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Fianna Fail , Election and Government October 2, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

For a while I had a suspicion that the largest party in the new Dail could well be Fianna Fail…..but now that has receded. Yes the economy is recovering but I thought the amount of things going wrong and continuing to go wrong for the Government would benefit them. It’s not just Irish Water ,it’s Fennelly , strokes, a huge distrust of politics and of course other things like cutbacks, something fishy with NAMA, the ever growing homelessness crisis and the literal inaction of the government on some of these issues. The inaction looks worse when the opposition have simple answers for homelessness like “what about all the houses in NAMA?” .The government are hoping that enough people will have more money in their pockets come election time that Irish Water and inaction in all sorts of areas will be forgotten. Fine Gael are recovering in the polls and we have also had a raft of positive announcements recently.
Its as if they are trying to copy the Tories electoral strategy from earlier this year. Trust us with the economy ….. And for the SNP read Sinn Fein and the various pieces about a Sinn Fein , Fianna Fail coalition.
Labour will talk about the economy too, jobs and various social issues but with few people paying them any heed. Fine Gael will get credit for the economy whilst Labour will get credit for the cuts. The leadership change did nothing for them and although they are rising in the polls, it probably wont be enough to hold on to too many seats.
Anyway back to Fianna Fail… I thought that all of the aforementioned problems for the Government would lead FF to rise in the polls. That , yes with FF there would be strokes, scandals, cutbacks etc (I don’t think there ever has been a government without strokes or scandals) but maybe they would have done a better job with Irish Water, Homelessness and some other issues. Even shown more political sense than the current crowd. In essence anyhow the present government have been following the FF/IMF plan. FF have plenty of policies ……. Yet the media coverage of Fianna Fail has revolved around conventions, Gender Quotas, Mary Hanafin, Averil Power , saying they wont have an Abortion Referendum and that they won’t be going into government with Fine Gael or Sinn Fein.
There are of course differences between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail and even bigger differences between Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein… yet what is Fianna Fails Red Line issue to go into coalition? … is there one? nothing springs to mind. That is something they will have to come up with and get the message across. What exactly is it that differentiates them from Fine Gael, yes they’d probably ‘be fairer’, but how and in what areas?
From what I can see they are concentrating on Crime and Garda Station closures, the demise of ‘Rural Ireland’ as well as building houses.All things that have worked in the past for them and it may well work to a degree this time.
The problem I suppose is that there are still large elements in FF that still view themselves as the party they were pre 2011. Always the biggest party, that would almost automatically get back into government when a ‘Coalition’ government made a mess of things. Where previously it was who would go into coalition with them…. now it’s who will they go into coalition with! … and that’s a huge change and I suspect an awful choice for their members. (The members will get to vote on Coalition , should it arise, at a special Ard Fheis). Its of course a tough choice, going in with Fine Gael will allow The Left and Sinn Fein to grow and possibly lead to another hammering. Going in with Sinn Fein would cause ructions although were Sinn Fein the junior partner you never know.
So what about the coming Election? Well any TDs elected in 2011 should really be safe….a perception that may hurt one or two of them.
They should realistically target at least one seat in every constituency outside of Dublin.(Dublin I’ll get to another day). There should be gains in Waterford, Cork East, Cork South West, Kerry, Tipperary (although they may be fielding too many candidates here) , Kildare North, Meath East, Meath West, Roscommon East Galway, Sligo Leitrim and Wicklow. There may well be gains in other places where they already have a seat such as Donegal, Longford-Westmeath, Offaly, Kildare South, Clare.
The final seats in so many constituencies will be on a knife edge , so they could surprise. On a good day they could gain six seats in Dublin, on a bad day just the one (Darragh O’Brien in Dublin Fingal). On a very good day 40 plus TDs, on a very bad day 25 or so.
I can’t imagine that the coalition thing will go away. Ideally they’d love a SF/FG government to allow themselves be the main opposition party ready to pounce at the following election.
I wonder too what the public reaction would be to the members voting against whatever coalition option they may be presented with. I would expect a backlash, especially given the anti politics mood out there.
So post election almost every choice facing FF is fraught with danger for them.

From My Spam Folder ……. September 27, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

Dear Friend,

The Labour Party has always led the way in changing Ireland for the better. We’ve always fought for social progress, and always will. Many of the most progressive steps Ireland has taken in recent decades wouldn’t have happened, or would have happened much more slowly, without us. Marriage equality is an obvious and powerful example, the X Case legislation another. A more compassionate and egalitarian Constitution has always been absolutely central to our vision.

Ahead of today’s March for Choice, then, I just want to make clear the party’s position on the 8th Amendment. Put simply, it is one of the most retrograde parts of the Constitution, and cannot be changed soon enough. As a woman, it horrifies me to think of the dreadful situations fellow women and their families have been placed in because of this provision. But pledging to repeal the 8th is the straightforward bit – replacing it with a humane, compassionate, and legislatively sound approach is the complex part. It is absolutely essential that we get this right.

That is why I have asked Labour Women, under the stewardship of Ivana Bacik and Sinead Ahern, to bring forward a credible and detailed solution that will form the basis of our manifesto commitment. That commitment will be very clear – to repeal the 8th amendment and ensure it is replaced appropriately.

In any subsequent programme for government negotiations, a referendum to repeal the 8th would be a priority for Labour. We have a very successful history of negotiating for social change in government – including the legalisation of contraception, the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the divorce referendum, and most recently in this Government, the aforementioned X Case legislation and marriage equality as well as the gender recognition legislation. All of this was achieved through negotiation and ensuring a clear political pathway to achieve the desired reform. That is precisely how we would seek to deliver repeal of the 8th amendment.

Other parties will shy away from it in the election, because they don’t want to deal with this very difficult and sensitive issue. That’s why anybody who wishes to see the 8th repealed should vote Labour. If returned to government, we will ensure that referendum – and fight for the right outcome.

Yours sincerely,


Joan Burton TD
Tánaiste & Leader of the Labour Party

Labours chances in Dublin September 25, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

Recent polls have shown some limited recovery for Labour. In 2011 they won 18 seats in Dublin. Of those 18 TDs 9 will be running for Labour next time around. Some have left and others will have retired. Boundary changes will help them in some constituencies, hinder them in others. The recent poll put them at 13% in Dublin. 13% should win them some seats but I wonder when tempted by a good Social Democrats candidate or the likes of Tommy Broughan will they all vote for Labour. 13% is almost double the 7.4% polled by Emer Costello in the European Elections.

I would assume the transfer pact with Fine Gael is one that will benefit those sitting Labour TD’s with more middle class constituents. Which is going to hit the chances of some TD’s like John Lyons, Joe Costello and Eric Byrne. In turn Joan Burton, Alex White, Kevin Humphreys , Aodhan O’Riordan and Brendan Ryan would hope to benefit. In many cases it is going to be a case of beating the second FG candidate and hope to pick up transfers. Which in itself leads to how influential in Labours fortunes Fine Gaels vote and vote management could be. We also have the fact that in some constituencies where Labour are hoping to get FG transfers to hold on to their seats we have Terence Flanagan and Lucinda Creighton possibly in a position to take the transfers before Labour.
The fragmented and polarised nature of the electorate will probably mean that it will take less votes to be elected. Despite the pact in some areas of Dublin we’ll see three AAA-PBP candidates. There will be SF, Social Democrats , Left Independents, WP, Independents , Ross Independents and even FF and Renua all looking for the anti government vote. Another small thing going for Labour (and this will cause some surprises in a few hotly contested constituencies) is that none of their TDs can be seen as safe. There is no assumption whatsoever about any Labour TDs being safe, unlike for instance Richard Bruton, Shane Ross and Mary Lou McDonald.
Labour and Fine Gael at the moment are the only offer of Government we have. That stability will be played to the hilt.
The 1987 General Election is often cited where Labour polled 6.4% but still came back with 12 seats. Most of the seats were held by established TD’s and in Dublin they had no TD’s North of the Liffey. They won four seats in Dublin with Frank Cluskey, Mervyn Taylor, Barry Desmond and Ruairi Quinn.

Dublin Fingal – The old Dublin North was extended to a five seater. Brendan Ryan is possibly the safest Labour TD in Dublin. You’d assume Clare Daly and at least one Fine Gael TD and a battle between Sinn Fein , Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour, AAA-PBP and Inds. The one fly in the ointment here for Labour could be a high profile Social Democrat candidate.

Dublin Central – Down to three seats. I suspect there’s a seat between Fine Gael and Labour. Paschal Donohoe rather than Joe Costello to hold on.

Dublin Bay North – The new five seater taking most of Dublin North Central and Dublin North East. Possibly the most competitive constituency in the Country. Sean Kenny is retiring so Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is the sole Labour candidate. However the centre and centre left is crowded here with former Labour TD Tommy Broughan, Cian O’Callaghan of the Social Democrats, Finian McGrath and even Averil Power all standing. With three Fine Gael candidates Richard Bruton should be safe but will there be transfers for Labour from FG with Renua TD Terence Flanagan and assorted others there to lap them up too. Two FF candidate in Sean Haughey and Deirdre Heaney, Two Sinn Fein, Currently three AAA-PBP candidates and some other Independents. Ó Ríordáin will do well to hold on.

Dublin North West– John Lyons got in on transfers from Roisin Shortall in 2011. Joint Social Democrat leader Shortall should top the poll and if the vote is managed well you might see Dessie Ellis and Noeleen Reilly of Sinn Fein getting in. Lyons will be under pressure from every side with Independents, PBP-AAA and even Fianna Fail challenging. Highly unlikely to hold on.

Dublin Mid West – With Robert Dowds not running, Joanna Tuffy will carry the Labour banner here. It’s a four seater where Sinn Feins Eoin O’Broin you’d have to think will take a seat. Indeed so far Sinn Fein have just the one candidate, so I think they will have a surplus which should benefit Gino Kenny. Frances Fitzgerald will do well and then if Joanna Tuffy were to be ahead of Derek Keating of Fine Gael she is in with a good chance. The flies in the ointment being John Curran of Fianna Fail Anne Marie McNally of The Social Democrats and Paul Gogarty who has recently joined the Shane Ross Independents Alliance. I’d imagine both Gogarty and McNally will be more transfer friendly too.

Dublin West – There was a time when Joan Burtons seat looked very much in danger she should be safe but this will also be a big target for Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail . Sinn Feins Paul Donnelly, Leo Varadkar and Ruth Coppinger should all make it with Fianna Fail fighting it out with Joan Burton for the final seat. I think, despite their poor showing in the second Dublin West by-election that she will hold on.

Dublin South West. With both Labour TDs retiring Templeogue based Pamela Kearns and Tallaght based Mick Duff are running for Labour. I can’t see either getting in.

Dublin Rathdown– A tough 3 seater. Fine Gael have yet to select candidates. Shane Ross will sail home. Alex White will need to be ahead of the second FG candidate to be in with a chance. Curious if Ross has a running mate. Greens, SF will poll ok but 2 FG. Alex White, a Social Democrat and Fianna Fails Mary White will be fighting out for the last seat. Probably won’t make it.

Dublin Bay South -Ruairi Quinn retiring, which leaves Kevin Humphreys. Another very competitive constituency. Can Fine Gael win two, will Lucinda Creighton hold on, can Chris Andrews, Eamon Ryan or Jim O’Callaghan of Fianna Fail make an impact? The Social Democrats could end up as contenders here too.

Dublin South Central – Two sitting TD’s in Eric Byrne and Michael Conaghan with only Byrne running. It is a redrawn Constituency. Aengus O’Snodaigh should be safe. Then we have Brid Smith, Joan Collins, Marie Devine of Sinn Fein , Catherine Byrne of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Eric Byrne in contention for the remaining 3 seats. One government TD surely has to win a seat here. It will be a Byrne but I’m not sure which one.

Dun Laoghaire – Four Seats but Sean Barrett as Ceann Comhairle means its in effect a 3 seater. Carrie Smyth is the Labour candidate after Eamon Gilmore announced he would be retiring. Richard Boyd Barrett and Mary Mitchell O’Connor should get in. Given the quota will be larger than normal I’d almost gamble on transfer Friendly Independent winning the final seat.

The Social Democrats September 18, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

There was a piece on Wednesday about The Small Parties. I’d like to concentrate on one of them. One that I thought had potential and of course its early days yet ….
On July 15th The Social Democrats launched. They had a decent website and good social media, they even had their own QR code. They had three respected TD’s in Catherine Murphy, Stephen Donnelly and Roisin Shortall. ….. Over the following week or two there were radio and Television interviews, pieces in the papers …… and then …….. little or nothing until the 4th of September when five candidates were announced. I must confess I expected more.

Now I may be being unduly harsh and it is of course very difficult to get a political party off the ground, especially as they have no State funding, but I would have expected a nationwide speaking tour after the initial launch. With the joint leadership of three respected and high profile TD’s the country could have been split by them. Each could be doing different stints on the road. Catherine Murphy goes to Cork, Kerry, Limerick etc holds public meetings about the party is interviewed at length on Local Radio , gets coverage in the local papers and shows that the party wants to build in all these areas. Similarly Stephen Donnelly could be holding public meetings (and even having those public meeting posters about would raise the party profile) in the South East and South Dublin. Ditto Róisín Shortall in North Dublin, Louth, Meath etc. This would have raised the new party’s profile greatly. Public Meetings are a great way of interacting with TDs or public representatives and I’m pretty sure they would have been well attended and the visit would have the other publicity that I already mentioned.
Without all this ,did they expect that the country would just flock to them, the “new party” ? look up their website and sign up? Have they overestimated the power of Social Media.
How many parties were founded online but failed to make the transition from Facebook to the ballot paper? and even if they did failed miserably in elections. Social media is an addition to traditional political campaigning , not really a replacement. For the Social Democrats to succeed they need to get out there, to meet and convince the many people that already admire the three leaders that they can be part of it.

This Week At Irish Election Literature September 11, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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Starting off with a 1989 General Election Leaflet from Tony Gregory

From the 1992 General Election a leaflet from Helen Lahert of the Democratic Left who was running in Dublin North Central

A leaflet from Cllr Mícheál Mac Donncha who is running for Sinn Fein in Dublin Bay North.

and finally given todays date… Post 9/11 Special Two Page Issue Of ‘Socialist Worker ‘

That Fine Gael, Labour Transfer Pact September 7, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

News over the weekend that Fine Gael and Labour have agreed a transfer pact. I really don’t know if transfer pacts are of any use especially as I’d imagine the Fine Gael and remaining Labour voters would be transferring to each other anyway. What it also does of course is signal , not surprisingly, that Labour won’t be jumping ship before the election.
It also focuses the mind on where exactly this could help and also Labours chances. For Labour thoughts are with saving as many seats as possible.They will be hoping that in Dublin constituencies they outpoll the second Fine Gael candidate (or single FG candidate in some constituencies) and manage to get enough transfers to hold on. A big ask in that they will be hoping that there will be no other FG candidate left looking for the transfers. Similarly of course it can benefit Fine Gael but will mainly benefit them outside of Dublin.
Looking at just Dublin will Eric Byrne be ahead of Catherine Byrne in Dublin South Central. In Dublin Central will it be Paschal Donohue or Joe Costello that gets the benefit of the pact. Will Kevin Humphreys be ahead of the second FG candidate Kate O’Connell in Dublin Bay South? Dun Laoghaire Carrie Smyth or Maria Bailey. Dublin Rathdown Alex White or a second FG candidate. The big one for Labour in Dublin West can Joan Burton hold on with the help of Catherine Noones transfers? In Dublin South West can Fine Gael take a seat or second seat with the help of Labour transfers. Dublin Mid West is another one (although Labour already running two here scuppers their chances). Dublin Bay North can Aodhan O’Riordan take enough FG transfers to hold on or will FG still need them? Dublin North West they will be hoping FG transfers might help John Lyons. Dublin Fingal is another where Labour will be hoping to benefit from the pact.
The above shows how much on a knife edge many Labour seats are. Of course too they have to get enough votes in the first place for the pact to benefit them. It also shows how they will be dependent on the performance of Fine Gael

Some more candidates for The Social Democrats September 4, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

Some interesting candidates announced today by The Social Democrats.
Bios of their candidates so far are here
Cllr Gary Gannon will run in Dublin Central. A tough constituency with just 3 seats but has a slight chance.
Senator James Heffernan in Limerick County. Polled well but missed out when running for Labour in 2011. With Dan Neville retiring there may be an opportunity for him to win the seat.
Niall O’Thuathail in Galway- West/ South Mayo. He was the organiser of the Yes Equality campaign in Galway.. A highly competitive constituency but again if the party gains in popularity he may be in with a chance.
Sarah Jane Hennelly in Limerick City. She previously ran in the Local Elections in Limerick City East polling 467 votes.
Anne-Marie McNally in Dublin Mid West. Dublin Mid West could have quite a turnover in TDs. She should have a chance.

Quite a decent line up, You’d wonder who else they have lined up?

It’s going to be one hell of an Election !!!!

A Polarised Electorate? September 4, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

In our electoral system transfers play a huge part. In 2011 for many it was a vote to not just get rid of Fianna Fail and The Greens from Government but to punish them. Fianna Fail were transfer toxic. In places like Cork East Fianna Fail should have won seats but didn’t. They got a decent first preference but not enough transfers to push them over the line.
What was noticeable in the Local and European Elections was not alone how much the Labour vote had gone down but also how few transfers they got. Fine Gael and The Greens were the only parties that transferred in any significant manner to Labour.
In the comments recently in relation to recent by-elections Liberius noted how

60.7% of Kathleen Funchion’s votes went Non-transferable against 61.21% of McMahon and Keane’s votes going non-transferable; the other 13.5% went to Cathal King.

Incidentally, the number of Funchion votes that went non-transferable was less than her number of FPVs; 9,977 and 10,806. While the number of non-transferable votes from McMahon and Keane exceeded their FPVs; 4452 and 4252.

In relation to Funchions vote in the General Election she had 7,091 votes when eliminated. Of them only 2,334 (33%) were non transferable. 29.5% went to Labour, 17% to FF and 20% to FG.
In The by-election 16% transferred to FG and 22% to FF. The rest was non transferable. I know Labour were out of the race at that stage, but I suspect that there is a distinct chasm between Labour/FG and FF (and Renua) on one side and everyone else on the other.
On the other side in Dublin South West where the two remaining ‘Right Wing’ candidates Ronan McMahon and Cait Keane were eliminated just 13.5% went to Sinn Fein and 25% to Paul Murphy of the AAA. So over 60% of their votes were non transferable.

In The Longford Westmeath By -Election over 58% of the Sinn Fein votes were non transferable. Paul Hogan was eliminated with just the FG and FF candidates remaining. In the second Dublin West By Election when Paul Donnelly of Sinn Fein was eliminated and Ruth Coppinger and David McGuinness of FF remained only 34% of votes were non transferable.

Interestingly in the Roscommon South Leitrim by-election at the end of all the counts less than 20% of votes were non transferable. This primarily as it was an Independent candidate in Michael Fitzmaurice that lasted until the final count and was elected. Independents seem to straddle the Left/Right polarisation that is evident. Indeed Labour managed to win a number of seats in 2011 because their transfer appeal was so broad.

How will this polarisation manifest itself in the General Election?
Well it means less votes will ultimately get a person elected without reaching the quota. I suspect this may benefit Fianna Fail , Sinn Fein and may also end up saving a Labour seat or two.
Re Sinn Fein, where previously Sinn Fein would have been transfer toxic, now FF,FG and Labour are transfer toxic too. In 2011 Larry O’Toole and John Brady among other SF candidates lost out because they were transfer toxic.
There will be more Independents elected, not just because of the increased popularity of Independents (incidentally that is a slight myth as Inds got 12% in 2011 and currently stand at 15%, it’s the Left and the new parties that account for most of the Ind/Others growth) but as mentioned previously Independents have a broad transfer appeal. As one Independent standing in the next general election told me “all we need now is enough votes to stay in for transfers“……
We’ll see

This Week At Irish Election Literature September 4, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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Starting off this week with a Rugby World Cup Fixture Guide from Neale Richmond of Fine Gael

Then a Birmingham Six Committee Newsletter 15th July 1990

Two leaflets from Independent candidates that will be contesting the next General Election, Des Guckian in Sligo Leitrim and Barbara Smyth in Longford Westmeath

1998 report on the launch of The Immigration Control Platform in Ennis September 3, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

Though this might be of interest a 1998 report of the launch of The Immigration Control Platform in Ennis.



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