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If at first you don’t succeed February 21, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Come back next month? That appears to be the logic of the Dail not meeting for a fortnight, but it also suggests that for all the existential angst we have heard about second elections and so forth in truth the situation is well under control with a caretaker Taoiseach and the parties, that is FF and FG, making noises about what they will do ‘if there is no alternative’. Another straw in the wind, from RTE with M. Martin saying ‘a new government must be formed that would prioritise State intervention to improve key services’. You bet.

As to SF’s great day out yesterday. Without question an historic moment with an SF nominee gaining more votes than FF or FG. But a moment that to me again suggests the latter parties will make some sort of effort to prevent SF taking government – this time around.

What the response of the electorate to that will be may be interesting. But at this point perhaps with the larger parties bunched so close together seats and percentage wise FF and FG will be unenthusiastic about offering SF the chance to extend or expand their mandate.

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1. tafkaGW - February 21, 2020

Can anyone better versed in the RoI constitution enlighten me/us?

How long can this kind of stalemate go on before another election is called? Who must call that election?

Could we have a Belgian situation where it takes more than a year?

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Alibaba - February 21, 2020

Truth to tell, I don’t know the answer to your question. But I suspect the President has a crucial role in deciding how another election can be called. What’s more, when the politicians muddle through, and if Varadkar seeks an election, Michael D can tell them to go figure it out again, meaning more delays. No party wants another election too soon. Even Sinn Féin needs time to consolidate new candidates. My hope is that people will let their annoyance with delays be known in their own chosen ways.

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2. Tomboktu - February 21, 2020

I didn’t watch the proceedings yesterday, but on the news this morning, I heard an extract from Micheál Martin speaking in the Dáil. He was scathing in his attack on Sinn Féin’s democratic legitimacy, and it seemed to me that his remarks were intentionally designed to make it more difficult for his party to go into coalition with Sinn Féin.

The other thing that stood out is that he doesn’t see democratic legitimacy as a yes-no division, and clearly ranks the elite access for funding that his party provided at the tent at the Galway Races as a higher form of democratic legitimacy than a history of armed struggle that has been deginitively ended with a long, negotiated process that produced an international treaty and verified decommissioning.

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3. Tomboktu - February 21, 2020

Can anyone better versed in the RoI constitution enlighten me/us?

Legally, it can continue until the next general election must be called – iirc, five years under an act.

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tafkaGW - February 21, 2020

Groan…

But if the caretaker government can’t pass a budget I guess it has to fall…?

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WorldbyStorm - February 21, 2020

That’s a good question!

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Tomboktu - February 22, 2020

But if the caretaker government can’t pass a budget I guess it has to fall…?

I think the concept of a caretaker government falling doesn’t really make sense becausea caretaker government has by definition already fallen. (Leo Varadkar lost a Dáil vote this week on his reelection as Taoiseach.)

On the budget, we tend to think of it as the big media event in October with the speeches and the photographs of the finance minister holding up a document (in past times, a CD, and for a long time, a briefcase) which contains the budget speech he (so far, only he) reads to the Dáil. But these days under EU law, it is a staged event, with plans submitted to EU bodies months in advance and key announcements on figures made well in advance.

We would be in new territory if a caretaker government were to present a budget.

There is a convention which is overseen by the civil service heads of the government departments that a caretaker government does not make policy initiatives, particuarly ones that might tie the hands of the incoming government. However, constitutionally, a caretaker government is still the government.

If I were to bet, I would say that if the situation were strung out to October, the process of setting a budget would be changed and all Dáil groupings would at least be consulted. But more likely is that if there is no prospect of a government being formed, the Taoiseach would advise the Government to dissolve the Dáil and hold a new general election.

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Miguel62 - February 24, 2020

Not quite. It is a Taoiseach’s prerogative to dissolve the Dáil. S/he doesn’t need to inform yet alone get the consent of the rest of the Government. Technically, the Taoiseach advises the President to dissolve the Dáil and the President is obliged to do so. WITH ONE BIG CAVEAT. A Taoiseach who has lost the confidence of the Dáil is no longer automatically entitled to get a dissolution and it is at the discretion of the President to grant or refuse the dissolution. This is the situation Varadkar is now in.

There are two historical reference points. There was the time in the eighties when a coalition government fell and Haughey dispatched Lenihan (snr) to persuade then president Hillery to refuse a dissolution. Hillery refused to entertain Lenihan and granted the dissolution. It came back to bite Lenihan in the bum in the “mature recollection” moment of the 1990 presidential campaign.

The other time was when Dick Spring effectively forced outgoing Taoiseach Haughey to resign after the inconclusive 1989 election when no party had an overall majority. Haughey didn’t want to but yielded on foot of threatened high Court action. He resigned and became a caretaker Taoiseach setting the precedent followed since then, and again last Thursday. It had the effect of depriving Haughey (and subsequent caretaker Taoisigh) of the option of unilaterally calling a second election.

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4. Stan - February 21, 2020

Irish Times world:
Stephen Collins – “One in 3 voters bought into the idea that Ireland is a hellhole in need of radical left politics”. No acknowledgement that this might actually dovetail with the experience of those voters?

And yesterday, I read the headline on the website: “Ireland remains unchanged” – those referenda, that election, all a dream?
Turns out they were talking about rugby.

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5. CL - February 21, 2020

“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….
About 245,000 people work for international groups backed by IDA Ireland, the state inward investment agency, and an estimated 200,000 work for ancillary companies….
Eoin O’Malley, associate professor of politics at Dublin City University, said: “Lots of people in the political system commonly think that Sinn Féin in government would be bad for Ireland’s image as a welcome place for foreign direct investment.”
Sinn Féin wants to stop Ireland’s appeal in a European court against a ruling on state aid by the EU Commission that Apple should return €14.3bn in back taxes and interest to Dublin after finding that its tax scheme was illegal….

The party wants to raise €722m from international business by taxing intellectual property assets moved to Ireland between 2015 and 2018. It also wants to increase tax on domestic banks and real estate investment trusts.
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….
Mr Varadkar has sought to reassure business, telling a Financial Times conference in Dublin in the days after the election that Irish leaders must provide “political stability and economic security” in coming weeks….
Danny McCoy, chief of Ibec, the country’s biggest business lobby, said some business people were “initially shocked” at the election result. “But now as they reflect on it they will see that the centripetal force in Irish society is towards an outward-facing business model,” he said, adding that the overwhelming thrust of policy in Ireland was centrist.”
https://www.ft.com/content/7aab7c2a-533f-11ea-8841-482eed0038b1

“the wider economic model was not under discussion”-

Can FFG, implementing ‘the wider economic model’, dominated by the MNCs, solve Ireland’s social and economic crises?

Can Sinn Fein, accepting ” the wider economic model”, provide effective oppositon to FFG as the two traditional parties together, most likely in coalition, continue to make Ireland the best little country in the world for capital?

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6. lcox - February 22, 2020

This kind of carry-on, like the shenanigans about the Army Council running SF (which if true would raise the question as to why FF and FG would want to see SF in a Northern executive or taking their seats at Westminster), is really about creating a situation where an FF-FG coalition can be justified (including to restive grassroots and lean and hungry Cassiuses) as being necessary in the national interest (and the same argument can be used to pressure LP, GP or whoever into supporting it). Probably some of the same calculations operate in relation to the recent daftness around coalition negotiations – it isn’t just that nobody wants to be seen to be responsible for new elections, but equally that all other options have to be exhausted before round 2 of Confidence and Supply (whether as full coalition or with FG supporting FF from outside) will be acceptable.

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7. CL - February 22, 2020

FF and FG have no good option.

Either govern together with a Green veneer and/or others to make up the numbers, and allow SF to become the main opposition: or a new election and SF grows stronger.

So the ‘exploratory’ talks between Varadkar and Martin begin next week.

Whatever you say don’t mention the Civil War.

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8. Miguel62 - February 24, 2020

Not quite. It is a Taoiseach’s prerogative to dissolve the Dáil. S/he doesn’t need to inform yet alone get the consent of the rest of the Government. Technically, the Taoiseach advises the President to dissolve the Dáil and the President is obliged to do so. WITH ONE BIG CAVEAT. A Taoiseach who has lost the confidence of the Dáil is no longer automatically entitled to get a dissolution and it is at the discretion of the President to grant or refuse the dissolution. This is the situation Varadkar is now in.

There are two historical reference points. There was the time in the eighties when a coalition government fell and Haughey dispatched Lenihan (snr) to persuade then president Hillery to refuse a dissolution. Hillery refused to entertain Lenihan and granted the dissolution. It came back to bite Lenihan in the bum in the “mature recollection” moment of the 1990 presidential campaign.

The other time was when Dick Spring effectively forced outgoing Taoiseach Haughey to resign after the inconclusive 1989 election when no party had an overall majority. Haughey didn’t want to but yielded on foot of threatened high Court action. He resigned and became a caretaker Taoiseach setting the precedent followed since then, and again last Thursday. It had the effect of depriving Haughey (and subsequent caretaker Taoisigh) of the option of unilaterally calling a second election.

Liked by 1 person


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