No room at the Irish Cabinet table?

At least 5 independent TD’s are considering forming a post-election bloc and endorsing a raft of independent candidates across the Republic. They are discussing a mini-manifesto that will be the basis of their alliance and negotiations after an election. Independents have often been ignored in the discussion about future coalition builiding in the 30th Dail and if successful, this intervention could reduce the possibility of Sinn Fein being the kingmaker. The independent strand is a strong one in southern politics and in 2002 significantly outpolled Sinn Fein’s 6.5% and 5 seats. It would also provide an untainted alternative for voters seeking to register a protest.

  • Hi, I’m not sure where to post a comment on this site so I can get in touch with bloggers from the Republic who might like to comment on my posting regarding the plastic bag levy.

    The CO of Tesco Sir Terry Leahy was on Newsnight the other day saying people in the UK would not support a ban on plastic bags, though I realise you do not have a ban. I know how successful the levy has been and feel it would be in the UK too, only the govt can’t be bothered.

    I wondered what the Irish felt about this, is it something you have been following closely in Northern Ireland?

  • Henry94

    Ellee

    It has been a huge success in the south. The reduction in waste has been phenomenal. And while I sometimes get caught without on mostly we make sure we take bags when we go shopping.

    There won’t be a single candidate in the south running on a policy of abolishing the levy (15c per bag)

    It is the kind of sensible environmentalism that everybody wants.

    On the topic if Independents for a party are they still independents?

  • Ciaran Irvine

    I think you have to have 7 TDs to become a “party” in the sense of being a recognised grouping in the Dáil. This carries speaking privileges and access to support mechanisms, IIRC.

    Nearly all the Independents are really IFF though, so it’d be highly unlikely they’d be propping up a Rainbow. Still hard to see any result other than FF/Lab.

    Plastic bag levy – excellent idea, reduction in waste was immediate and startling. Now we should extend the concept to tackle ridiculous over-packaging. Reduce the amount of waste at source.

  • “Nearly all the Independents are really IFF”

    Maybe half the Independents are really IFF, or even quasi-IFF.

  • aquifer

    Independents agreeing a joint platform after having their ego’s puffed in the Dail for years? Don’t see it, unless its real pork barrel local deal stuff.

  • Comrade Stalin

    As others have said, the plastic bag levy and the smoking ban are examples of fresh leadership coming from Irish politics. More of the same please, and let’s hope the UK can learn a few things.

  • Voting for single issue independents is sickeningly selfish. Someone runs on getting a hospital built in your town, you vote for them, now what if everyone did the same? We’d have a dáil full of people trying to get hospitals built in every town in the country, and the country itself would fall apart. These opportunists rely on a hung dáil to push their own greedy agenda, I was delighted to see that FF/PD got a majority and didn’t need them in the current dáil. I love the fact that the selfish people who voted for them have no effective representation now, perhaps they will learn a lesson and next time vote for somebody actually capeable of forming a government for the entire country, instead of getting a new footpath built in one parish.

  • Stephen Copeland

    PopeBuckfastXVI,

    While I pretty much agree with what you say, it remains true that even the representatives of the big parties often act as parochial champions, and are often elected largely on the basis of what they can get for the constituency.

    Admittedly they are often ‘out-voted’ by the wider party, but the party works hard to ensure that each and every constituency (with a party TD) gets something. So ultimately the outcome is much the same as if each and every TD was a single-issue, single-constituency, independent.

    It may be that the constituencies that elect independents (an increasing number) are those that have received slightly less than the average return over the past 5 years, and are looking for a way to guarantee a better return next time out. The fact that there wasn’t a hung Dáil scuppered their plans this time, but every election is a new opportunity.

  • CS Parnell

    The Republi’s politics have long been vulnerable to insurgency – Clann Na Poblachta in 48, PDs in the 80s, Labour and Spring in 92.

    There is a deep dissatifaction with the Fianna Fail hegemony but it seems like the voters give the insurgents a good kicking after they fail to institute the land of milk and honey after four years of office.

    Labour’s decision to go into coalition with FF in 92 was a conscious attempt to break that pattern, but it failed for well-known and complex reasons.

    If the Indos band together they will do will in the coming election for these reasons, but then they’ll crash and burn because they’ll have given themselves definition and that will make them vulnerable to disillusionment.