The late Alex Higgins played a famous frame that highlighted hisÂ 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 In 1963, SeĂĄnÂ Lemass’s Fianna FĂĄil government repealed aspects of the 1923 Electoral Abuses Act with the effect thatÂ removing sitting TDs from office has largely only been possible in a general election (this alsoÂ enabled the fabrications of theÂ CharlesÂ Haughey-directedÂ anti-Labour campaign in 1969).Â Although theÂ Fianna FĂĄil-Green coalition government isÂ facing electoral meltdown, the retirement of so many big hitters may deprive us ofÂ the obligatory Portillo moments that add some extra fun to the declarations.
However, givenÂ whereÂ they are polling,Â there will stillÂ 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 GlasraĂ should probably tune in to the Dublin South East declarations to see John Gormley’s personalÂ exit, although Paul Gogarty may provide better dramatics.
On the Fianna FĂĄil benches there will no longer be a Haughey as the parliamentaryÂ 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 thatÂ at least one ofÂ Barry AndrewsÂ 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 ofÂ Mary Coughlan in Donegal South West is not being ruled out.
If the systematic trashing ofÂ his election postersÂ is anything to go by, Dick Roche, erstwhile minister for various things, is in trouble in Wicklow. To date, he’s had variousÂ changes added, such as variants onÂ ’IMF Traitor’,Â his head has beenÂ cut out from posters (Shillelagh),Â his ‘Vote No.1 Dick Roche’ modified to ‘Dick’ (along the N11 ), ‘Cock Roche’ (various)Â 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,Â to be at risk of getting the back of the Limerick electorate’s hand. I’m sure Sinn FĂ©in’sÂ Ard ComhairleÂ might evenÂ 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 guessingÂ as toÂ who may be watchingÂ this weekends counts with a bit of trepidation. At the same time, is any MLA ofÂ note at serious risk of losingÂ their assembly seat???
Region: Ireland, Northern Ireland
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