Gerry Adams ups the ante on Unity, just as it comes under fresh critical examination

 Gerry Adams knows  exactly  how to deploy  sweet reasonableness as a weapon and end up  with a perfect circle of  obstruction. He had had several “businesslike, friendly engagements” with DUP leader Arlene Foster since the talks began, and he had “no reason to doubt” she was innocent of accusations over the “cash for ash” Renewable Heat Initiative which precipitated this month’s Northern Assembly election. However, the affair needed to be “properly scrutinised”. Why block a resolution of the impasse if … Read more

Even after Enda, the Republic has enough elected politicians with an appetite to get on with their work

After the big confidence debate in the Dail passed with the abstention of Fianna Fail, it does seem that we have a result. It’s looking like the Taoiseach’s ‘false memory’ of a conversation with one of his independent minister has done for him. In reality, it exposes the extent to which Enda Kenny has been reliant on his advisors that he misremembered him having a conversation which in reality happened only between his advisors and those of Katherine Zappone. The … Read more

Stephen Donnelly (late of the Social Democrats) joins Fianna Fail…

Interesting breaking news in the south concerning Wicklow/East Carlow Independent TD Stephen Donnelly. As The Journal notes “sources say the Wicklow TD had been “actively interested” in joining a political party.” He had been a founding member of the Social Democrats till last summer. He’s shown an impressive grasp of policy ever since coming into the Dail in the wake FF’s defenestration in 2011, but I suspect his search for a party home is born out of frustration at having … Read more

Indian Summer School: Nationalism After Brexit

THREE rising stars of Irish politics are set to come together to discuss whether Brexit will help or hinder the future prospects for a united Ireland. Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, Fianna Fáil foreign affairs spokesman Darragh O’Brien and the SDLP’s Claire Hanna will take part in a roundtable discussion on the impact of June’s EU referendum result on nationalism at the Lighthouse Summer School in Killough, Co Down. The discussion is based on the premise that Article 50 will be … Read more

Post #Brexit northern nationalism needs its politicians to step up. Enter Fianna Fáil?

Maybe we were far too rigid in our approach [to partition], too tenacious of our point of view, too proud to temporise or placate… whatever may have been the reason, we made no headway, so our successors must start from “square one”. Sean MacEntee, 1970 The head-quote is from Stephen Kelly’s Fianna Fail, Partition and Northern Ireland 1926 – 1971. It could fit the situation nationalism faces now that Brexit looks set to alter intra-island relations more profoundly than any … Read more

In Brexit dialogues the DUP must be included. The Good Friday Agreement requires it.

Sadly, the Sunday Politics programmes have registered no closing of the gap between the DUP and Sinn Fein over “Brexit means Brexit.”  Inevitably there is a real danger that narrow politics and positioning will confuse already very difficult issues.  But at least they  are not the ones aggravating the disagreement at  the moment. They appear to be waiting on others for constructive responses. In a measured editorial the Irish News has identified “ an overwhelming case for the introduction of … Read more

Two polls show good news for Fianna Fail

Two polls out tonight from RedC and the Sunday Times/Behaviour and Attitudes survey show good news for Fianna Fail NEW SBP/Red C Poll: FG 26 (-) FF 29 (+3) SF 13 (-2) Lab 6 (-) IA 5 (+1) Ind 7 (-4) AAA/PBP 5 (-) SD 4 (-) GP 4 (+2) Ren 1 (-) Other 1 (-) — Hugh O’Connell (@oconnellhugh) July 16, 2016 POLL STimes/B&A (Jul 1-11, ±3.3%) FF 30(+5 4wks) FG 25(-1) SF 14(-3) Lab 6(+1) AAAPBP 5(+1) Inds … Read more

SDLP to feed a key NI perspective into the EU’s negotiations with the UK?

So what to make of the implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland? To get the big one out of the road first, no one is going back to war. In fact of all the parts of the UK Northern Ireland is probably the calmest and the least hysterical, and as Newton Emerson put it last night, least embarrassing. There’s been no substantive response from the administration. The Executive has yet to meet and figure out how it will respond. Sinn … Read more

New Dail will be all about who can tag whom with legislative responsibility…

Brilliant from Jason O’Mahony, on the awkward situation Fine Gael now find themselves in. If you still struggle with understanding the difference between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail (and despite all guff being written recently there definitely is one: it’s just not ideological), read this: Someone once said to me that the problem with Fine Gael is that they’re that lethal mixture of being both arrogant and stupid. You can survive by being arrogant but clever, or by being dim but … Read more

A new election would favour no one but Fianna Fáil…

Sarah Bardon in the Irish Times quotes Willie O’Dea…  ’ Limerick City TD Willie O’Dea said the people of this country voted to get rid of the outgoing government and the party could not accept any partnership or coalition. He said: “The people who are supporting me and who are asking about my views . . . certainly didn’t contemplate that I would be part of this arrangement which would ultimately involve putting Enda Kenny back as taoiseach and sharing … Read more

Why a Grand Coalition would be a Grand Mistake for Fianna Fail

There is a lot of talk about coalitions and minority governments going on these days since the Irish electorate gave a collective “huh?” to the main parties. As I noted earlier there have now been the first talks between the Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader about possibly forming some sort of grand coalition. It has to happen some commentators say and it has surely been a long time coming, but I want to give a different perspective as to why … Read more

Kenny makes his first serious move towards forming a grand coalition

In the first meeting between the Micheal Martin & Kenny, the Fine Gael Press Office told us about this offer; This evening the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Leader of Fianna Fáil Micheal Martin had a positive and constructive meeting during which they discussed the current political situation and options for the formation of a stable and lasting Government.  The Taoiseach made a formal offer for the formation of a full partnership Government including Fine Gael, Independents and Fianna Fail … Read more

Leinster House’s deadly slow choreography aimed at giving the 32nd Dail a meaningful narrative?

In the Irish Times Pat Leahy lays out what he thinks will happen in the days after  what’s likely to be another choreographed failure to form a government in the Dail today.  What will be discussed is not a coalition or even a shared programme, but the terms under which Fianna Fáil might enter into a “confidence and supply” arrangement with a Fine Gael-led minority government. Under such an arrangement, Fianna Fáil would consent to the formation of government (probably … Read more

Government Formation: Reconciling Irreconcilables?

The noise that has emanated from politicians – past and present – and pundits about what the next government might look like has been difficult to make sense of in recent days.  Equally trenchant arguments have been made, on the one hand, that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will form a coalition and, on the other, that such a grand coalition is impossible. Some have advocated for a minority Fine Gael government, supported from the opposition benches by Fianna Fáil.  … Read more

The success of women in this election has done more than rock the system

Suzanne Collins is the Director of Operations and Campaigns for Women For Election. She writes for us about the success of female candidates in the 2016 General Election. In 1990, the newly elected Irish President Mary Robinson who was the first woman to be elected to the office, thanked her voters the ‘women of Ireland, Mná na Éireann, who instead of rocking the cradle rocked the system.’ The system may have been rocked but it another 26 years and a … Read more

Final words from John Bowman on #ge16

A tradition in Irish election broadcasts is the final thoughts of broadcaster, John Bowman. Since there will be a lot of speculation over the coming days, here is his final analysis of Election 2016; To say this election is unique goes without saying. It’s historic, it’s seismic, it’s awesome in its consequences and as the deluge subsides what does one see? Is the integrity of the quarrel between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael intact or will it melt? Is the … Read more

Post #GE16 realignment: The more things change, the more they stay the same…

Pollsters do their best with a good product that is often granted a status of political reality it was never intended to carry. Polls are useful, as Janan Ganesh put it, “as contextual information, not the story itself”. The press’s polls obsession made it difficult for either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail to get past questions about vote share (historically their lowest combined total in the history of the state) with the implication they were lying if they suggested they … Read more

#GE16 Exit Polls show Government parties set for a beating

Well it’s all over and we are just waiting for the vote to be counted but two exit polls make terrible reading for the government and should make Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein happy. RTE Irish Times/MRBI Some takeaways If true this is Enda Kenny’s worst ever General Election performance as leader, he scored 27.1% in 2007 and 36.1% in 2011. Fianna Fail are back in business; in places like Munster and parts of Dublin, the party will increase its … Read more