Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Most likely big fallers: TDs on Saturday, MLAs in May?

Thu 24 February 2011, 12:23am

The late Alex Higgins played a famous frame that highlighted his particular genius. In it, he played shots that nudged other balls into positions whose advantages only became clear much later in the frame (one on the green stood out). In 1963, Seán Lemass’s Fianna Fáil government repealed aspects of the 1923 Electoral Abuses Act with the effect that removing sitting TDs from office has largely only been possible in a general election (this also enabled the fabrications of the Charles Haughey-directed anti-Labour campaign in 1969). Although the Fianna Fáil-Green coalition government is facing electoral meltdown, the retirement of so many big hitters may deprive us of the obligatory Portillo moments that add some extra fun to the declarations.

However, given where they are polling, there will still be enough government TDs losing seats to keep even the most vindictive amused. As it stands, all the Greens may be gone with only Trevor Sargent being given a realistic chance of survival. So those who dislike na Glasraí should probably tune in to the Dublin South East declarations to see John Gormley’s personal exit, although Paul Gogarty may provide better dramatics.

On the Fianna Fáil benches there will no longer be a Haughey as the parliamentary dynasty is predicted to end with Charlie’s son Sean’s defeat in Dublin North Central. A number of the multi-portfolio ministers are also facing defeats, particularly Pat Carey, and it seems almost definite that at least one of Barry Andrews and Mary Hanafin will not be returned by the good burghers of Dun Laoghaire. Mary O’Rourke and her nephews are also believed to be in varying depths of trouble, while even the loss of Mary Coughlan in Donegal South West is not being ruled out.

If the systematic trashing of his election posters is anything to go by, Dick Roche, erstwhile minister for various things, is in trouble in Wicklow. To date, he’s had various changes added, such as variants on ‘IMF Traitor’, his head has been cut out from posters (Shillelagh), his ‘Vote No.1 Dick Roche’ modified to ‘Dick’ (along the N11 ), ‘Cock Roche’ (various) and more politely ‘Vote No Dick Roche’ (Greystones, of course) amongst others. If he loses, it probably will not be pretty.

What would be my personal favourite probably won’t happen. Willie O’Dea, a recent beneficiary of Lemass’s far-sighted electoral reform has been rumoured, on and off, to be at risk of getting the back of the Limerick electorate’s hand. I’m sure Sinn Féin’s Ard Comhairle might even trade 2 or 3 seats to see Maurice Quinlivan take the last seat ahead of O’Dea (no doubt the whole count centre may break into song).

With more electoral contests on the way in a couple of months, it may be time to shift attention back north and start guessing as to who may be watching this weekends counts with a bit of trepidation. At the same time, is any MLA of note at serious risk of losing their assembly seat???

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Comments (40)

  1. fitzjameshorse1745 (profile) says:

    I think we can all expect several Portillo moments on Saturday. Certainly I will shed no tears for the Vegetables but if Gogarty brings his teddy bear, I will be happy.
    That woman from Carlow….Mary White…..might brighten my evening and of course Gormley will be the star turn.
    But I think the Greens can do “dignity” and claim to have been on the high moral ground.
    Fianna Fáil will give me more amusement but I actually like Pat Carey and David Andrews….so I will be relying on Willie O’Dea (but I have a suspicion he might sneak in and do a gloating interview about how the Media wrote him off), Sean Haughey……and the Marys Hannifin, Coughlan and O’Rourke….and of course Dick Roche. The speeches will range from the dignified “the people have spoken” to the defiant and even unpleasant. O’Rourkes exit speech/interview could be good television.

    With presumably some count centres counting several constituencies, and large numbers of candidates, tally men, supporters, journos……and the volatile and vitriolic campaign….I expect fisticuffs to be reported.
    Could make good clips on You Tube.

    Too soon to say much about the North. And relunctant to “Name that MLA”. I expect………qualifying this as usual with a statement that I have not yet made an analysis……that few seats will actually change hands.
    Perhaps someone will make a big mistake over vote management and get squeezed out by a lesser known newcomer from same Party.
    But the comparative end of double-jobbing has robbed us of many “big names” such as Simpson, Shannon, McCrea, Long, Durkan, Paisley and (for different reason) Adams.
    Thus the newcomers who replaced them are not so well known and MIGHT be more vulnerable than better known MLAs. Theres a couple of young DUP people who are just too smug looking.
    So defining a “big name” who can provide a Portillo or Peter Robinson moment. The only vulnerable Minister is McGimpsey.
    There is only one vulnerable but uppity MLAs Id love to see the back of…….but naming him would be bad luck (for me). Id hate to see him re-elected.
    On the other hand theres a few middle ranking MLAs who are vulnerable…but I have nothing especially against them. Indeed Im supportive of some. But this time I dont want to jinx THEM by naming them.

    What do you think?
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  2. Behaner (profile) says:

    ‘This also enabled the fabrications of the Charles Haughey-directed anti-Labour campaign in 1969.’-

    The left in labour were savaged by the right in labour,as far back as 1969.Conor cruise launched an unmerciful campaign from within against elements that supported the irish(regular),and irish irregular armies crossin the border to support the nationalist community in the late sixties and early seventies.Indeed,former trinity college professor and eccentric Labour TD David Thornley,was savaged by the right wing in labour after he stood on a platform in 1972 alongside maire comerford and called for the release of sean mac stiofain.You can bet your last green euro,or your last silver dollar,or your last red cent that ‘republican sinn fein(no pun intended)leader gerry abba adams wil not be callin for the release of anybody if he gets ‘into the dail’,where the fianna failers are waitin,as the opposition,who no longer have much use for the amateur posterolagy crap that sinn fein believe to be ‘part 72.99.09.11 of the masterplan 4 unity,which incidentally,has lead to nothin but chaos an fraction.No,gerry will wail for a salary cap.

    ‘With more electoral contests on the way in a couple of months, it may be time to shift attention back north and start guessing as to who may be watching this weekends counts with a bit of trepidation. At the same time, is any MLA of note at serious risk of losing their assembly seat?

    How can an independent socialist apply to stand in the forthcoming elections in the ‘six’ on may the ‘fifth’,say like a dubliner,stand in the shankill road,as an indo.Is it necessary to be ‘registered’ in norn ireland?

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  3. Behaner (profile) says:

    On the Fianna Fáil benches there will no longer be a Haughey as the parliamentary dynasty is predicted to end with Charlie’s son Sean’s defeat in Dublin North Central.

    Oligarichyism is alive an well in the south,isn’t one of devs makin a stand for oirland?Aherinism was lookin quite smug on the ned stapleton tv vatican station,aka,RTE,last night as celia,berts bit of extra,redefined the entire meaning of Larkinism.Just as Eoin Harris,redefined the entire theory of isms and schisms,and reduced Connollyism into Higginism.

    Lenihanism,Ahernism,Mickism,Devism,and now Dunphyism
    is spreadin’.I dont mean that metaka47phoricl=lyhehehe,a strain of the virus called metaka47phoricl=lyheheheism,but the real deal.Not Giloism,But eamoism.

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  4. joeCanuck (profile) says:

    is any MLA of note at serious risk of losing their assembly seat???

    Ha ha, John; it’s the way you tell them. Asses donkeys, should have no fear.

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  5. is any MLA of note at serious risk of losing their assembly seat??

    You mean, as a result of Sinn Fein’s expected success?

    My hunch says no; but Liam Clarke, writing for the Bel Tel, suggests that the SDLP could suffer as a result.

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  6. John Ó Néill (profile) says:

    Seymour – I was thinking generally – I assume that boundary changes are going to mean a few people lose their big salaries opportunity to represent their community. But is anyone expecting more East Belfast style results in May?

    Behaner – you could check out the Electoral Office NI webpages for more information.

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  7. Drumlins Rock (profile) says:

    The triple jobing DUP Councillor, Chief Whip, Lord and former snowman in Fermangh South Tyrone is feeling the heat I believe :)

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  8. Mark (profile) says:

    John ,

    Jimmy White 82 semi final …never forget it ..

    John , Richie Boyd – Barrett handed me a flyer this morning on my way to work . Any thoughts on how he is percieved outside Dublin ? Do you think he has a chance ….

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  9. Behaner (profile) says:

    John,G.R.M.A.-

    mark,imperialist socialism as advocated by dear rich rich,is eh imperialist socialism as advocated by dear rich rich,is eh imperialist socialism as advocated by dear rich rich,is eh imperialist socialism as advocated by dear rich rich,is eh imperialist socialism as advocated by dear rich rich,is eh imperialist socialism as advocated by dear rich rich,is eh imperialist socialism as advocated by richard the 1 of the profit before people,pfp/ula=a kin 2 ring road socialism=dublin ring road,belfast ring road=limerick slums outside of limerick ring road=imperialist socialism as advocated by dear rich rich,is eh imperialist socialism as advocated by dear rich rich,is eh imperialist socialism as advocated by dear rte ned stapleton stockin and footie journo eamain dumpty,aka millwall socialist supported by the entire political establishment=mediator 4 (to be cont….

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  10. John Ó Néill (profile) says:

    Mark – I’m sure RBB makes the conservative hairs stand up on the back of rural necks – they may well lump him and the likes of Vincent Salafia into a broad group of protest kids who try and interfer with their countryside etc. At the same time, a lot of urbanites retch at idea of Lowry and another Healy-Rae in the Dail. Boyd-Barrett is seemingly home and dry (if the pundits are to be believed).

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  11. Tochais Síoraí (profile) says:

    Some big FFers escaped the noose by walking, I’d love to have seen B Ahern sweat. Of those who stayed Mansergh, Roche and Conor Lenihan are struggling badly and all could three could lose.

    Wille O Dea and Micheal Martin are safe but Brian Lenihan could provide the Portillo monent and it might get a bit ropey for Mary Coughlan as well.

    Re Greens, the surprises will be if any hang on. Ryan and Sargent might, Gormley is toast.

    Big names to go in the assembly elections? Bar bestiality videos on youtube I doubt it.

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  12. Tochais Síoraí (profile) says:

    John O, Boyd Barrett would have got in a few weeks ago, but his star is falling. Should have stayed away from Vincent Browne.

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  13. J Kelly (profile) says:

    Pol Callaghan must be on shaky ground in Derry up against young Durkan, Colm Eastwood and Pat Ramsey. Pat Sheehan should be safe will Conal McDevitt be safe enough.

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  14. Behaner (profile) says:

    All jokes aside Ui Neill,seanie,it’d b interestin 2 see a candidate from MOYROSS,standin agin the politicos in the town of rathenraw r n the upper BanH,or a independent real real life of briananer standing toe 2 right elbow wit the foot and two fingers cumon up 2 shankill 4 democratic representation 4 ballymuns uncle in ballinacurra

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  15. Mark (profile) says:

    John,

    Richie was always as rebel without a cause and even growing up , he had a novel way of fund raising . He’d arrive at the bus stop outside St Michael’s College in his tonic suit and spats ( mid 80′s all the rage , paul weller wannabe ) and bet the lads he’d eat anything . So the boys would pick up some chewing gum and spit on it , stamp on it ( one lad from wicklow did something I won’t mention here ) and then Richie would eat it and get his bus fair for his trip home . They weren’t the only trips Richie took ……

    Fair play to him though and fair play to Barry Andrews aswell for bucking the trend and playing soccer and not rugby in Blackrock College ..He fancied himself as a bit of a Jimmy Rimmer ….but was a little slow coming off his line…still he’ll have plenty of time to practice now that he’ll be on the dole next week – sorry Barry , Rock boys are we , our title is our glory , fearless and bold ……,

    Paul Summerville was a great little footballer …and wore a suit well even back then …Holly Park rules OK Paul …

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  16. redhugh78 (profile) says:

    Don’t forget the gombeen man John O Donoghue.

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  17. Behaner (profile) says:

    richard the 1,laird of the blackrock leftist association has fought a gallant fight 4 books 4 the educated-class and is the equal of former revolutionary and iconic figure of That Seventies Show rte journo charles bird,aka,ned stapleton cuman,who was called an orange bastard,ironically,5 years ago wen luv ulstterittes trampled down sackville street in a unified march of the OOO aka kKk called Love Ulster,aka kincora boyz homophobics society

    imperialist socialism as advocated by dear rich rich,advocates a big hug 4 the queen on her next trip to dublin,meanwhile on planet eire richard the 1,laird of the blackrock leftist association has fought a gallant fight 4 books 4 the educated-class and is the equal of former revolutionary and iconic figure of That Seventies Show rte journo charles bird,aka,ned stapleton cuman,who was called an orange bastard richard the 1,laird of the blackrock leftist association has fought a gallant fight 4 books 4 the educated-class and is the equal of former revolutionary and iconic figure of That Seventies Show rte journo charles bird,aka,ned stapleton cuman,who was called an orange bastardrichard the 1,laird of the blackrock leftist association has fought a gallant fight 4 books 4 the educated-class and is the equal of former revolutionary and iconic figure of That Seventies Show rte journo charles bird,aka,ned stapleton cuman,who was called an orange bastard again recently ata pubic meetin-spot for grown ups

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  18. Behaner (profile) says:

    Don’t forget the gombeen man John O Donoghue.

    We Won’t.

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  19. cynic49 (profile) says:

    Read somewhere that DUP fielding three candidates in Strangford but they presently hold four seats. What’s that about? Might be because big hitter Iris is gone. Some bright young thing could bite the dust there. Could Farry be a victim of the APNI being too clever for their own good in North Down. Will Mc Farland prove he has a personal following and hold his seat? Could TUV and UKIP have any knock on affect for the complacent and totally ego centred DUP champions of North Down? Suddenly facing the prospect of possible redundancy from my own gainful employment doesn’t seem so daunting. A problem shared and all that!

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  20. fitzjameshorse1745 (profile) says:

    With respect to McFarland and Farry they are hardly big names in the accepted “Portillo moment” sense of the word.And outside the rarified atmosphere of political websites and North Down are relatively unknown.
    But North Down will be interesting in that up to four candidates (2 AP….1 Green….1 Independent) are looking for at best three “moderate” seats. A fifth (unless a Quango-esque job looms) may also enter the fight.

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  21. Peter Robinson will go down as MLA, as his East Belfast supporters have stopped voting for any politicians. I got the same reaction when canvassing there as the Alliance canvassers did last year.

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  22. Frame (profile) says:

    Boyd Barrett isn’t looking good especially with Ivana Bacik on the Labour ticket.

    Support for oppressive Arab regimes, and more and more public spending is not so popular or credible this year.

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  23. EdgarDavids (profile) says:

    Given the so called most unpopular Fianna Fail party ever is expected still to get more seats than the most popular ever Sinn Fein Party maybe FF should run for the assembly and then we’d see shocks galore. Especially given how annoyed many northerners are at a series of devastating DUP/SF cuts up at Stormont!

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  24. fitzjameshorse1745 (profile) says:

    Outlandish predictions is not something regular Sluggerites do very often. Hostages to fortune. As a general rule we cover ourselves in “qualification”.
    I find Mr Newmans prediction that Peter Robinson will lose his seat in East Belast as refreshing and a “keeper”. We should revisit this on the day of the count.

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  25. Drumlins Rock (profile) says:

    Edgar, think if even I saw FF on the ballot paper I would vote for SF in front of them, saying that they are in many ways cut from the same cloth.
    Dave, the idea of Pete going down in East Belfast would be sweet indeed, but unlikely I guess.

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  26. Rocketeer (profile) says:

    What do people make of Peter Robinson’s chances? His recent behaviour has impressed many: his vote for the Westminster election was still quite considerable in spite of the loss so he should make it home with no real trouble…I would imagine so anyway.

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  27. Barry the Blender (profile) says:

    Peter Robinson polled about 2 and a half quotas worth of votes so he should be safe enough. One of his running mates ( a minister and a Lord) may not be so lucky.

    However someone made the point up thread that Robinson (allegedly) has been impressive lately it may be enough to save them there.

    A lot of it comes down to how much Naomi’s vote was a protest really.

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  28. EdgarDavids (profile) says:

    Drumlins Rock, Really? I’m surprised. If you’re wanting to select a republican party why not pick the sane FF over the far far far left SF party!?

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  29. Mark McGregor (profile) says:

    I’m not well enough placed to call any potential shock losses in the south.

    I don’t think we’ll see any heavey hitter go down in the north but reckon on at least 9 seats changing hands:

    South Belfast – SDLP loss, McDevitt.
    West Belfast – SF loss (any one of three)
    East Antrim – UUP loss
    North Antrim – SDLP loss
    FST – SDLP loss
    LV – SF loss
    Strang – DUP loss
    E Tyrone – Ind and DUP losses

    With the gains going:

    S Belfast – DUP
    W Belfast – DUP
    E Antrim – SF
    North Antrim – TUV
    FST – SF
    LV – UUP
    Strang – SDLP
    E Tyrone – UUP & SDLP

    So overall pretty close to as you were.

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  30. Greenflag (profile) says:

    ‘So overall pretty close to as you were.’

    They’ll not be saying that on Saturday evening in Dublin . Nor at the next election in maybe a years time .

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  31. fitzjameshorse1745 (profile) says:

    Anything you all say will be taken down so to speak.
    Bit confused about Mark McGregors prediction in FST (obviously E Tyrone is W Tyrone).

    But if SDLP lose a seat to SF in FST, this indicates McHugh would keep a seat?
    So.
    South Belfast…..DUP gain from SDLP
    West Belfast……DUP gain from SF
    East Antrim…..SF gain from UUP
    N Antrim……..TUV gain from SDLP
    FST……………SF gain from SDLP

    Lagan Valley…..UUP gain from SF
    Strangford…….SDLP gain from DUP
    West Tyrone…..SDLP & UUP gain from Ind & DUP
    That would mean
    DUP……no change
    SF……no change
    AP……no change
    TUV……plus 1
    UUP……plus 1
    SDLP….minus1
    Ind ……..minus 1 (W Tyrone)

    Certainly possible. And Mark McGregor is right (no big hitters). Things will be fairly stable so only a big hitter that messes up the vote management can fall.
    Yet I cant see AP ending up on same figure (certainly possible)
    And I cant see UUP actually making a net gain or SDLP making a net loss.
    But far too early to say. But fair play to Mark McGregor for sticking his neck out.
    Although Id suggest it would make a better thread if Predictions were made now……with the chance to update them……on a fortnightly basis.

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  32. John Ó Néill (profile) says:

    Mark McG – I’d add one gain (not sure whose loss it is, probably SDLP) – Foyle: Eamon McCann, MLA. I’ll put my case closer to the time….

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  33. Brian Boru (profile) says:

    This is what the Irish Daily Mail is saying, from FG internal polling:

    - Laois-Offaly to be only 2-seat FF constituency. But second seat “shaky”
    - To lose seats: Sean Haughey, Pat Carey, JOD, Dick Roche, Barry Andrews, Billy Kelleher, Bobby Aylward, Brendan Smith, Michael Mulcahy, Michael Moynihan,
    - Brian Lenihan “hanging on by fingertips” in Dublin West).
    - Mary Hanafin and Mary Coughlan “fighting for their political-lives”.
    - Sargent and Ryan to hold seats.
    - With CC, 82 would be sufficient for a working-majority. FG-Greens would have majority of 4.

    Hard to call constituencies:
    - Wexford hard to card because of Mick Wallace candidacy (Ind).
    - Carlow-Kilkenny hard to call because of “potential for geographical-voting across party lines”.
    - “Hard to know” if Aine Brady will hold on in Kildare North.
    - DL. “Fine Gael now believe their second candidate, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, will take the final seat at the expense of the ULA’s Richard Boyd Barrett”.

    On the credibility of the research:

    “But analysts from other parties have always acknowledged the accuracy of the tallies, which are based on national and local opinion polls, bookies’ odds, private local tracking polls and reactions on the doorstep.”

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  34. Barry the Blender (profile) says:

    I’ve composed a list of vulnerable seats by constituency. Not naming names or making predictions, but these will be the battleground in May I think.

    Belfast:
    EB: DUP, PUP
    NB: UUP
    SB: SDLP or SF (no change a distinct possibility)
    WB: Not convinced there will be a change

    North East:
    EA: UUP
    NA: SDLP (near certainty)
    SA: SDLP
    LV: SF (near certainty)

    South East:
    ST: DUP (near certainty)
    ND: UUP, Green
    SD: UUP or DUP

    South:
    UB: UUP
    N&A: Probably no change here

    West:
    FST: SDLP
    MU: None
    WT: DUP (near certainty), Ind, (SF are chancing their arm running 4)

    North West:
    FO: No likely change
    EL: 3rd DUP (but no coherent challenger, UUP in shambles)

    (Sorry about the formating , some a appear deviated to the right but I don’t know why)

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  35. Jud (profile) says:

    Folks,

    I’m trying to figure out how best to follow things remotely (i.e. via the internet in North America).

    Can I assume everything will be speculation until Saturday morning, or will there be exit polls etc to follow through the day on Friday and after the polls close?

    Once Saturday does come around will we see a roll-out of results starting at 9am GMT? If so when do you think the final picture will be available?

    Apart from the usual suspects (Slugger, RTE etc) what will you be using to follow the incoming picture?

    Thanks…

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  36. Mark (profile) says:

    As long as you don’t listen to Edgardavids , you’ll be grand Jud .

    GreenFlag reckons luchtime saturday which probably means saturday morning for you .

    If Richie gets in , hide the bubblegum .

    If Ming gets in, give Cheech and Chong a shout and tell them to hurry up .

    If Eoghan Harris is still alive , send over Tony Soprano !!

    Luchtime Jud Luchtime , which is dinner hour in Irishtown and me break in Ringsend …

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  37. Mark (profile) says:

    Hey Edgar ,

    You’ll be back doing Tupper Ware parties next week , don’t worry !

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  38. Mark McGregor (profile) says:

    Jud,

    politics.ie will be frantic but the best place to follow everything.

    The first sensible exit poll is tomorrow at 9am from RTE. From not long after tallies will be released which should give a good idea of broadbrush breakdown. Good amount of results by late Sat. Most by late Sun and it will run into the middle of next week for the final few.

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  39. Charminator (profile) says:

    SDLP losses in South Belfast and FST on the cards – can’t see McDevitt keeping his seat, and certainly not Gallagher in FST given the ‘Fragile’ McKinney stunt last year.
    Any ‘Portillo moments’…. Not likely, though it would be nice to see Peter Robinson lose his MLA seat as well. Alas, we can always dream.

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  40. RyanA (profile) says:

    My predictions for Assembly 2011

    Belfast
    East – DUP 3 looks very vunerable to alliance, but real casualty here could be Purvis as her and PUP are fighting each other for just under 3000 votes from 2007, and DUP have also selected a candidate who will probably steal away from those votes too in Sammy Douglas

    North – Expect UUP to be eclipsed by DUP, but with no big hitter in Dodds on the paper, more unlikely. SF could probably get a third seat here based on 2010 figures, although will be testing them to the limit.

    South – Better DUP balancing will probably knock out SDLP 2 or Maskey. Probably Maskey as he rarely barely attracts 100+ transfers throughout the whole count.

    West – Probably no change, but SF set themselves a high bench mark here in 2007 and with no Adams on the ticket they have a fight on their hands to keep seat number five.

    East Antrim – DUP playing with fire with four candidates, although worth a shot as the UUP have no chance whatsoever of holding there second seat with the entriely nationalist glens being moved into the constituency. They will probably lose to either SDLP or DUP.

    South Antrim – SDLP expected to loose a seat to either DUP 3 or UUP 2 as a result of new boundaries, although it will be SF who will feel the biggest dent in their vote as territory has been lost to North Belfast.

    North Antrim – TUV/DUP 4 take SDLP seat for certain.

    Lagan Valley – SF lose to either DUP 4/ TUV / UUP 2 … Going from most to least likely

    South Down – Second Unionist seat looking vunerable to SDLP, If Ruane is first shinner home and dry i would be shocked

    Strangford – Alliance weakened, SDLP strengthened marginally enough to probably make a difference. UUP could take from DUP although unlikely as Irisgate is blown over

    North Down – Everyone knows theres no use analysing this constituency as it always bucks the trend and will probably continue to do so for years to come …

    What do you think?
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