 22, 2020

They shouldn’t be afraid to do so, Roddy, but I suspect the issue isn’t fear. You’d have to think, looking at coverage over the last few days, that they simply have no interest in doing so.

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Pangurbán - February 23, 2020

Well if Harris has links with MI5 he should find plenty of colleagues in the upper reaches of Sinn Fein; if mi5 have belfast Christmas drinks they can all meet up for a pint

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21. Tomboktu - February 22, 2020

There is a logic to Catherine Murphy’s stance. If FF and FG are the two big parties in a coalition, the third arm (party or alliance of independents) will not be able to exert any form of left influence.

A coalition with SF and one or more of the smaller parties would for the first time give a government with FF or FG not in the majority in that coalition.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 22, 2020

Neither scenario will result in any kind of ‘left influence’ or real ‘change’.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 22, 2020

Plus – the reality is that the SDs are nothing more than the LP Mk2

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Pasionario - February 22, 2020

Any leftist or even “centre-leftist” should have serious doubts about going into goverment with FF.

But if SF took the finance, housing, health, and social welfare portfolios, with the Greens in environment and education, then there would be some space for real progressive change, which is badly needed right now (not in five years time).

Finance would have to be a red line, but FF are less right wing than under Bertie and McCreevy. And if FF took the regalian ministries — Justice, Foreign Affairs, and Defence — then that would neuter some of the establishment pearl-clutching.

Meanwhile, the SDs, Sol/PBP, and left indos could offer left-wing opposition and pick up votes if the government fails to deliver, so the left vote would not need to take a collective beating, as it has whenever Labour have gone into government.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 22, 2020

The GP had Environment in the past and did nothing with it. The only thing that they would do this time would be to impose more carbon taxes. As for education – the GP programme is mickey mouse stuff – a handful of aspirational things but nothing concrete. Furthermore – while both claim they want to end pay inequality for teachers – neither have included it in their budget proposals.

In relation to SF – well they would have a big problem taking finance, housing and social welfare. To start with they would likely row back on any tax increases they proposed as part of the deal with FF, limiting funds available for investment. But they would have an even bigger problem with housing. To start with SF are proposing a rent freeze for 3 years – but rents are currently unaffordable and freezing unaffordable rents will not make any dramatic change in the rental market. At the moment the construction industry is working to capacity – the only way to build social and affordable housing is by diverting workers into house building (which is not as profitable as building hotels and office space). There are two ways of doing this – either by dramatically overspending for the building of housing through the use of contractors – or – by establishing a state owned construction company to build the housing needed, providing secure well-paid jobs for construction workers. Every indication is that SF will either fail to build the houses promised or grossly overpay contractors to do it. And, by the way, there is not that much difference between the proposals from SF and FF on this issue. On social welfare, SF’s proposals are doing little more than re-instating some of the previous cuts. And all of this assumes that there is no economic recession – which is very much on the cards at the moment.

Now – there is no doubt that a FF/SF/GP coalition would be forced to implement some ‘change’ – but a lot of the change would be cosmetic in nature and would be limited by potential economic problems. And don’t forget – Eoin O’Brien said that MNCs had nothing to fear from SF in government.

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Tomboktu - February 23, 2020

But if SF took the finance, housing, health, and social welfare portfolios, with …

The Department of Finance alone, or the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform?

It’s the second of these, and not finance, that will decide how much the other departments — housing, health, social protection — will be allocated.

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Pasionario - February 23, 2020

Both. Donohue currently holds both briefs.

As memory serves, Public Expenditure and Reform was created in 2011 as a figleaf for Labour to conceal how little they got out of the coalition deal with Fine Gael. It was Noonan who was calling the shots in Finance.

As for JRG’s comments, if the construction industry is already working to capacity and there are labour shortages, then a state-owned construction company would itself have trouble overcoming those problems.

Having said that, we should be able to attract construction workers from across Europe if we need them, particularly now that the Brits are pulling up the drawbridge.

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Jolly Red Giant - February 23, 2020

2 attempt to post

Construction workers are being doubly exploited as large numbers are now forced in bogus contractor positions. If you want to build houses then you have to redirect the workers from hotels and office construction – and you do that by providing permanent, pensionable jobs at decent wages in a state construction company.

You suggest bringing in immigrant construction workers – there are two problems – the private construction companies are already trying to do that (and failing) and immigrant workers also require accommodation (and we would need thousands).

The reality is that the SF (and similar FF) proposals cannot be implemented on a market basis – they require a package of measures – rent reductions (not simply freezing) – the confiscation of vacant properties – the confiscation of vacant land – the establishment of a state construction company – the redirection of construction workers from hotel and office construction – and the nationalisation of building supplies companies so that supplies for the building of housing is not left to the mercy of the market.

Without these measure any attempt to build housing in the numbers required (or even promised) will flounder on the alter of the market – or else the state will be stuck with a runaway bill like for the childrens hospital.

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22. CL - February 22, 2020

Thanks to Sinn Fein’s links, real or imagined, to the IRA it will not be taking state power in a coalition in the 33rd Dail. The danger of SF being assimilated to the existing power structure, of becoming tweedle three, has passed.

Does SF depart sufficiently from orthodox political economy to be an effective opposition?

“Ireland’s traditional ruling parties are edging towards talks on a historic coalition after ruling out a deal with Sinn Féin nationalists over economic policies that they say will damage foreign investment from the likes of Apple and Google….
A senior Irish official said: “That is not something the international business community would be necessarily used to in Ireland. There are unknowns there, and business doesn’t like unknowns.”…
While noting that the wider economic model was not under discussion, the official said “some of the measures that help us do our business do seem to be up for discussion and that has not happened before” in the wake of an election”

https://www.ft.com/content/7aab7c2a-533f-11ea-8841-482eed0038b1

“the wider economic model was not under discussion”…..

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23. Paddy Healy - February 23, 2020

Eammon O Cuiv’s Plan To Circumvent Micheal Martins Ban on FF Talks with Sinn Féin
IMPORTANT NEWS EXCLUDED FROM NEWS IN ENGLISH ON RTE
Listen back to NUACHT 7.15 ar TG4 Nó Nuacht RTE 17.40 This Evening Feb 23
Ar an gClár 7 Lá ar TG4 Mhol Dev Óg “eadránaí seachtrach” (foreign mediator) idir na páirtithe polaiticúla is na teachtaí eile chun rialtas nua a chur ar bun.
Clearly he wants a George Mitchel style intervention to institute a new government in Dáil!!!
Importantly O Cuiv did not exclude Sinn Féin from the process!!!
FF could continue refuse to talk to Sinn Féin directly
George Mitchel (Leagan a Dó) could carry messages between the two parties!!!!
(How about selection of ministers through D’Hondt System?)

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Paddy Healy - February 23, 2020

Eamonn O Cuiv didn’t Lick it off the stones!!!

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24. CL - February 23, 2020

“In the midst of a housing crisis, scores of hotels are being built in or planned for the capital…
the apparent contradiction of developers focused on building accommodation for tourists and other visitors, during such a severe shortage of affordable housing….
The housing crisis is locking prospective buyers out of home ownership, driving up rents, and, in a particularly cruel irony, has seen hundreds of families forced to live in some of the city’s existing hotels….
While the hotel business can be highly volatile at times, the Dublin market is an attractive proposition for the medium to long-term judging by the acquisition of several of the city’s highest-profile hotels by international investors in 2019….
Apart from the extraordinary appetite among investors for existing hotel stock, Dublin is witnessing a near unprecedented level of new hotel development.”
https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/travel/ireland/100-new-hotels-for-dublin-is-that-too-many-or-too-few-1.4162692

“The luxury gap: hundreds of high-end apartments lying empty across Dublin
Unoccupied units at upmarket rental apartment schemes in the capital are compared to boomtime ‘ghost estates’ by critics
Hundreds of top end apartments in Dublin are lying empty despite a chronic shortage of rental stock”
https://www.businesspost.ie/ireland/the-luxury-gap-hundreds-of-high-end-apartments-lying-empty-across-dublin-ac7da06c

“Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has commented on the article by Killian Woods in today’s Business Post on luxury apartment vacancies across Dublin, stating that the incoming government must as a matter of urgency prioritise the delivery of affordable rental accommodation….
“The market will not provide housing at affordable costs for the majority of people.”
https://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/56040

There is no shortage of construction workers; the market is operating efficiently to serve predator greed rather than build houses for those in need.

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CL - February 25, 2020

“Our nearest neighbour – indeed, the northeast part of this very island – has had a vastly superior health service to ours since at least the 1940s. Universal, free at the point of access, cradle-to-grave hospital and primary healthcare is not “radical”. It has been a basic tenet of social democracy for nearly a century…..
Meanwhile, in Vienna, 60 per cent of residents live in public or community-owned housing; in Helsinki, 70 per cent of land in the city is publicly owned – and homelessness has fallen dramatically….
there is a substantial voting bloc in this country – probably a strong majority – who want to bring our country’s public services in line with our northern European neighbours….
Until whoever takes power follows through on this desire for robust social democracy, this same proportion of the electorate will continue to express its discontent ever more vociferously.”
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/discontent-and-the-electorate-1.4182291

More rallies are needed.

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25. Paddy Healy - February 23, 2020

I have just found one of the “7 Lá” Programmes on TG4 where Eamonn O Cuiv made his proposal for outside mediation between the Dáil parties as a last resort rather than have a new election, which he says may leave the the problem unsolved.
Here it is https://beta.rte.ie/player/series/7-l%C3%A1/TG4_084541?epguid=109885
He refers to the external mediation in the north during the peace process and says that ministers could be chosen from all parties using the D’Hondt System as was done at Stormont!

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26. Paul Culloty - February 25, 2020

Back to the OP, and what could best be described as the Left/Liberal Independent Group (Fitzmaurice excepted):

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WorldbyStorm - February 25, 2020

Bloody hell! That’s an unusual one. Ah well, there we go now. I guess it makes sense if others are hoovering up members then these are the last men and women standing. Do now we’ve Regional Inds, Rural Inds and this new crew. Wonder will they have a name?

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Jolly Red Giant - February 25, 2020

You could hardly call Fitzmaurice a ‘liberal’

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WorldbyStorm - February 25, 2020

Hence Paul’s caveat about (Fitzmaurice excepted).

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