Into the last week of #GE16 and momentum is with Independents and Fianna Fail…

By the end of this week, the election will have run its full course. And yet it’s clear that the journalists are suffering that usual sense you get in Irish elections that they’re getting shut out of a conversation they aren’t privy to…

 

Another of these surprising constituency polls (-/+5%) came out in the week suggesting that Sinn Fein’s Chris Andrews (former FF) is running second in Dublin Bay South whilst the Green Party is struggling to get traction.

Fine Gael’s Eoghan Murphy is leading the race on 20pc, followed by former Fianna Fáil TD Chris Andrews (17pc), who is now running for Sinn Féin.

Ms Creighton is then on 13pc alongside Labour Party minister Kevin Humphreys, while Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan is on 11pc and Ms O’Connell is on 10pc.

Then a whole bunch of polls came this weekend, all of which were so diverse (yet within the general margin of error) as to be of little use in figuring what’s going to happen next Friday, with the possible exception of this evening’s from the Irish Times.

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The don’t know the figure is particularly high at 19%, but so too is the independents and small parties rating.  The independent figure is as large as Fine Gael’s which the real problem for the outgoing senior government party.

Even before this poll was published Eoghan Harris devoted his column to the matter (and trying to micromanage the voters of Dublin Bay South away from Sinn Fein)…

How did Fine Gael get it so wrong? It has six well- paid handlers, twice that of Fianna Fail. But it was Fianna Fail’s tiny team of Sean Dorgan, Deirdre Gillane and Pat McParland who found the public pulse.

But the burden of blame belongs to the FG handlers who last October made the delinquent decision to target Micheal Martin rather than Gerry Adams. Stupid, too, because it pitted Enda Kenny against Micheal Martin, the most accomplished debater in Dail Eireann.

It is of course only one poll, but given the frigidity of Fianna Fail’s polling figures, a 4% rise (in Ipsos MRBI) over the campaign suggests that the aggression towards Fianna Fail of the 2011 election is slowly giving way to something rather more cordial on the doorsteps.

The worst news is probably Labour’s since they’ve been getting well below the 10% that would see them remain close to their historical territory.  If the poll on Friday remains anything like this, Dublin will be an utter bloodbath for them.

On 15% Sinn Fein’s figure is an outlier. But in terms of the Ipsos MRBI poll, this is the lowest they’ve polled since just after the 2011 election. Labour, of course, offers plenty of pickings of course and they should see a number of new faces through.

The polling still suggests no massive breakthrough into a commanding position. If momentum does lie with Fianna Fail they come from such a low base it’s hard to see how they have yet been forgiven sufficiently to be allowed to run the country again.

But if you are going to make a break, then the beginning of the last week is probably the very best time to do it.

So, why is it happening?

I disagree with the line that Micheal Martin has been the only front man in this campaign. His debating skills – which for a northern or overseas listener may be hard to follow at times – have been a banker in the set pieces.

But by filtering in new voices like Jim O’Callaghan and Jack Chambers and the proofing of Michael McGrath in electoral combat with Leo Veradkar Fianna Fail has teased voters for the first time with a sense of what might be on offer after the election.

But there are two areas in which FF may prove to be fitter than previously expected.

One is the classic old ground war campaign. If you were once big, and then are suddenly made small by the electorate overnight, then you do your damnedest to keep what remains of your organisation focused and in play.

Fianna Fail has not made the SDLP’s elemental mistake of believing they were too big good to fail.

As an example it’s probably only the residual size of the local machine that’s rendered them capable of squeezing enough hard to find voters to sneak a seat in large rural constituencies like Kerry.

The other is that Martin has done little other than drill his relatively tiny parliamentary cohort of troops in the minutiae of a vast range of policy issues, from political reform (which notably hasn’t featured in this campaign) to perceived weak points on issues like health and water charges.

This has often been to the utter boredom of the political press. The health report was nearly a year late and had many of the press corps questioning its value. Yet it forced an abandonment by the government of their Dutch model of universal care via insurance. The effect has been to reverse the dynamic in that particular debate.

The effect has been to reverse the dynamic in that particular debate. But he’s been lucky too.

An armed robbery in the first week of the campaign was an unexpected gift to Martin who has been teeing up the issue of justice over the last three or four years primarily as a key differentiator between Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein.

It came as an added bonus that the news flows of that week put FF directly in between SF and FG allowing them to punch both ways without breaking a sweat. And to be honest they haven’t looked back since.

All of that said, there is only one poll that matters…

 

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  • John

    Just listening to Gerry Adams on RTE radio here. The new breed of shinners are ruining their reputation and hope of success in the future by still be associated with this man. He is a bumbling wreck here. Adequate at bluffing his way around sectarian issues and issues of the conflict but when it comes to real issues he his all over the place.

  • JohnTheOptimist

    If the polls are correct (and who knows?), the electorate want an FG/FF coalition (or arrangement of some sort). They want a stable government that will pursue the sensible center-right economic policies that have made Ireland wealthy in the past half-century. They show no desire for any of the left-wing alternatives. Lab are imploding, SF have peaked and are on the way down. They must be gutted at the weekend polls, although only time will tell if they are accurate or not. The Soc Dems and various Trots are nowhere. The campaign to finger those who didn’t pledge to ‘Repeal the 8th’ or support a state takeover of the school system has flopped. The total Left vote (even including dubiously SF and the Greens) is under 30 per cent in today’s IT poll. This after the worst global recession since the 1930s.

    Given that the polls tend to underestimate FF, I don’t totally rule out FF being larger than FG, and an FF/FG coalition rather than an FG/FF coalition. But, I’d be surprised if that happens, and an FG/FF one is more likely.

    I’d look forward to such a coalition. It would be totally stable for 5 years, pursuing sound economic policies, with no pressure from the now-deceased Lab part to introduce abortion-on-demand or a state takeover of the school system. Given the economic outlook, it would have an excellent chance of re-election in 2021.

    Of course, it is possible that one or the other of FG and FF refuse to go along and would prefer a period of instability rather than a coalition with their historic rival. Fine, if that’s what they want. But, let there be no doubt that the one that doesn’t play along will get hammered in the subsequent election later this year.

  • mickfealty

    A period of instability would not necessarily be damaging, so long as it didn’t continue for too long. My understanding is that failure to form a government would mean that the current government continues in a caretaker role for months, even if it still contained people who had failed to get re-elected as TDs. [Though I’d very much welcome a good sanity check on that].

    Depending on how that plays out we could have another election as early as May in order to seek a clearer outcome. We might then expect a more concerted effort to try to force people off the independents fence. All hypothetical of course.

  • Charlie Farlie

    Mick, would be great to see further analysis of that news flow you mentioned in your last paragraph in the later stages of this election. In my opinion, the standard of political journalism regarding Sinn Fein over the last few weeks would make North Korean propaganda seem tame. Of course they are going to get things thrown at them more than others, but it is actually the glaring amount of statistical untruths that have been told, along with not so ambiguous linkages, that is worthy of study in its own right. ‘The role of the media in ensuring Sinn Fein did not take Government in the Rep of Ireland in 2016’ would make a fascinating research project. Now if only someone had time.

  • mickfealty

    Just heard Sean O’Rourke having to deny Mary Lou a final word against Simon Harris because of these rather machine like rules. It’s a poor formula, badly implemented. Not least when Harris can fit in three words for every one of Mary Lou’s. https://soundcloud.com/rtenews/taxes-charges-and-whingers

  • Robin Keogh

    It really is something to behold. There is a avalanche of Anti Sf propaganda streaming out of INM (no surprise) but RTE it seems have also been instructed to shut down on SF even the Iirsh Times are playing along to a lesser extent. Its hard to imagine in a modern progressive democracy that such blatant censorship and deliberate lies can be allowed to subvert the process of an election.

  • Robin Keogh

    Enda Gifted everyone a piece of priceless ammo yesterday when he accused those who complain about the recovery as being whingers, I am beginning to think that Kenny is actually heading the FF campaign team secretly. As for us poor batterred shinners, the polls have been crushing apart from the INM poll (ironically) I would love to think we are up at 19% but with four polls suggesting 15% and given the unrelenting smear and block outs, we will have to adjust our expectations. I have always held that 15% will give us the brekthrough we need to provide a hefty opposition in the Dail. If we end up at 12/13%; which is not impossible given the current media onslaught, we could be lucky to win between 18 and 20 seats.
    One saving grace might be the strength of leftie independents and others such as AA and PBP. Our guys and girls are in with a good shot of catching those transfers in many constituencies. In 2011 with 10% of the vote we took 14 seats, with decent transfers that could/should have been at least 16. If we land on 13% on Friday with good transfers we could end up on 22 seats.

  • mickfealty

    I thought so too, but Simon Harris (with some wind assistence from these new rules RTE management has imposed on their presenters) seemed to use it pretty well to lambast ‘recovery deniers on TodaySOR: https://soundcloud.com/rtenews/taxes-charges-and-whingers

    I think Eoghan Harris’s words have finally woken FG up to the fact that hammering a competent FF leader has done nothing but aid FF. Seemed to me they are finally going after the independent vote to tackle the instability problem which is more than likely what’s going to face the country after Friday.

    None of this is a terrible surprise. It’s a quagmire, just as the pollsters and others have been predicting for some time. The 1% drop in FG’s rating after the last giveaway budget was a flashing warning light on the dashboard. The underlying weakness of SF was also highlighted by the Red C poll director at the same time: http://goo.gl/LFCPXh.

    This phrase in particular stood out for me at the time:

    Back in December we were recording the highest levels of support seen for Sinn Fein in any RED C poll, reaching a high of 24% of the first preference vote. In today’s poll they secured just 16%, the worst level seen for the party since February 2014. That means that in effect the party has lost 8% support over the first 9 months of the year.

    That pattern has been lost in subsequent polls when SF appeared to return to strength, but as I had to explain endlessly to the sceptics on that thread, it was only pass remarkable at the time because of the trend over 11 months of previous polling. 15/6% seems about right to me. It’s roughly what the party got in the locals, and as you say it will see hefty returns in greater Dublin.

    And it is nearly 50% up from 2011. I’d suggest though that (events and the usual dirty tricks aside) whilst there’s something in this last week for FF, SF will be trying to stem any potential tide of sentiment away from them.

    They must be feeling now what it’s been like for FF for much of the last four to five years: ie, having to battle on several fronts at once. I suspect the pressure will come from different players in different constituencies: sometimes FF, sometimes smaller left parties and independents.

    As for FF the prize here is not government, but renewal. These newer candidates if they make it to TDs should give them a beachhead army with which to attack after the election over what should be a much narrower gap than during any part of this period of phony war or, ahem, interregnum.

    Gaining on FG will be their primary aim as it has been for most of the last five years. The secondary benefit is that the closer they get to FG the further they are likely to pull away from SF which ought to ease their particular multi front dilemma.

  • mickfealty

    RTE have a real problem, as outlined by that paper from Kevin Rafter. Last time out they oversupplied Labour and SF (in that order) with time, now they are cutting down on it. Brutally.

    But if you look at it from the other side, what it actually exposes is the poor use SF TDs are making of their time on air. As O’Rourke said to Adams in the heat of that gladiatorial battle last week “I’ll agree to listen if you promise not to waffle”.

    It’s the waffle that’s killing them, not just the new restrictions.

  • the keep

    Just as a matter of interest and I am interested in your opinion Robin if SF are hovering around the 15% mark during a time of great economic hardship which would you assume help them as a party of protest. Can you see them getting more popular in good economic times?

  • the keep

    That’s very true Mick I suspect if SF doesn’t make a break through this time some tough questions will be faced by the leadership.

  • mickfealty

    They should, but don’t hold your breath…

  • Robin Keogh

    I think there has been a growth in SF core vote from around 5% ten years ago to about 12% now. regardless of recovery FF FG and Lab seem to be systemically incapable of adjusting their economic policies in a way that provides sound public services including a functioning health system and an adequete social housing supply. We saw this during the celtic tiger years when the state was awash with money.

    The growth in Sinn Fein to date has only in part been driven by the profile of our national leadership. In my view most of it has been as a result of the changing view of yiur average shinner on the ground in communities all over the country. The Shinner described by the Independent news group bares no resemblence to the Shinner next door.

    But, it is difficult to fight back against media moguls like Dennis O’Brien who know their excessive, undemocratic and monoploistic control over Irish media will come to an end under a SF led government.

    I think our growth will continue based on the factors i have outlined above, especially the local touch. Slow growth is frustrating but its better than no growth.

  • Robin Keogh

    The 24% for SF at the height of the water campaign was an outlier. I dont think anybody believed we could seriously maintain that level. And with GA front and centre taking the hits, our other candidates are able to get on with the work on the ground. But if GA decides to call it a day say after the next Ass elections I would have hoped we would have a robust team in the Dail for the next locals.

    FF still have ghosts to contend with as shown by MM getting chased out of Crumlin yesterday. But momentum is with them at exactly the right time. I ‘m raging. Lol

  • Robin Keogh

    It depends Mick, do u not think the electorate would destroy whatever party causes a rerun?

  • the keep

    If Gerry steps down perhaps some of the tough questions can be avoided?

  • the keep

    “But, it is difficult to fight back against media moguls like Dennis O’Brien who know their excessive, undemocratic and monoploistic control over Irish media will come to an end under a SF led government.”
    Under a society were papers have freedom of expression what can SF do about it?
    The real issue is Gerry Adams he is the person holding you back because he represents what SF were typically about during the troubles rather MLM or Pearse who have a clean pair of hands and it is fair to say that Irish people have long memories and to many he represents a time better forgot.

  • Charlie Farlie

    Thats still the official line though Mick. That interview you speak off, Adams couldn’t get finishing one sentence. When outlining economic matters, it is important to not harangue the person trying to make a point. Even David McWilliams this morning, who stated himself is ‘no Shinner’ felt the frustration at Newstalk, for interrupting Gerry Adams 47 times! They have a clear policy of attempting to hang the stupid card around Adam’s neck. And your too politically astute Mick to not know what would have been required in negotiations and deliberation to take the Peace Process from its inception, to now and bring Republicanism with it. It certainly was not done by the hands of stupidity.

    INM are trying two stands of attack 1 – Make GA look as economically illiterate as possible by continually not letting him finish a sentence, and propagating it unsubtly throughout distribution. 2 – Historical Issues (this is the easy part for them).

    I would just like to see further analysis of this rather than just simply stating ‘he waffles’. Also, RTE may have given SF an oversupply of ‘time’ in the last election, however it was in the main negative and questionable. I do not believe that this is simply a case of SF playing the victim, it is very obvious even to those who don’t really like to admit it. The establishment are so afraid of them getting into power that subtlety and impartiality of the State broadcaster has gone out the window. The reality is that it is their tax policy more than anything that has them so anti-SF. They are petrified. Political commentators now need to start calling it what it is.

  • Robin Keogh

    Well its not a matter of intefering with freedom of expression. In fact, the outgoing government changed the law restricting the amount of control one individual or one organisation can have over irish media. However, for reasons unknown ( i.e Denis O Briens connections with FG maybe? ), the law was not structured ot act retrospectively, sinn Fein will rectify that and therein lies the reason for the outlandish lies and smear.

  • Robin Keogh

    Just realised that between 12 and 20 percent still undecided, still a lot to play for going to be fascinating count.

  • Robin Keogh

    Well its not a matter of intefering with freedom of expression. In fact, the outgoing government changed the law restricting the amount of control one individual or one organisation can have over irish media. However, for reasons unknown ( i.e Denis O Briens connections with FG maybe? ), the law was not structured ot act retrospectively, sinn Fein will rectify that and therein lies the reason for the outlandish lies and smear.

  • the keep

    That still sounds like a whinge though. They don’t need to make GA look like an economic illiterate because every time he opens his mouth he does it himself!
    How come Blair Cameron Clinton or Ahern were faced with type of questioning they were able to deal with it?

  • Charlie Farlie

    It may be subjective but I have never seen another party leader receive the type of harranguing and conjectural questioning that Adams has faced over the last month. Insinutory questioning without room to answer is enough to make some mud stick, that’s why they’re doing it. I’d say he feels like he’s back in Castlereagh.

  • Charlie Farlie

    Just in addition. The INM have caught on to the fact that GA will not sue them for defamation and slander. It is obvious they know this and therefore can lie with impunity with no repercussions. This factor is undoubtedly also at play. SF needs to deal with this and soon.

  • Discuscutter

    FG have always allowed FF to walk it.

    The current Director of Elections for FG, Brian Hayes wrote an article for the Sindo about how FG must ensure that FF survived.

    With that kind of mentality in charge is it any wonder that FF could be in power for stretches of nearly 20 years at a time.

    FG have to want to win and be willing to do what it takes to win and they never are.

  • Reader

    I haven’t been following the debates and interviews, so could you give some examples of the lies please?
    And surely Gerry’s problems would only really kick in when people were truly free to speak the truth?

  • Granni Trixie

    “Gerry taking the hits”? There are a few ways of looking at what you mean. Must say I thought it an own goal when I read that SF are now promoting as a selling point that a vote for GA is a vote for a new leader of the Country because a good result for SF and the Independents could add up to an alternative government.
    cant believe independents are going to buy in Gerry’s baggage or allow themselves to be lead by him.
    Still, from your sound bites, SF are preparing the way for him to leave the stage after the election. Very wise.

  • Granni Trixie

    I take it you’re a fellow traveller – and sorry to have to say it- you sound like you’re enjoying a winge fest.

  • Granni Trixie

    Very wise of Gerry not to sue considering his reputation,

  • Robin Keogh

    There is a lot you probably cant or couldnt believe, such as the fact that half a million people in Ireland vote for SF with Adams as leader. And if I understand your past comments gran it also seems apparent that u cant believe how these people could be so morally bankrupt. Gerry’s ‘baggage’ is an issue for the D4 media nuts, the people themselves couldnt care less, it never ever ever comes up at the doors. There are no preperation for him to go anywhere, but nobody can go on forever so at some stage he might step aside. Personally I would prefer him to stay as long as he has air in his lungs but ultimately its a decision the membership will make.

  • Robin Keogh

    Gran, if your party had to put up with the same level of lies, abuse, bias and deliberate trickery maybe you might think again. I think u are alliance? Apologies if i am wrong here. Remember the leaflet campaign against u guys, multiply it by a thousand.

  • Robin Keogh
  • Gingray

    “My understanding is that failure to form a government would mean that the current government continues in a caretaker role.”

    Yup, think it was last in play when AR was trying to form a coalition with labour in the early 90s. The country lasted nearly 2 months with a caretaker government and failed to collapse.

  • Robin Keogh
  • Robin Keogh

    You never know Mick, just when you think the rain will never stop, out comes the sun surprising everyone.

  • Charlie Farlie

    Yes possibly. But do you concede that there are more anti agreement elements out there who would be only too glad to tell a fib or two just to add substance to this ‘reputation’. For heaven’s sake, the man has been working to bring a peace process to fruition over the last 30 years. Somewhere people know that those ideologically opposed to this would welcome fabrication? This is another massive reason he cannot sue, and they know this!

  • Charlie Farlie

    This ‘truth’ everyone speaks off, is it not highly dependant upon where someones political beliefs currently rest? It therefore becomes highly questionable how objective these now are.

  • Charlie Farlie

    Actually I am not a member of any party. However I do believe in a democratic right to fairness of opinion and equal chance of representation which has been seriously lacking throughout this election. If pointing out the obvious is ”whingeing’ then so be it.

  • Acrobat_747

    I think SF are frowned upon by the media, but this is also their own fault.

    However my biggest concern with Sinn Fein is blaming media. There is no chance of winning much if this strategy is followed. It comes across as very amateur to the electorate and it shows great weakness.

    Sinn Fein have some great policies and have worked hard. I feel they have messed up with the media.

    Never ever blame the media in public. That should be rule number 1.

  • Robin Keogh

    With respect, what research can you point to which shows that pointing out media bias is seen by the public as weakness?

    Or maybe you are suggesting the media should never be challenged?

    The issue is not the media per se, its the motivation behind media reports which are deliberate lies. If it is not challenged, what hope have we got when it comes to challenging the destabilising effect of inequality in Ireland, the second most unequal country on the planet.

  • Roger

    The Ireland being referred to here, I take it, includes part of the UK?

  • Roger

    SF calling people undemocratic?
    So is ‘democratic’ what SF-IRA were up to for those 25 or more years?

  • Roger

    This is SF-IRA complaining about abuse.

  • Robin Keogh

    Is ‘democratic’ what Unionist autocracy served up for 50 years?

  • Roger

    Agreed.

  • Robin Keogh

    The Ireland being referred to here, you can take it, includes all 32 counties of Ireland.

  • Roger

    I remember Adams bumbling on about how people who work hard and earn over 100K would pay ’58’ or ’59’ per cent tax; or something like that.

    Is this guy seriously competent to run Ireland’s government?

    His party are doing some job of things running a moribund local government outfit in the UK….I don’t think that’s a great ad for them.

  • Roger

    That’s a big difference. SF-IRA set their standards by reference to Northern Ireland. We don’t need to do that in Ireland. SF-IRA were blowing up policemen; other parties in Ireland haven’t supported that. We can do better than bring ourselves down to SF-IRA or Northern Ireland standards generally.

  • Robin Keogh

    Well i dont share your superiority complex towards the people in the north east of this country. As for the cut and thrust of the conflict, tragic as it was, many Irish people commemorate Irish Republican sacrifice, in fact the next one is not too far away.

  • Jollyraj

    It’s just an idea, Robin, but those of a unionist background might be more willing to listen to and work with people on your side of the argument if you stopped the whole refusal to recognize the constitutional position of NI shtick. Personally, I find it very rude. I wouldn’t refer to Ireland, for instance, as ‘the colony’ or some such. I respect your desire to reverse the constitutional position (so long as the campaign is a peaceful one). You should respect that the fact of NI’s existence these days is based on the democratic wish of the people who live here. I wouldn’t dream of referring to Kosova as Serbia – because it isn’t – especially if I was hoping to win friends amongst the kosovars.

  • Jollyraj

    “They have a clear policy of attempting to hang the stupid card around Adam’s neck. ”

    Yegads, man! You can’t blame RTE because Gerry doesn’t ‘get’ economics’

  • Jollyraj

    I wonder what Gerry himself earns as de facto CEO of SF inc.

  • tmitch57

    In other words six of which are not subject to the results of the general election and which the other 26 have ceased to claim as part of their territory as part of the GFA.

  • tmitch57

    To be fair to the Shinners, Hillary Clinton constantly makes the same claims about the media. She seems to feel that the media’s function is merely to amplify whatever p.r. line the Clinton machine comes up with. And like the Shinners she seems to believe that a whiff of cordite is good for the image, which is why she lied about being under sniper fire in Bosnia.

  • mickfealty

    I wish you’d steer clear of ad hominem territory Robin.

  • Reader

    First Journal article: Analyst counts 39000 in the north, but says that Alan Kelly must have meant 20000 – then analyst starts to massage the 20000 figure down. At no point does analyst produce any actual comparison. Also what has this to do with INM?
    Second Journal article: irrelevant to Charlie Farlie’s accusation against INM
    Newstalk article: What has this got to do with anything?

  • Reader

    Robin Keogh: And this complete fabrication
    So you are complaining that it is a complete fabrication that Shinners are complaining about bias in the media? Well, it certainly looks like a load of Shinner complaints from here…

  • Reader

    Charlie Farlie: …is it not highly dependant upon where someones political beliefs currently rest?
    There are many flavours of truth. I don’t mean what is known, or provable, or admitted. When I say “truth”, I mean what actually happened. I am aware that Shinners have an altogether different appreciation of the topic. And who can blame them?

  • mickfealty

    I’d just like to point out that very little of the OP talks about SF. I notice too that the aggressive protests formerly reserved for govt parties is now transferring to FF.

    And yet, if you look at their policies on water charges, for instance, you’ll see that they’ve been careful to match them with the position of Right2Water. Martin’s genius has been to use the quiet his party has enjoyed to build something viable on the centre left.

    It’s typical FF to survey the landscape (when everyone else is busy just talking themselves up) and look to build something which will have a resonance after the election.

    This is why despite all the speculation to the contrary that FF will not go in with their old enemies in FG. There are issues of substance now separating the pair. In this regard it is not a continuation of Civil War politics.

  • mickfealty

    Not necessarily. But there has to be a good reason for it. I suspect we are going to see another long game of political chicken ensue. Keeping a provisional government (presumably containing some unelected ministers by that stage) in power for three or four months can only weaken FG, or so FF will hope.?

    Most of how this pans out will depend on the actual maths. FF may kick themselves for poor selections. But being neck and neck with the Taoiseach as favoured next Taoiseach is a very long way from where this campaign started.

  • mickfealty

    So not Seymour Crawford’s brother then?

  • Granni Trixie

    Good idea – lets call the project “blame the media”.

  • the keep

    I think you have been on Jude Collins blog to long your beginning sound like one of his deluded loons.

  • Granni Trixie

    Robin
    listen to yourself …there has to be more than ‘its the medias fault’ and ‘its all lies’ to explain anti SF stance?

  • Granni Trixie

    o that old chestnut – opposition to GA/SF means you are anti agreement? Or another – ‘lets be grateful to the efforts of Adams and co because we are not being blown up’?

  • Granni Trixie

    Yes Robin I wear my APNI heart on my sleeve.

  • Greenflag 2

    Independents are stronger now than they were in 2011. I had thought t by now they would have weakened but if anything their continued strength shows that a lot of people have stopped looking to the established political parties while those rallying to the FG (faltering ) or FF (still recuperating ) banners remain unenthusiastic that their party preference can hope to command a majority or even lead a coalition .
    The demise of Labour should be a reminder to the other parties that the old days of taking their supporters for granted are over at least for the next several elections .

  • Robin Keogh

    No apparently not but a ‘plant’ all the same.

  • Robin Keogh

    Ya i know, sometimes i vant help myself ;(

  • Robin Keogh

    I do respect the status quo and have no problem dealing with the reality of two different political jurisdictions on the Island.

    I dont seperate them emotionly in terms of how i define my homeland or my country which is not unusual for most nationalists and republicans.

  • Robin Keogh

    Gran, there are plenty of reasonably made arguments against Sinn Fein as a political force or an alternative government. No doubt. But a lot of those are simply swamped in the dozens of mind numbingly distorted pieces that fill the pages of the Indo group.

  • Charlie Farlie

    Gran, with politics its obvious that many seem a bit entrenched in their own belief system. I’m being honest with you when I tell you this. Even though I come from a Nationalist background if another party introduced a principle that I fundamentally agreed with and believed in, they would get my vote. I can take my goggles off and admit that regardless of what happened in the past, I won’t close my mind to progression if a Unionist party has more societal policies that I agree with (they don’t yet by the way), then I would vote for them over Nationalists. The past is not going to be a cage to my children’s future – ready to let it go!
    It seems to me from your position that it would not matter if Sinn Fein stood on their head, with a silver platter presenting all of your ideal policies that you would ever consider coming out from an entrenched position in favour of them. And that is fine, its your call. But just be aware that your objectivity is in question when you cannot even concede something that is so obviously happening at present with the Southern media. One can be subjective about social commentary without ‘letting the side down’ so to speak.

  • mickfealty

    No, indeed. Turns out they’re both of them dead.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    the north east of “this country”? What, the bit that’s not actually in the state we’re talking about here? And isn’t actually involved in this election?
    I’m not hugely interested in the politics of the Republic but on a quick glance at the bar chart, it doesn’t look like SF are quite the colossus bestriding the island I’d been led to believe. Quite heartening.

  • Robin Keogh

    You are absolutely correct, we have taken quite a few hits over the last week which means our hoped for surge will probably be more like a little lift. However, another 8 or even 10 seats will be very welcome nonetheless, and form the basis of a stronger team pushing forward towards the next round.

  • Reader

    Robin Keogh: …and form the basis of a stronger team pushing forward towards the next round.
    Experience, north and south, suggests that as your team gets bigger, it gets weaker, not stronger. But, hey, as in the old sitcom: “never mind the quality, feel the width”

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I can’t help thinking you’d do a whole lot better if you ditched the current leadership generation. You don’t have to agree with my views on the Troubles to see their pasts as a drag on the potential of the party … is there any movement among younger members for a changing of the guard?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    half a million? Jesus.
    That is scary.
    If it’s true what you say about Adams’s past not coming up as an issue at the doorstep, that says something pretty shocking about attitudes in the South to the Troubles. I’d be interested to hear from others if that’s what others have found canvassing.

  • Robin Keogh

    Not really, the Southern electorate bought into the GFA bigtime. As fas as they are concerned a line was drawn under the past at the point. Back then the parties had oodles of opportunities to challenge or to construct an agreement that would force him into the background, they didnt.

  • Robin Keogh

    There maybe some who agree with you. I dont, I am happy to see the senior members hang around a bit longer; take the lagacy hits while the rest of us build the party from the ground up. Sinn Fein takes up so much space in the media, a space that simply does not reflect the size of the party. Outside the north east and eastern sea board of the country ,SF have had no organisational structure whatsoever. In fact, in the 2014 council elections the party rerurned councillors from areas where there was maybe no more than one or two shinners making up a cumann. The surge in membership in the last ten years came mainly from Dublin, Cork, Donegal, louth, cavan and monaghan. Outside that the party is still building. We have a long way to go before we have grass roots organisational structures that truly reflect popular support. In my view, this is the seed from where we will see growth. This is born out when u look at the party in constituencies like Wicklow, Carkow/Kilkenny/ and Meath etc. its taken up to ten years to build robust structures in these areas likely to deliver seats at national level. Its all a work in progress.

  • Robin Keogh

    Well if weaker means we remain the biggest party in the country, no problemo.

  • Roger

    I don’t think too many in Ireland will be celebrating the ‘heroic’ murder of RUC men and women.

  • Reader

    Robin Keogh: Well if weaker means we remain the biggest party in the country, no problemo.
    You have to get there first. The biggest party in this country is the DUP. The biggest party in your country is FG.

  • chrisjones2

    In which senses Robin?

  • chrisjones2

    You mean that your esteemed Leader has blow his foot off several times

  • chrisjones2

    So did the North ….until we sussed the extent of the lies and broken promises

  • chrisjones2

    Hmmm started positing 12 days ago and seems to support SF ……………………..

  • Charlie Farlie

    Started posting 12 days ago but have read Slugger for years. I don’t understand the correlation in your point Chris, can you explain?

  • Discuscutter

    What interests me is that SF seem to be on target for a seat, comfortably so, in places like Dublin Bay South and Cork South Central.

    If they are getting seats in places like that then things will not be so bad at all.

    I think the Independents vote will transfer well to them and other non binary parties.

  • Robin Keogh

    Tufff, too late fella