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Fianna Fáil and Government April 5, 2020

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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There has been a lot about the Government formation talks between FF and FG over the past few weeks. One thing that has emerged from this is Cosmhuintir Fianna Fáil a Grassroots group of members against going into coalition with Fine Gael. Given that any coalition deal will have to be approved by the membership, it’s probably a headache the party leadership could do without.
It’s nothing of course to do with Civil War Politics, it’s that the parties are too different and that voters rejected Fine Gael at the recent Election. In broader terms many were disappointed at the party not even talking to Sinn Féin regarding Government formation, even as a gesture with no intention of doing any deal with them. It’s felt that going in with Fine Gael will open the door to Sinn Féin to hammer Fianna Fáil at the next election.
Éamon Ó Cuív has had his say

“There seems to be an assumption in media reporting over the last few days that members will automatically endorse an agreement arrived at by leadership,” he said.

“From what I hear speaking to FF local reps and members across the country, this could be way off the mark.

My suspicion is that were a Government deal with Fine Gael rejected by the FF membership it would be a disaster for them. There would probably have to be an election as soon as one was practical and FF having opted out of Government would be in a very weak position. Those claiming to be saving the Party, could end up wrecking it.

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1. EWI - April 5, 2020

If the ‘Party’ turns out to mean a preserve of social-climbing cute-hoors who actively detest anything the party originally stood for, then it deserves that fate (same as for the Labour Party). Let’s see if that’s the case, however.

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2. Conor Kostick - April 5, 2020

On the other hand, with FG obtaining a bounce from the high profile of Varadkar and Harris, FF would be in trouble if there was a post-virus election. Sensing this, i believe their members will fall into line. I think FF/FG is pretty certain. What’s less clear to me is who the third party will be.

Although it would mean disaster, Labour will find it hard not to repeat their 2011-16 mantra about needing act for the good of the country, even if that works against their party. Surely the victory of Alan Kelly and his offer to be “constructive” is a signal that they are open to an approach?

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3. WorldbyStorm - April 5, 2020

I’m presuming IEL it’s deeply unlikely FF could split over this?

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Tomboktu - April 6, 2020

Depends on what you mean by ‘split’. Recall:
Niall Blayney,
Dessie O’Malley and Mary Harney,
Beverly Cooper-Flynn,
Jackie Healy-Rea,
Mattie McGrath,
Richard O’Donoghue

Though, I suppose in this context, the real question is: would Ó Ciuv lead some TDs out of the party?

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irishelectionliterature - April 6, 2020

I actually don’t know. Feelings are very high about this in elements of the membership. Being opposed to Fine Gael is part of the identity of being in Fianna Fáil.
The problem is that those opposed are often the most active on the ground. The ones who do the Church gate collections, man the offices and so on. I suspect a good lot of them will leave.
So you end up with a party membership that is then skewed more to people who are there to support certain candidates and drift away more easily.

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sonofstan - April 6, 2020

Any notion of the size of that membership now, compared with say peak Bertie era? Must be lower in Dublin, and I’m guessing older?

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Joe - April 6, 2020

My notion with no figures to back it up: I’d say a pale shadow by now. A pale shadow of the seventies, eighties, nineties. Not unique to FF of course. People don’t join parties the way they used to. But FF seems really to be in terminal decline. Old and largely conservative on social issues and dying out.

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4. NFB - April 6, 2020

If Martin agrees some manner of programme for government with FG, puts it to an Ard Dheis and loses, is he finished? How could he continue?

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WorldbyStorm - April 6, 2020

I’d have thought so. And then what’s the alternative? Another election? That can’t happen for another three to six months given the crisis. But no election… what happens then? Or does SF step into the mix at that point?

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5. sonofstan - April 6, 2020

Funny how FF despite doing ‘better’ in the election than FG are in a far worse position relative to expectations, to the damage a coalition will do them and their vulnerablity to SF

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WorldbyStorm - April 6, 2020

It’s a real paradox. I was thinking the other day that in addition to the weaknesses described above, older membership base, smaller, more conservative, there’s also another basic problem. MM isn’t a great leader either and this has only slowly sunk in for them and perhaps been appreciated more widely only in the last while (there’s also a curious aspect to how in 2016 they did ‘better’ than expected but really not very well and this time around fell back sharply). Of course he’s been around an awful long time now in some ways. And it’s not that LV is much better, but, even without arguing insincerity on his part he has the crisis as something that is tangible and where (ironically) the state can and does make a huge impact. So small wonder FGs ratings have shot up and FFs have gone even worse.

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sonofstan - April 6, 2020

“he has the crisis as something that is tangible and where (ironically) the state can and does make a huge impact”

A FG taoiseach gets to bring private hospitals under state control, introduce something like UBI and deflate the housing market.

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WorldbyStorm - April 6, 2020

My kind of FG Taoiseach! 😉

Seriously though, do you think the supposedly saintly Garrett FG ever had half that ambition for all his much paraded ‘social democrat’ pretensions?

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sonofstan - April 6, 2020

It’s almost like an FG taoiseach finally declaring the republic!

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