Fianna Fail and Progressive Democrats bouncing back?

The annual Irish Examiner poll makes good reading for the Irish government parties with their combined support up to 45%, 11% ahead of Fine Gael and Labour. There has been a steady growth in support for FF in polls since a low point in May. Sinn Fein’s support remains stuck in the 8-10% band. Also the three most unpopular coalitions are FF/SF, FF/Green and FF/Independents and FF voters don’t like the idea of a pact with SF either. Meanwhile a senior Labour party figure is keeping the door open to a FF/Lab coalition.However, the figures for the PD’s are usually high and the support for SF at 5% in Dublin seems curiously low.

  • Greenflag

    There has also been an improvement in Government finances and the expected deficit is now running at a strong surplus . McDowell has hit the election trail with Stamp duty reform and Ahern has a budget in hand to reassure the faithful .

    The ‘slump coalition’ are already dead in the water . As the election nears expect FF/PD to draw further ahead .

  • Lorenzo

    The figures for the PDs probably exaggerate their actual support as the survey was taken in the middle of last week after five days of almost continuous media coverage of the PD leadership change.

    Interesting none the less.
    Lorenzo

  • seabhac siulach

    “McDowell has hit the election trail with Stamp duty reform”

    Not reform…abolition…he thinks that the schools and hospitals of the land don’t need the 2.5 billion euro this tax raises…
    Apparently, the state has too much money while the hospitals are in a shambles and there are insufficient buses in Dublin.
    Why are right wing parties always obsessed with lower taxes when there are other priorities? Ireland is already one of the lowest taxed states in Europe…are the rich not already rich enough? In truth, it would appear that all these right wing parties are about is making transfers of public money to private hands…witness the scandal of Harney allowing private hospitals to be set up on the grounds of public hospitals for nothing…what is the state receiving in return for this largesse? Nothing…

    In most other European democracies a party needs to reach a support of 5% before being allocated seats in the parliament. In the 26 counties we have the laughably tragic situation of a radical micro-party that routinely polls between 2-4% holding two important ministries. Can anyone tell me that this is democratic or represents the will of the people? It is a scandal…
    The sooner this bunch of ‘politicians’ are booted out the better…as all estimates show they will be save for McDowell (maybe) and Liz O’Donnell…

    This opinion poll would appear to be a blip and does not support the trend of the monthly polls that were published by the Sunday Business Post up until this month. It is overstating the support of FF and the PDs by as much as 3%…

  • Elvis Parker

    As the Daleks said when they first came upon stairs ‘I guess that buggers our plans to conquer the universe’
    I suspect Gerry and the Peacemakers are thinking the same.

  • Brian Boru

    “This opinion poll would appear to be a blip and does not support the trend of the monthly polls that were published by the Sunday Business Post up until this month. It is overstating the support of FF and the PDs by as much as 3%…”

    Disagree. It’s the economy stupid! But the likely Red C poll next week (or around then) will probably give us a clearer picture on this question. Red C are some of the same people behind ICM who produced the most accurate pre-election poll in 2002 so I would trust their findings, but dunno about TNS/MRBI whose polls have been consistently hard on the govt parties, partly because of readjustment to compensate (some would say overcompensate) for presumed over-representation of FF support.

    Most encouraging about this poll is that even when the Greens are added, the putative ‘Rainbow’ only reaches 40% – 5% behind the govt. I hope the PDs can expand their constituency and the 6% (highest rating in at least 10 years) might (might) just be an indication this is starting to happen (albeit tentatively). I would recommend McDowell next to focus on dealing with the hated Vehicle Registration Tax which adds 25% to the cost of a car. There is also VAT on VRT of 25%. So in effect VRT doubles the price of an Irish car, which otherwise would be among the cheapest in the EU. This must stop.

  • Greenflag

    SS,

    Here’s a clue . Not everybody in Ireland is sick and needs hospital care . I said reform not abolition as although it’s election wise a good move there may be some in FF who will object to McDowell stealing Bertie’s election clothes before the budget .

    McDowell is at least a leader and he delivers . The waffler Kenny and bunny Rabbit won’t come anywhere close . In the absence of an ‘agreement’ in NI, SF will not do as well as they thought . As I said you can expect a ‘generous’ budget followed by a quick election and new leaders for FG and Labour by 2008 .

  • Brian Boru

    “The sooner this bunch of ‘politicians’ are booted out the better…as all estimates show they will be save for McDowell (maybe) and Liz O’Donnell… ”

    Pre-McDowell estimates therefore invalid because leaders tend not to lose their seats. I predict at least 6 PD seats will hold and 1 or 2 may gain.

  • Lorenzo

    “Why are right wing parties always obsessed with lower taxes when there are other priorities?”
    It is just possible they may have realised that people like to hold on to as much of the money they earn as possible. People might be willing to pay more (fair) taxes if they thought it would actually improve public services, but they know the link is tenuous at best.

    McDowell is pushing an open door with the electorate on the issue of Stamp Duty. It is a grossly unfair tax – a buyer of the average house in Dublin would pay 7.5% stamp duty – €36,000! I would wager that the reform in mind would be to remove it from purchases of principle private residences.

    This government is awash in cash and consequently they waste considerable amounts of our money. PJ O@Rourke said it best: “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”
    Lorenzo

  • seabhac siulach

    “Pre-McDowell estimates therefore invalid because leaders tend not to lose their seats. I predict at least 6 PD seats will hold and 1 or 2 may gain.”

    When all the froth produced recently by the change of leader dies down and people again see the chaos and incompetence in the Dept. of Justice (lawlessness in many areas, gun crime (and deaths) spiralling, Garda reform put off again and again (more urgent now following the Morris tribunal report), insufficient prison reforms (no ombudsman for prison), paying 10 times the market value for the new Thornton prison in North Dublin, etc., etc.) and focus again on the scandalous handling of the public health service by Harney (privitisation by stealth) the PDs will be decimated.
    As it is, they only keep their heads above water through puff pieces in the Irish Independent and Irish Times and the fact that RTE news is newtered by Govt. interference…

    Greenflag:
    “McDowell is at least a leader and he delivers .”

    See the list above of what he hasn’t delivered…name one serious piece of legislation he has passed as Minister? Hard isn’t it? And a Garda reserve and gun amnesty are hardly up there with what is needed…a root and branch reform of the justice system/Gardai…
    Oh, and I forgot, he screwed up big time on the statutory rape case recently…he is an incompetent plain and simple…much like his ol’ grandpappy (Eoin McNeill) was, he of the Border Commission of 1924 who managed to give land TO the six counties not take from it…
    It must be genetic.

    It is likely McDowell will artificially collapse the govt. at some point between now and next June (on the pretext of some FF indiscretion or other) in the hope of maximising PD support…
    It will backfire and we will have the FF/labour coalition that everyone who votes will be expecting anyway…

  • Brian Boru

    “See the list above of what he hasn’t delivered…name one serious piece of legislation he has passed as Minister? Hard isn’t it? And a Garda reserve and gun amnesty are hardly up there with what is needed…a root and branch reform of the justice system/Gardai…
    Oh, and I forgot, he screwed up big time on the statutory rape case recently…he is an incompetent plain and simple…much like his ol’ grandpappy (Eoin McNeill) was, he of the Border Commission of 1924 who managed to give land TO the six counties not take from it…
    It must be genetic”

    A: The Garda Reserve will free up Gardai from desk-duties so they can work on the streets and roads where they are needed.

    B: McDowell introduced the Citizenship Amendment which 80% voted for since when asylum-seeker numbers have greatly reduced, saving the taxpayer a fortune.

    C: To be fair to McNeill, he was outvoted on the Commission and could not have stopped what happened. But I agree he was wrong on the Countermanding Order though which wrecked the 1916 Rising but he redeemed himself somewhat in the War of Independence. I think though that the sins of the father should not fall onto the grandson. McDowell is on record as supporting a United Ireland. SF need to be told sometimes that they do not have a monopoly on republicanism.

    D: Mr.A was reincarcerated and is back behind bars, because of the Supreme Court ruling that the lower High Court was wrong to interpret its earlier ruling on “honest mistake” as allowing convicted sex-offenders to be freed. Hence McDowell was factually correct when he argued there was no loophole. In any case, we now have very tough legislation indeed. Enda Kenny rigidly insisted on refusing an age of consent of 16 as in the UK, thereby playing politics with an important issue.

    E: I accept the gun-amnesty was a failure but it worked in the UK so it was worth trying here.

  • Greenflag

    ‘“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” ‘

    Exactly – Just look at all the money that has been paid out to 108 MLA’s in Northern Ireland for the past 6? /8 years and what have have the people got in return ? English Ministers doing the work and the MLA’s pocketing the cash .

    At least here we get some value .

    ‘It is likely McDowell will artificially collapse the govt. at some point between now and next June’

    About as likely as a power sharing devolved Government in NI on November 24th .

    I can see the Irish Labour Party getting back to the Dail in two taxis with SF in another taxi .

    It’s over already 🙂

  • Reader

    SS : grandpappy (Eoin McNeill) was, he of the Border Commission of 1924 who managed to give land TO the six counties not take from it
    Not correct. The final outcome of the border commission was zero. The report leaked to the Dail had a net transfer of both land and people to the Free State. Reasonably enough, the Dail preferred to keep the grouse shooting in NE Donegal than get Crossmaglen, and the deal fell through. They might have got a better offer if they had appointed a full time commissioner rather than a part timer. But I suppose they thought they would get all six counties very soon…

  • Greenflag

    ‘But I suppose they thought they would get all six counties very soon… ‘

    Exactly . They convinced themselves that the 6 counties would not be viable But then they could not foresee WW2 nor Britain’s Welfare reforms in the 1950’s .

    Todays Northern Nationalists and Republicans seem convinced that a UI is just around the corner ?

    Plus ca change etc .

  • Brian Boru

    “Not correct. The final outcome of the border commission was zero. The report leaked to the Dail had a net transfer of both land and people to the Free State. Reasonably enough, the Dail preferred to keep the grouse shooting in NE Donegal than get Crossmaglen, and the deal fell through. They might have got a better offer if they had appointed a full time commissioner rather than a part timer. But I suppose they thought they would get all six counties very soon…”

    Yes we would have been given tiny parts of South Armagh and Fermanagh, but also had to give up East Donegal. This was unacceptable and reflected the deceit where Lloyd George verbally told Collins in the Treaty negotiations that no territory would be taken from the Free State. We had no choice but to reject this trash.

  • Reader

    Brian Boru: We had no choice but to reject this trash.
    But have you asked the people of Crossmaglen? I said a *net* transfer of land and people, and I stand by that. There is a map in the back of Jonathan Bardon’s ‘History of Ulster’, which also comments that the population of NI would be reduced by 1.8%, and its area by 3.7%. That’s 27,000 people. It’s obviously too late to ask them now…

  • Brian Boru

    Reader we had fought and died and were not going to hand over a milimetre of the land we ruled. If we were going to get those other areas without losing territory then yes we would have accepted the extra territory while in principle opposing partition.

  • ciaran damery

    Polls have traditionally and almost invariably underestimated the SF vote. If the Adams et al project is to succeed, the party will need to at least double their Dáil representation. This is a likely scenario.

    However, a slump in the Republican vote (however unlikely) will support the hypothesis that the acceptance of occupied Ireland and participation in electoral politics, in both jurisdictions, will not suffice.

    Armed struggle must remain an option and perhaps it may be the most successful option in this long struggle. Political ambition may have to play second fiddle once again cuz the Brits and orangies only understand one thing….and it’s got nothing to do with a ballot box.

  • Greenflag

    CD,

    If you want a UI that badly start breeding and stop ranting . That is if you’re up to it !

    Another advantage over the breeding route as to the gun route is that it can be pleasurable, bring joy to others and provide the medical and teaching professions with the pupils they need to keep the schools in NI fully staffed .

    PS ,

    Dissident threats will no more work in the Irish Republic than they did in NI .

    ‘cuz the Brits and orangies only understand one thing….and it’s got nothing to do with a ballot box. ‘

    And vice versa presumably. Ask the people of Omagh

  • Reader

    Brian Boru: Reader we had fought and died and were not going to hand over a milimetre of the land we ruled.
    Well, the *actual* decision to let those 27,000 people live out their lives under Craig was taken by people who had lived, not died; then they agreed the treaty. They then indulged their ideological purity at other people’s expense. Still – the latest generation of Republicans is at last showing some promise in the compromise and calculation game.

  • Greenflag

    ‘This was unacceptable and reflected the deceit where Lloyd George verbally told Collins in the Treaty negotiations that no territory would be taken from the Free State.’

    We all know that Lloyd George was a consumate practised deceiver . He had to be . Just look at how Peter Hain is maligned for trying the honest approach ? You have to remember that LLoyd George had spent the better part of 6 months negotiating the Treaty of Versailles and had dealt with Poles , Hungarians , Czechs , Slovaks , Serbs , Romanians , Bulgarians , Croatians , Austrians etc etc etc . The great Partition of the former Austro Hungarian , German, Russian and Ottoman empires was theoretically supposed to result in ‘democracies ‘ and self determination for all and peace for evermore . Right.

    Unfortunately Woodrow Wilson’s fine theory came up against the hard rock of European history and ethnic memories extending over centuries .

    Poland was reborn having disappeared off the map in 1790 and was soon to disappear again 1939-1945 . Likewise the Yugoslavian and Czechoslovakian States were created only to disappear again twice in fact . Hungary still has 3 million of it’s countrymen living outside it’s borders as minorities in Romania and Serbia .

    By comparison Ireland did not do too badly . We were probably lucky that the ‘liar ‘ Lloyd George ‘ was PM at the time . Had it been a Conservative our Free State might not have been ‘born’ . There’s still a rump element within the British Conservatives which still does not want to ‘recognise ‘ Irish independence . Most British people have become used to the idea that ‘Paddy’ seems to have done better for himself now that he is no longer ruled by the wise hand of Mother England . It is becoming ever more a surprise to some in Britain that those in Northern Ireland who still ‘benefit’ from British rule appear to be not only ungrateful but are even known to bite the hand that feeds them .

    You know we never could make a go of Ireland when we were there says the Brit . And that’s because Ireland was neither one thing nor the other . It was neither here nor there .A remote backwater needing only a kick in arse every century or so when the natives got out of line . Otherwise it was a food source and a good recruiting ground for the soldiery that built the Empire .

    It appears that the Irish were not content with that role . Wonder why ?

  • Brian Boru

    “Polls have traditionally and almost invariably underestimated the SF vote. If the Adams et al project is to succeed, the party will need to at least double their Dáil representation. This is a likely scenario.”

    Wrong. Polls in the North underestimate SF. Not in the South. Polls got it pretty right in 2002, saying SF would get 6-7%. The Shinners got 6.5% but only 5 seats because they are transfer-repellent down here. I see 3 possible gains (Mary Lou (Dublin Central), Pearse Doherty and Padraig McLochlainn (2 Donegal constituencies). But that’s it. The recent Lansdowne poll puts SF support in Connaught-Ulster at 16% – roughly the same as the “West” constituency in the Euro elections. However much of that was concentrated in Cavan-Monaghan and Donegal. As such I predict the benefits of this vote will only be sufficient to take seats in Donegal other than their existing one in Cavan-Monaghan.

    “Armed struggle must remain an option and perhaps it may be the most successful option in this long struggle. Political ambition may have to play second fiddle once again cuz the Brits and orangies only understand one thing….and it’s got nothing to do with a ballot box.”

    NO. Provo or dissident Republican ‘armed struggle’ is illegitimate and unacceptable. It would constitute a flagrant violation of the people’s vote for the GFA and peace in 1998.

  • George

    Greenflag,

    One of the greatest but most unsung achievements of the Irish Republic is that it broke for good the military family tradition that was cultivated under British Rule.

    On topic,
    I don’t know why no one in Fine Gael realises this one but the Irish people will never vote Enda Kenny as Taoiseach. Said it a year ago here and stand by it. A lightweight. The man even suggested unconstitutional laws re tagging.

    As for Rabitte, I won’t vote Labour as long as that man is leader. Anyone against the free movement of labour (40 million Poles) within the EU won’t be getting my X.

  • ciaran damery

    Brian Boru says, ” ‘armed struggle’ is illegitimate and unacceptable. It would constitute a flagrant violation of the people’s vote for the GFA and peace in 1998.”. In case you didn’t know, the GFA has been undermined and violated by the British and their Orange cheerleaders since its inception. They have tried to defeat and undermine the IRA since the Army’s cessation. The GFA may soon fade into oblivion because of Unionist intransigience and British indifference. If so, what options do Irish republicans and nationalists have? Direct Rule ad infinitum? A return to Stalinist like Unionist majoritarian rule? Yeah right! No Mr. Boru, I’m afraid that the military option will remain on the table and if it’s exercised it will be on a different scale, with a different leadership and will be prosecuted by a slick, professional and impenetrable force.

  • Crataegus

    Cairan

    So you are one of those noble sons of Ireland, prepared to wage war, but of course not in the conventional sense. OH no for that would be folly. So what do the proud sons and daughters of Ireland do instead they blow to bits women and children out shopping, put bombs under cars, torch hotels full of people and burn businesses and buses. Not to mention a bit of ethnic cleansing.

    Oh hail the great liberators proud sons of Ireland.

    Utter disgrace and enough to make any sane person want to hang their heads in shame.

    No one in their right mind courts war because at the very least she is a cruel and fickle mistress. Ever seen first hand what real war can bring?