Fine Gael ‘definately’ not talking to Sinn Fein…

Here’s a thing. Enda Kenny is still trying to make a fight of getting the keys to the Taoiseach’s office. Getting the numbers might be a lot easier if they had Sinn Fein on board. Finian McGrath has alleged they have made an approach to that quarter and now the party is in full official denial mode. Though it hasn’t stopped some of their internet ‘irregulars’ from doing a little speculation of their own. Chris Gaskin does some more plausible guess work of his own.

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  • Yokel

    SF on board my arse.

    The only things possibly on the go are to make a FG/SF deal are:

    SF abstentions or voting for Kenny as Head Honcho.

    Support for s SF speaker or Seanad position in return.

    Thats the top and bottom of it.

    There would be defections from FG if it was any more than that and you have two PD types who Kenny would need who may not buy it either.

    Even the limited deal above might be too much for some who would make up a formal part of the coalition.

    SF wouldnt probably buy into it either.

    McGrath is clearing the way for his own tent pitching.

  • McGrath has been shit-stirring from the second it became obvious that the Independents could call the shots in this one. Look at what he said about FF and Labour.

    All he wants to do is ensure the price eventually paid by FF to him is as high as possible.

    FG would commit total political suicide if they went into Government with SF considering how they used the concept as a stick to beat FF with for so long.

    Five years on the opposition benches is surely favourable to a complete party split and a bottoming out in 2012 – worse than the one ten years previous.

  • kensei

    “FG would commit total political suicide if they went into Government with SF considering how they used the concept as a stick to beat FF with for so long.

    Five years on the opposition benches is surely favourable to a complete party split and a bottoming out in 2012 – worse than the one ten years previous.”

    I don’t think a limited deal far short of a formal coalition would have that level toxicity – particularly if there any more revelations about Bertie. If the arrangement lasted 3-5 years, I doubt it would have a hugely negative impact as SF completes its normalisation process. The problem is that the deal is unlikely to be stable with 4 parties involved and it’s a gamble.

    I don’t see anyway into government without some level of SF support for FG though.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Mick

    Here’s a website you definitely must have a look at.

    ;o)

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Kensei

    as SF completes its normalisation process

    What does that mean?

  • kensei

    “What does that mean?”

    Er, I dunno. Something to do with the process that SF have went through from being the political wing of the IRA to their being no IRA. Not a lot left to do, really, but perception will always run a bit behind.

    What exactly else could I mean? Really?

  • IJP

    Wonder what that Gonzo chap does for a living…!

  • Belfast Gonzo

    What exactly else could I mean? Really?

    Nothing. Just thought it odd that a republican would be so open about SF not being a democratic party yet.

    Carry on.

    IJP – I know, I know. Bu what does one do when it happens every time, and you like the guy but don’t want to come across as too fussily pedantic.

    Even though I fear I just did. Sorry Mick!

  • The Dubliner

    “Getting the numbers might be a lot easier if they had Sinn Fein on board.”

    I don’t think so. Morality, for most people, isn’t defined by the ruling political class. Ergo, the ruling political class may have expediently deemed the Shinners free of sin but that has no relevance whatsoever to the moral systems that others may apply. Most folks also understand that psychopathology isn’t cured by a political ‘decontamination’ period; and that the leaders of PSF will remain afflicted with the condition regardless of whatever the period is deemed to be. In short, keep your garbage in your own back yard is the actual message when politicians politely use language such as “incompatible policy issues” in relation to why they won’t confer respectability upon killers and gangsters.

  • PaddyReilly

    Well as far as I can see Enda’s options as of Friday were:-

    1) Go to bed and cry;
    2) Start thinking good thoughts about Sinn Féin.

    The fact that he is still up and hopeful means either he can’t count or he is coming closer to this notion. I assume (though in politics everything is possible) that you can’t have PDs and SF in the same government, so the latter’s 4 votes are obviously a better bet than the former’s 2.

    I think it more likely McGrath is telling the truth. The FG spokesman probably was genuinely unaware of what Macchiavellian plotting was going on.

    FG would commit total political suicide if they went into Government with SF considering how they used the concept as a stick to beat FF with for so long.

    FG would commit total political suicide if they didn’t go into Government with SF. The PDs electoral wipeout compared with FF’s relative triumph means that the electorate doesn’t really blame you for who you are forced to go into coalition with. Besides, beating FF with a stick doesn’t seem to have made any difference, so it doesn’t really matter if they give FF a stick to beat them with.

    Neither sticks nor stones will break my bones
    But being out of power would really hurt me.

    Most folks also understand that psychopathology isn’t cured by a political ‘decontamination’ period; and that the leaders of PSF will remain afflicted with the condition regardless of whatever the period is deemed to be. In short, keep your garbage in your own back yard is the actual message when politicians politely use language such as “incompatible policy issues” in relation to why they won’t confer respectability upon killers and gangsters.

    Man dear, did you never hear of Michael Collins?

  • Fine Gael ‘definately’ not talking to Sinn Fein…

    Man ‘definitely’ not biting dog…

  • joeCanuck

    Gonzo is definitely an English language teacher.

  • I don’t think a limited deal far short of a formal coalition would have that level toxicity – particularly if there any more revelations about Bertie. If the arrangement lasted 3-5 years, I doubt it would have a hugely negative impact as SF completes its normalisation process.

    I disagree – even an agreement to support (rather than join a coalition) would cause damage, as that’s something FG said FF would do.

    For a start FG would probably lose some of its own members to FF (or Ind.), and they’d lose a lot of face just in time for the 2009 local/EU elections – FF wouldn’t let it lie in 2012 either (even though I think SF might be a viable coalition partner by then in other circumstances).

    Of course that’s all based on the assumption that FG working with SF would not alienate all the other minor parties and it probably would to some extent – at least the PDs.

    I agree that whatever chance it has in terms of being suggested it has even less chance of actually surviving.

  • PaddyReilly

    The arithmetic of the mooted Rainbow Coalition is, as far as I understand, 51 FG votes, 20 Labour, 6 Green, 3 Independent (Lowry, Gregory and McGrath) and 4 SF, making a grand total of 84. it is assumed that the 2 PDs would rejoin FF. The result would be a left of centre alliance, with a mission to end rip-off Ireland.

    As I said, the electorate do not seem to blame you for who you go into coalition with; logically so, because it is the electorate that is responsible for this necessity.

    The most likely outcome? No. A stable and lasting government? No. But the 1948 Alliance lasted, miraculously, for 9 years.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Why don’t they just ALL form a government? After all, it works so well up Here…(!)

  • ICantBelieveTheyAreFormerIRA

    The strange thing, that weird coalition would have more former IRA members coming from Labour than SF.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Perhaps the ‘left’ comprising the horticultural greens the non iron greens plus reds ( labour party & sundry socialists ) should offer themselves as as a job lot under the name ‘alliance for concealing SF amongst smaller parties’ (must be a good acronym in there somewhere) to help poor Enda out.

  • páid

    Chris’s aside about Health shows how far SF have to move to gain credibility in the South.

    The govt. won on Health reform, and Harney the wicked witch got re-elected in Dublin SW, a working-class constituency.

    This is because the electorate know that Mary Harney is doing the thankless task of tackling the utter and complete managerial and geographic mess and money-pit that is the Irish Health Service.

    And while she reforms, SF bleat about A&E closures, when anyone with any cop-on knows they have to be rationalised to be improved.

    The Southern electorate is a bit too sophisticated for ‘they’re closing the local A&E because they want you to die’.

    If I’m in an accident I want worldclass help, efficiently delivered, not death in a hospital handy for visitors.

  • Chris’s aside about Health shows how far SF have to move to gain credibility in the South

    My point on Harney and Health was about the issue of Labour and the Greens, both of whom are opposed to her plans for co-location.

    In relation to the Health service I support a Universal free health service, free at the point of delivery.

    That view will not be changing

  • George

    PaddyReilly,
    As I said, the electorate do not seem to blame you for who you go into coalition with; logically so, because it is the electorate that is responsible for this necessity.

    I can see it now from the Fianna Fáil backbenches:

    “Will Taoiseach Kenny join his coalition partner and Justice Minister Aengus O’Snodaigh in the celebration party later tonight for the killers of Garda McCabe who were released earlier today?”

    There isn’t a hope in hell of Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil going into government with Sinn Féin this election.

    Five years down the line who knows but not a chance now.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    The hypocricy of telling the DUP its ok for them
    but not really shows up the ROI politicans. Most unionst politicans have had personal friends and in many cases family killed.

    SF are isolated not on principle but by FF and FG trying to outscore each other.

    If it was principle they would not have pressurised the DUP. No amount of i’ts differnet up there’ will fool anyone.

    What a laugh FF and FG wrestling for the votes of 2 crooks Lowry and Flynn – gombeenery of the highest order.

  • George

    It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it,

    Northern Ireland has a madatory coalition, the Irish Republic has a voluntary one. Big difference.

    And the DUP felt pressure from Dublin? Really? Tell me more about this.

    I’m sure if the DUP had a choice they wouldn’t share power with Sinn Féin, especially if they had the option of people of the calibre of Flynn and Lowry instead.

    By the way, cash for peerages is gombeenery of the Highest Order of the British Empire.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Tony Blair/Berty used the threat of plan B/Joint soverignity with ROI to force the hand of the DUP.

    They had a ‘mandatory’ coalition becuase the uk and Irish government who together negotiated the framework for GFA decided that it was necessary for Unionists to share power with SF.

    From a unionist perspective this is hard to swallow and looks like 1 Garda = 300 RUC.

    Corruption in ROI must be the worst in any western eurpoean country – shed loads of the feckers are either in jail or bulshitting at tribunals.

  • PaddyReilly

    Five years down the line who knows but not a chance now.

    That’s interesting. I was going to ask when on their projected trajectory from armed insurgents to fluffy social workers Sinn Féin would, if ever, reach their goal, and it seems to be in five years from now.

    I can’t see what difference 5 more years would make. I doubt that many Unionists will be able to. But I think that guilt adheres to the individual, not to the party.

    But isn’t this the electorate’s fault? If they wanted a law and order government they should have re-elected the PDs, and not thrown 4 SF jokers into the pack.

  • Sorry to take this off topic but:

    Tony Blair/Berty used the threat of plan B/Joint soverignity with ROI to force the hand of the DUP.

    They implied that Ireland would have a greater say in NI matters – Green-tinged direct rule – but when pushed on it were quick to rule out an joint sovereignty whatsoever. It was quite clear that plan B just saw Britain continuing direct rule and working with Ireland on the all-Ireland aspects the GFA promised anyway.

    They had a ‘mandatory’ coalition becuase the uk and Irish government who together negotiated the framework for GFA decided that it was necessary for Unionists to share power with SF.

    Well at the time they actually decided it was necessary for the UUP to share power with the SDLP but the division isn’t drawn on party lines – it’s the majority Unionist party and majority Nationalist party.

    Corruption in ROI must be the worst in any western eurpoean country – shed loads of the feckers are either in jail or bulshitting at tribunals.

    Politicians going to jail? You must be having a laugh!
    The majority of people in front of the tribunals are developers who bribed a handful of politicians but the only difference between Irish politicians and British, French and Italian (especially Italian) politicians is that they got caught.

    Back on topic some people seem to be assuming that FG need SF to reach power – sure those extra 4 seats would help but they could still make the magic 83 figure with themselves (51), Labour (20), Green (6), PD (2), Ind (4). That’s unlikely, but less so than SF being in the mix this time around.

  • tony

    ‘eurpoean country’

    kepe ip de good wurk iwsmnwdi

    hic!!!!!

  • Ian

    “IJP – I know, I know. But what does one do when it happens every time, and you like the guy but don’t want to come across as too fussily pedantic.”

    Before anyone says that you “could of” bit your lip, I’ll just point out that the correct phrase is “could HAVE”, (abbreviated to “could’ve” which phonetically sounds a bit like “could of”).

    (Pet hate of mine!)

    “The strange thing, that weird coalition would have more former IRA members coming from Labour than SF.”

    Was the Indie TD Tony Gregory in the IRA as well? He was formerly in OSF and IRSP according to his Wikipedia entry.

  • kensei

    ““Will Taoiseach Kenny join his coalition partner and Justice Minister Aengus O’Snodaigh in the celebration party later tonight for the killers of Garda McCabe who were released earlier today?””

    Oh, quit the fucking bollocks George. Where on God’s green earth did I suggest an SF Justice Minister? Where did anyone? Even if SF had 20 TDs and an almost guaranteed please in Government, the other parties are still far too politically astute to allow that one. Crass sensationalist balls.

    What I suggested was a limited deal where SF supported an FG led Government in exchange for a few agreeable policy commitments or a promise to support Kenny for Taoiseach and support votes where they agree – leading to a situation not dissimilar to Scotland – was not completely impossible, even if it is highly unlikely.

    One thing is certain though – if Enda Kenny really wants to be Taoiseach and maintain a government for more than ten minutes this time round it would almost certainly require the support of the SF TDs. So, it may be a voluntary coalition, seeing as how everyone on this highly unpolitical site hadn’t actually noticed, but the Maths and realities of power point in certain directions. Merely discussing them. Sometimes it’s fun even discussing the outside ones. The insults to intelligence generally aren’t required though.

  • kensei

    “Back on topic some people seem to be assuming that FG need SF to reach power – sure those extra 4 seats would help but they could still make the magic 83 figure with themselves (51), Labour (20), Green (6), PD (2), Ind (4). That’s unlikely, but less so than SF being in the mix this time around.”

    If Enda pulls that one off he needs to set his sights higher and consider sorting out Iraq and the Middle East. If an FG government was to have any kind of stability it’d need some level of SF support.

    Best argument I’ve heard is that Enda is merely trying to pressure Bertie into giving more away when negotiating coalition, and potentially make the government more unstable.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Adam Maguire,

    a couple of tings ( as Bertie might say ).

    2 or 3 of the FFFeckers went to prison – the boy Lawlor, the Minsiter for Foreign Affairs during GFA ( can remember his name ) and Charlie sort of – except he did Pinochet and said he was to old or too mad.

    The very reverend Ian Paisley said that he was threatened with joint soverignity if he did not do a deal. So FF and FG both supported coercion of unionists into governement with SF in and now blather on about the principle of keeping them out. Dont forget there were 300 gerry mc cabes in non iron.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    PaddyReilly

    “But the 1948 Alliance lasted, miraculously, for 9 years.”

    You’re forgetting those three years of DeV (51-54) in the middle of those nine years.

    As for the point about SF being good enough for government in the north but not the south, I think the salient point is this: if SF’s vote in the Republic matched that in the north, they’d have more than 40 TDs in Dail Eireann. And if they had 40 TDs, I think they’d have plenty of potential suitors.

  • Ian

    “As for the point about SF being good enough for government in the north but not the south, I think the salient point is this: if SF’s vote in the Republic matched that in the north, they’d have more than 40 TDs in Dail Eireann. And if they had 40 TDs, I think they’d have plenty of potential suitors.”

    Makes me wonder, what would the hypothetical make-up of the Government be if d’Hondt was run in the Dail?

    (Obviously SF wouldn’t get a Ministry, just like Alliance don’t in the North, although they might be entitled to a Committee vice-chair.)

  • Billy Pilgrim

    ITSMcNWDI

    “The very reverend Ian Paisley said that he was threatened with joint soverignity if he did not do a deal.”

    He was warned that reality was about to come crashing down on top of him. Politicians have to make hard choices. Paisley became unionism’s top dog at a time when unionism had run out of good choices and was left only with shitty ones. If that was spelled out to him, it wasn’t “coercion”, it as simply reality.

    “So FF and FG both supported coercion of unionists into governement with SF in and now blather on about the principle of keeping them out.”

    FF have made clear that their objection was to SF’s economic policies. A policy incompatibility is not a principled objection. Bertie is on record (as is Dermot Ahern) as saying they envisage SF being part of a government at some stage.

    The realpolitik is that FF wouldn’t like to go into a coalition with SF (primarily for reasons of FF’s self interest, as the two parties would be in direct competition for a section of the republican demographic) but if the numbers stacked up a certain way, they would.

    Or in short, they mightn’t like it, but they would if they had to. Which is in fact identical to Paisley’s position.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Billy Pilgrim,

    I take your point re. FF but it still holds for FG. FF appear to be afraid to go with SF for fear of the ‘Mc Cabe’ factor backfiring on them. They know that SF economic policy is negotiable so that malarkey about economics is a smokescreen.

    However to be fair to both FF and FG( which pains be greatly ) they are worried as well about Ireland’s image abroad.

  • Brian Boru

    Don’t forget the 1948 arrangement where FG entered a 5-party Coalition that included Clann na Poblachta, lead by Sean McBride – a recent former IRA Chief-of-Staff. Then they said they’d never go in with Democratic Left (most of whose TDs were former Official SF/The Workers’ Party members) which they did in 1994. Perhaps govt with SF is a logical part of their abandonment of principle as in the past?

  • PaddyReilly

    what would the hypothetical make-up of the Government be if d’Hondt was run in the Dail?

    If the 26 cos were run on the same principles as the 6, there would be compulsory 6 seater dáilcheantair and SF would have a lot more TDs. I’m not sure if that would be enough for a single ministry.

    Then they said they’d never go in with Democratic Left (most of whose TDs were former Official SF/The Workers’ Party members) which they did in 1994.

    I am very interested in the question of how much blame is to be assigned to members of the political wing of parties with paramilitary associations. I spent a lot of time in my youth in societies dedicated to the glorification of James Connolly and similar topics. As I recall we didn’t get much beyond boozing and redesigning the logo. It would be interesting to find out how many deaths I am responsible for.

    Isn’t it quiet without Whatever. Has Mrs Next grounded him or Mick banned him?

  • IJP

    Gonzo

    Why don’t they ALL just form a Government

    Except SF of course. They’re the South’s Alliance Party after all.

  • Yokel

    SF will support neither bloc unless they get a cabinet seat.

    Advatnage Bertie or advantage Enda?

    On paper, both. SF abstention lowers the bar for both options.

  • 2 or 3 of the FFFeckers went to prison – the boy Lawlor, the Minsiter for Foreign Affairs during GFA ( can remember his name ) and Charlie sort of – except he did Pinochet and said he was to old or too mad.

    Lawlor served time for contempt of court – hardly the same thing. Not sure what FA minister you refer to, but Haughey never served time in prison either.
    Ireland is un-unique in the fact that its corrupt politicians escape prison 99% of the time – Lawlor was never put behind bars for the dodgy deals he did.

    The very reverend Ian Paisley said that he was threatened with joint soverignity if he did not do a deal.

    I wouldn’t believe Paisley any quicker than I would Adams. Of course he had to use whatever he thought possible to justify his decision to his hardcore base.

    And as has been pointed out, FF no longer use their connection to the IRA as a reason to avoid SF – they at least pretend its a policy matter. For FG it is certainly a policy matter and the only reason they agreed economic terms with Labour is because the latter moved to the centre (FG didn’t really compromise at all). Of course, they’d never say “Sinn Féin are still terrorists”, but they do have fun playing on that fear at FF’s expense.

    If Enda pulls that one off he needs to set his sights higher and consider sorting out Iraq and the Middle East. If an FG government was to have any kind of stability it’d need some level of SF support.

    Best argument I’ve heard is that Enda is merely trying to pressure Bertie into giving more away when negotiating coalition, and potentially make the government more unstable.

    The Gov would only be more unstable with the inclusion of Sinn Féin in my opinion.

    I agree, though, Enda’s probably not doing this to make a real grasp at power – he’s doing it to remind the public that the election wasn’t a complete whitewash, that his party gained 20 seats and to pressure Bertie into conceeding more (so he can have a go at him once we see what pay-offs he’s given to Independents for their support and so the minor party/parties feel they have more say in business then the numbers suggest they should).

  • George

    Kensei,
    Oh, quit the fucking bollocks George. Where on God’s green earth did I suggest an SF Justice Minister? Where did anyone?

    it’s not bollocks, it’s the reality. Caoimhín O Caoláin has made it perfectly clear that Sinn Féin will only support a government with Fine Gael if they get a ministry. They won’t support a minority government. And who would blame them?

    SF supporting a minority government without any piece of cake simply isn’t going to happen.

  • páid

    Chris,

    “In relation to the Health service I support a Universal free health service, free at the point of delivery.”

    That’s a noble aim Chris, and one I have little quibble with.

    My quibbles are(!)

    Some people want 5 star hotel treatment in hospital and are prepared to pay for it, plasma screens, the lot. So there will be private health care, which threatens universality.

    The statement sounds open-ended in terms of costs, and in the South, as opposed to the North, folk are suspicious of these statements as the people know they pay for services, not a foreign govt. on another island.

    A small fee at surgeries (refundable in hardship cases) cuts out a lot of unnecessary timewasting.
    Down South, people like that.

    The statement doesn’t address health tourism, and breezing over this is OK for protest politics but not acceptable for serious govt.

    In the election the PDs were decimated but Harney the Health Minister wasn’t.

    SF, Lab, Greens, Socialists attacked on health and got nowhere at a time of hospital chaos and a nurses’ strike.

    Ye have to get more sophisticated and credible on this one.

    For example, a properly costed, free all-Ireland 24 hr, helicopter to carcrash service should be investigated, and campaigned for, if it makes medical and financial sense.

  • kensei

    “it’s not bollocks, it’s the reality. Caoimhín O Caoláin has made it perfectly clear that Sinn Féin will only support a government with Fine Gael if they get a ministry.”

    Right, but why did you pick Justice. You know, out of all the things the Government does?

    “They won’t support a minority government. And who would blame them?

    SF supporting a minority government without any piece of cake simply isn’t going to happen. ”

    Of course they’ll say that. Just as FG has said they won’t take their support. But if it was to happen, both parties would have to move.

    The cake for SF could be the long term strategy. Being seen as, effectively, an extension of FF will hurt them in the long run, if it didn’t already last week. Minority Government grants them a bit more influence and the ability to pick battles with the chance to be seen as more competent, and it makes their negotiating price a little higher if they did better next time around.

    It isn’t going to happen, but I think that is the only deal that could work involving SF.

  • George

    Kensei,
    if they are to be government partners and due a ministry then why not justice? You can hardly say it’s alright to have O’Snodaigh in health but not Justice. He is Sinn Féin’s justice spokesman in the Dáil, is he not?

    If they are parliamentarians then they are parliamentarians. Frank Aitken, Chief of Staff of the Anti-Treaty Forces, was made Minister of Defence with control over the Free State Army when Dev came to power.

    It isn’t going to happen, but I think that is the only deal that could work involving SF.

    It isn’t going to happen and Sinn Féin should be glad that it isn’t going to happen. The only coherent statement that has come out of Sinn Féin in the last month came out of Caoimhín O Caoláin yesterday.

    Where did they hide him for the last month? Instead we got Mary Lou and Adams. They even kept the Deputy First Minister under wraps.

    They have at worst five years to put things right and are doomed if they support a minority government. I can hear it on the doorsteps of Ballyfermot now:

    “You want free health care but are propping up Mary Harney in government as she privatises it? Vote Sinn Féin? Ask me bollix.”

  • páid

    The thing is George, if you’re forever bound to a simple view of life in Ballyer, you’re not going anywhere electorally. The Socialists, Labour and SF are all fishing for yer man’s vote, that’s why the left is ‘overcrowded’.
    What about yer man’s daughters living in their mortgaged-to-the-hilt houses in Athboy and Kinnegad, who work in the Health Services and are glad someone is finally taking on the millionaire Consultants?
    SF will have to appeal to the Tiger cubs who aspire.

  • George

    Páid,
    I agree that they need to appeal to these people too and if they did Sinn Féin would be closer to the upper end of my 10-20 seat range.

    The reality is that the needs of those in Ballyer is pretty much the same as the mortgaged-to-the-hilt person in Athboy. It’s just the working-class rhetoric and classism that gets in the way most of the time.

    Sinn Féin can learn one thing from Fianna Fáil, it’s to drop the rhetoric and focus entirely on issues.

    For example, Sinn Féin’s policy on stamp duty (increasing mortgage relief instead) was emminently more sensible than Labour’s lifting of stamp duty for first-time buyers but they never got out of the blocks to sell it.

    I don’t know how long they had a position on this but they should have been selling this for the last two years, not two months after FG and Labour brought it up as an issue.

    Fianna Fáil increased mortgage relief last December and this was the slowburner they reignited in the last couple of weeks to counter FG and Labour’s horsing around with stamp duty.

    Result? They cleaned up in the commuter belt and places like Athboy, places where everyone said FF would be decimated. Genius.

    Sinn Féin need to learn from the masters and up their game because the aging Labour Party is there for the taking.

  • susan

    Páid, you are making some odd claims in your posts to Chris Gaskin.

    For example, you state “SF, Lab, Greens, Socialists attacked on health and got nowhere at a time of hospital chaos and a nurses’ strike.”

    You have deliberately not mentioned that the South’s second largest party, FG, attacked, attacked, attacked on health, and made stunning, historically unprecedented gains this election.

    In your earlier post, you state “The govt. won on Health reform, and Harney the wicked witch got re-elected in Dublin SW, a working-class constituency.

    This is because the electorate know that Mary Harney is doing the thankless task of tackling the utter and complete managerial and geographic mess and money-pit that is the Irish Health Service.”

    What hard evidence can you present that “the government” won on health reform? The consensus everywhere else seems to be it was the belief that Bertie at the helm was still the best way to prolong and protect the economic boom and home equity values.

    Ahern has been brilliant beyond belief — almost beyond human understanding — at using the PDs when necessary to further his own party and gov’t aims while the PDs take both the blame and the fall, whether it was containing the growth of SF south of the Border or making controversial choices on healthcare. Look at the voting in Harney’s own contituency .

    http://www.politics.ie/wiki/index.php?title=Dublin_Mid-West

    You claim the gov’t won on healthcare, but FF’s candidate got 4,000 more votes — almost double — that of Harney, and Harney was Minister for Health and in charge of health reform. On the first count, Harney just barely, barely squeaked ahead of the Labour and Green candidates by a few hundred votes, and both the Labour and Green candidates were also elected (an important little snippet of information).

    Why did Harney get re-elected? All sorts of reasons — she is intelligent and capable of getting things done. If you understand the croneyism of how things too often actually get done in the South — and Dublin Mid West voters certainly do — you also know that it is no harm to have someone with Harney’s connections and influence representing you, quite the contraryu.

    According to Harney’s own Wiki entry, “60% of respondents to an Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll in December 2006 said that the appointment of Ms. Harney to the position of Minister for Health had not led to any improvement in the health service.” The nurses of the INO — Irish Nurses Organisation — were with a few exceptions positive and optimistic when Harney was named Minister for Health in Septemer 2004, but by May 2006, the INO unanimously, unaniimously passed a motion of “no confidence.”(http://www.ino.ie/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=6145)

    And no, the INO’s dismay was not rooted in disputes over hours and money. More than any one else, it is Ireland’s nurses who daily see the human but still too often hidden victims of the growing disparities of the two tier system. This is not a fringe issue. An enormous percentage of the population — including far too many young mothers — does not yet have private health insurance. For anyone truly interested — and yes, I realise it doesn’t have the whiff of cordite that makes so many Slugger threads really fly — here are INO notes from a 2001 Killarney workshop held by and for nurses to discuss their growing dismay over the failures in patient care they see, and their own conflicts at not being more outspoken over it for fear of getting sacked: http://www.ino.ie/DesktopModules/Articles/ArticlesView.aspx?TabID=93&ItemID=2072&mid=7091

    That conference was in 2001. Sadly, these concerns and disparities are growing worse, not better. On George’s thread on FF’s aims for the North — aims I support by the way — I already c & p’d the dismaying gap between FF’s manifesto of 2002 and actual performance.

    I agree with Chris Gaskin’s analysis that a FF/Labour coalition right now would be the most desirable and most stable option for the Republic right now — but I am not yet at all optimistic there will be one.

  • susan
  • PaddyReilly

    Now come off it, George, SF didn’t exactly sweep the board, but in a PR system no party that wins any seats at all does so badly that it can’t hold the government to ransom on occasion.

    4 seats is not obviously not enough to demand the Ministry of Justice, but Ó Snodaigh seems to be just the person to be Aire na Gaeltachta.

    In England, for example, it was understood that very left-wing Labour MPs (when such things existed) were not put in charge of defense or anything like that.

    And the way things are at the moment, Mary Harney is not going to be privatising health care.

  • George

    PaddyReilly,
    the Justice portfolio didn’t amount to a hill of beans in this country until Charles Haughey weaved his magic.

    And before McDowell turned it into a one-man circus/crusade it was held by such luminaries as John O’Donoghue and Seán Doherty.

    The PDs got Health and Justice with 8 TDs so there is no reason why Sinn Féin wouldn’t get one of these ministries with 4.

    Or are you trying to tell me that Sinn Féin would be such pathetic negotiators that they could be fobbed off with O’Cuív’s job?

    And I wouldn’t be so sure about Mary Harney not continuing her agenda in health either. The bookies have FF/PD at 4/11 and they are seldom wrong.

  • kensei

    “if they are to be government partners and due a ministry then why not justice? You can hardly say it’s alright to have O’Snodaigh in health but not Justice. He is Sinn Féin’s justice spokesman in the Dáil, is he not?”

    What the fuck has principle got to do with forming coalition? It wouldn’t happen because a blind, deaf, mentally challenged hamster could see the potential for political mischief from opponents if any of the bigger parties agreed to it.

    Even beyond that, there is still a principled argument that says “Ok, we’re letting you in but we’re still cautious, so you can’t get near the sensitive stuff”.

    Please end this argument and stop embarrassing yourself.

    “If they are parliamentarians then they are parliamentarians. Frank Aitken, Chief of Staff of the Anti-Treaty Forces, was made Minister of Defence with control over the Free State Army when Dev came to power.”

    Things that also matter: timing context and circumstance.

    In many ways the argument you are putting forward is superior – all in or all out. But the reality doesn’t stack up.

    “They have at worst five years to put things right and are doomed if they support a minority government. I can hear it on the doorsteps of Ballyfermot now:

    “You want free health care but are propping up Mary Harney in government as she privatises it? Vote Sinn Féin? Ask me bollix.” ”

    The point of an FG coalition with some SF support would be so that the PDs aren’t required – two independents would do. How the hell could Labour and the PDs work together on Health? You are also not getting at what I think their best option would be – similar to what the Tories are doing in Scotland at the moment.

  • páid

    A very good post Susan.

    I know FG did well in the election but my point in not mentioning them was because they did not do so well by being on the ‘left’ of FF on health. (where SF and the rest of the ‘losers’ were).
    They dillydallyed on co-location and have no ideological problem with it. In fact you and I, would maybe agree that FG would carry on where Harney left off left to their own devices.

    And I suspect that Ms. Harney would agree with the 60% who see no improvement in the Health Services.

    But the Health Boards have been got rid of.

    The HSE has been set up.

    A gun has been pointed at the Consultants, and gold is ready to be stuffed in their mouths.

    Which is a good start, in my book.

    But with 50 admin grades, hundreds of incompatible legacy IT systems, scores of directly-funded voluntary bodies with their own structures, a massive building problem, staff shortages in some places and overstaffing in others, to rationalise it will take time.

    And I accept that nurses are worried about patients. Unlike like most Irish workers, they’re not afraid to strike thankfully. But for more money, and less hours.

  • George

    Kensei,
    I don’t see how I am “embarrassing myself” by stating the obvious that others are blithly ignoring.

    Even beyond that, there is still a principled argument that says “Ok, we’re letting you in but we’re still cautious, so you can’t get near the sensitive stuff”.

    Every ministry is a sensitive post. This is sovereign, independent government with legislating powers we are talking about here. The Republic’s electorate don’t think of their elected representatives as being “trustworthy” enough for transport but not for justice.

    Sinn Féin can’t and won’t be eased in gently, they will be thrown in at the deep end. As usual, Fianna Fáil are already way ahead of everyone else in the game by slamming Sinn Féin on their policies and not their trustwortyness.

    Once they’ve burnt off their next coalition partner as they re-enter orbit in 2012, FF should have the Sinn Féin heat shield in place for the run-up to 2016.

    That’s of course if they don’t convince Labour of the merits of a FF/Labour coalition that with the size of their majority would be a virtual banker to be in power until 2017.

    “The point of an FG coalition with some SF support would be so that the PDs aren’t required – two independents would do. How the hell could Labour and the PDs work together on Health? You are also not getting at what I think their best option would be – similar to what the Tories are doing in Scotland at the moment.”

    Reality: Fianna Fáil will be in the next government. Everything else is smoke and mirrors to, among other things, keep Labour in check and prevent the dreaded FF/Lab nightmare. Enda Kenny is doing what he thinks he has to do but the world and its mother knows that he will not be Taoiseach and there will be no minority government supported by SF.

    But let’s look through the smoke because it is useful as an indicator for the future.

    Fine Gael have categorically stated that they won’t go into power with Sinn Féin and as far as I know haven’t even talked to them.

    Sinn Féin have categorically stated (at last) that they will not prop up any minority government from the opposition benches.

    Fianna Fáil have also ruled out Sinn Féin, but on policy rather than worthiness issues. In other words, if SF can put together something that can be sold to the electorate, FF will do business in 2012.

  • IJP

    Susan

    Yes, as far as issues were key at all, health was the key one – FF managed to shirk it, FG managed to nail it.

    FG, attacked, attacked, attacked on health, and made stunning, historically unprecedented gains this election.

    Well, apart from the previous time they did it, when they actually gained even more seats.

    But the point stands and is well made.

  • kensei

    “Every ministry is a sensitive post. This is sovereign, independent government with legislating powers we are talking about here. The Republic’s electorate don’t think of their elected representatives as being “trustworthy” enough for transport but not for justice.”

    What the electorate think is irrelevant to the discussion. the election is over. What matter is any political party stupid enough to set themselves up for such easy flack. SF in Justice generates more light and heat than Transport, whatever way you want to spin it.

    “Reality: Fianna Fáil will be in the next government. Everything else is smoke and mirrors to, among other things, keep Labour in check and prevent the dreaded FF/Lab nightmare. Enda Kenny is doing what he thinks he has to do but the world and its mother knows that he will not be Taoiseach and there will be no minority government supported by SF.”

    Highly probable.

    “Fianna Fáil have also ruled out Sinn Féin, but on policy rather than worthiness issues. In other words, if SF can put together something that can be sold to the electorate, FF will do business in 2012.”

    You are assuming the 30th Dail lasts until 2012, which if the government is FF + PD + a few independents is by no means guaranteed. I would also say FG would do business too in 2012, if the circumstances were right.

  • PaddyReilly

    The PDs got Health and Justice with 8 TDs so there is no reason why Sinn Féin wouldn’t get one of these ministries with 4.

    Or are you trying to tell me that Sinn Féin would be such pathetic negotiators that they could be fobbed off with O’Cuív’s job?

    I think Kensei has already answered much of this. 4 votes is 4 votes, but to be perfectly honest, to get any ministry for that is pushing it, and to ask for the one you are least suited to is absurd. Even SF know that.

  • susan

    “a blind, deaf, mentally challenged hamster”

    Alright, which one of you blackguards blew my cover?

    Thank you páid and IJP for the kind words of support, much appreciated. And yes, páid, you and I would agree that left to their own devices, FG would almost certainly carry on where Harney left off — and probably on much more besides. Labour — specifically Howlin and Higgins — know the system inside out, and are capable of mucking in and protecting those most in need of protection in the swirl of reform — I don’t know what Labour can or will accomplish in opposition, frankly,

  • George

    PaddyReilly,
    with four seats, Sinn Féin would be guaranteed a ministry if they were to go into government. The PDs also got the post of Tánaiste with just 4 TDs in 1997. Why do you think Sinn Féin would settle for so much less?

  • susan

    And if FG do have the will and the wherewithall to prove me wrong, and they do deliver on healthcare, Godspeed to them, seldom will I have been happier to be proved wrong.

  • George

    Kensei,
    What I am trying to say is that if Sinn Féin can’t be trusted with Justice, they can’t be trusted at the cabinet table.

    I think you are wrong in your view that Fine Gael will do a deal in 2012 because they haven’t prepared their voters for it. Listen to way they are going on compared to Fianna Fáil.

    They are still in denial that Sinn Féin could ever come into the equation and this election hasn’t helped change that view. If anything, it has reinforced it.

    Fianna Fáil are already preparing their voters for the eventuality and will be one step ahead of the game come the time.

    Susan,
    personally, I thought Ahern tore Kenny’s health plans to shreds when he pointed out that no child born today would benefit from their free health care for under-fives policy. Not exactly what young mothers wanted to hear a week before they voted.

    Kenny was also unable to state how he would roll this out.

  • kensei

    “What I am trying to say is that if Sinn Féin can’t be trusted with Justice, they can’t be trusted at the cabinet table.”

    Sure. Principled and all. The real world is less likely to work like that, unless I’m unaware of FF and FG being politically incompetent enough to give the opposition free hits.

    “I think you are wrong in your view that Fine Gael will do a deal in 2012 because they haven’t prepared their voters for it. Listen to way they are going on compared to Fianna Fáil.”

    5 years to prepare. In fact, I’d say the situation and tone come the next election campaign matter more than anything else.

    “They are still in denial that Sinn Féin could ever come into the equation and this election hasn’t helped change that view. If anything, it has reinforced it.”

    Really? They might look at those 4 votes and wonder if they have taken FF’s line they might be in government.

    “Fianna Fáil are already preparing their voters for the eventuality and will be one step ahead of the game come the time. ”

    If FF get a significant setback and SF hold the balance – and this election shows even 2 seats can do that – they might not be keen to back up a rejected government. It’s the most likely option, but SF would greatly benefit from the ability to form coalitions with both main parties.

  • susan

    George, are you sure FF is preparing its voters to welcome SF into the equation five years from hence? FF are consummate politicians — they are aware of the greying of many of their pols, and are peerless in getting elder voters to the polls. I find it doubtful they are out looking for ways to increase competion for the votes of younger, republican-minded voters.

    You seem to be saying FF is prepared to go into gov’t with SF if their economic policies move from left closer to centre — among other things, understood — but if SF did so they would then be in more direct competition with FF for the same younger, middle class republican minded voters. SF will downpedal criticisms of FF if they believe a coalition is on the horizon, even five years hence, and FF knows this.

  • George

    Kensei,
    Fine Gael like to think of themselves as the moral conscience of Ireland (Republic), above what it perceives as the dirty power-is-where-it’s-all-at ethos of Fianna Fáil.

    Hence Garret the Good told Tony Gregory about all the good things he would do while Charlie the Bad simply offered him 60 million for his constituency. We all know who Tony went for.

    That’s just the way FG are and always have been. They would never go into power with Sinn Féin now and I can’t see them changing before 2012. They might change between now and then but I can’t see it happening so soon.

    PJ Mara (Director of FF elections) said that he told his people a long time ago to forget about Sinn Féin as they wouldn’t figure in this election.

    Fianna Fáil set the tone that Sinn Féin didn’t matter and that’s how it turned out to be.

    Sinn Féin will benefit by having coherent policies that they can sell and a ministerial post that people agree would have to be a pre-condition for going into government.

    We know what ministries the Greens would be interested in taking, we know what Labour would take but I honestly haven’t a clue what ministries would be high on Sinn Féin’s agenda and why they would want them.

    At the moment, we have Sinn Féin saying they are ready for power but not saying what they would with it. That is where they are falling down, not on the number of possible coalition partners.

  • kensei

    “At the moment, we have Sinn Féin saying they are ready for power but not saying what they would with it. That is where they are falling down, not on the number of possible coalition partners.”

    They are falling down on a lot of things, George. That’s only the most important. Having only one potential coalition partner and it being the main party in the government is another.

  • George

    Susan,
    Irish society can’t tolerate a situation where any party, including Sinn Féin, is automatically excluded from power, regardless of ability or policy.

    Accordingly, if Sinn Féin get a clear mandate on clear, workable and reasonably popular policy issues and have bright, intelligent people in place capable of implementing them then I can see Fianna Fáil doing a deal in 2012.

    They had none of that in 2007 and were therefore irrelevant. Basically, it’s more in the hands of Sinn Féin to take than it is Fianna Fáil’s to give.

    If SF have something to sell, FF will buy.

  • PaddyReilly

    The PDs also got the post of Tánaiste with just 4 TDs in 1997. Why do you think Sinn Féin would settle for so much less?

    Because that was a 2 party coalition and this would need to be a 4 party coalition, with independents.

    Because they are realists.

    Because they have been, not wiped out, not badly beaten, but certainly severely disappointed and ending up on the winning side in any shape or form would be better than being sidelined.

    Because that would frighten and enfuriate the Unionists.

    Because being in goverment North and South would accentuate the process of normalisation.

  • George

    PaddyReilly,
    your reply is looking at it from a totally northern perspective rather than where we are talking about – the Irish Republic.

    Because that was a 2 party coalition and this would need to be a 4 party coalition, with independents.

    There isn’t a hope in hell of Fine Gael going into power with Sinn Féin and even if for the sake of argument we say they were, they would still demand and get a ministerial post with 4 TDs.

    Because they are realists.

    See above.

    Because they have been, not wiped out, not badly beaten, but certainly severely disappointed and ending up on the winning side in any shape or form would be better than being sidelined.

    One of the main reasons Sinn Féin were so “badly beaten” was because they came across as completely transparent opportunists, ready to change any policy on the hoof if it gave them a better chance of getting into power. Corporation tax, for example. This despite both FF and FG categorically stating they wouldn’t go in with them.

    And you think they should continue down this road even though everyone in the Republic knows that what is going on now is a mere sideshow to the main event – Fianna Fáil returning to power?

    They should be learning lessons, not repeating mistakes.

    Because that would frighten and enfuriate the Unionists.

    Hardly a vote-winner in the Irish Republic that one. In fact, a sure-fire vote loser.

    Because being in goverment North and South would accentuate the process of normalisation.

    Once again hardly a vote-winner in the Republic where people probably think their process of normalisation began around 1924 and ended in 1932.

  • susan

    George, has Ahern as leader of FF or as Taoiseach made any sort of public statements in line with your 3:34 pm post? Because while I remember the photos of Ahern welcoming Ian Paisley to Farmleigh House, I just remember a vague announcement about policies being “poles apart” when he ruled out any coalition with SF. It was a shrewd tactic and timing on FF’s part, but I’m not convinced it was more than that.

    I don’t doubt FF would do a deal with SF in 2012 if it is in their best interest, but I am unconvinced of your claim that they are “already preparing their voters for the eventuality.” Any more than I would expect any other political party to be smoothing the way to welcome more competition for its voters.

    George, a question you might be able to answer for me. Obviously forming a gov’t is Item One on the agenda right now for FF, but once that is achieved, how much urgency do you feel healthcare is right now within the party? Some gains have been made, but according to the 2006 Euro Consumers Index, Ireland came in 25th out of 26 in the rankings, ahead only of Lithuania.

    “In five categories, covering 28 performance indicators, Ireland scores 359 points out of a potential 750.

    The survey points out that Irish waiting times are long, medical outcomes are bleak, that there is a high level of infant deaths, and a high number MRSA infections in Irish hospitals.

    Ireland also fares badly in terms of patients’ rights.”

    An interesting thing to me about the survey is the vast differences within the healthcare systems of the top ranking nations, and, equally important, the different ways they’ve found of financing an excellent standard of care.

    http://www.finfacts.com/irelandbusinessnews/publish/article_10006355.shtml

  • George

    Susan,
    Ahern ruled it out at the launch of the Fianna Fáil manifesto.

    Q: Will you go into coalition with Sinn Féin?
    A: No. No.

    Virtually every FF minister reiterated it during the campaign. I can’t think of one who didn’t at one time say FF would not go into coalition with SF.

    On preparing voters, Fianna Fáil want to be in control of this process from the nationalist/Republican side. They will build the bridge to unionism on one side and to Sinn Féin on the other.

    Regarding health, of course it’s important if for no other reason than the billions it is swallowing but getting into government is the overriding aim.

    If Labour don’t go in with FF we will see Harney continue in Health and co-location will become a reality.

    Who will do a better job? You are asking the wrong person.

  • susan

    George, I think you misunderstood my question. FF’s statements that it will not go into coalition are well-publicised, what I was wondering is whether FF or Ahern have made any public pronouncements along the line of your 3:34 pm post stating “If Sinn Féin get a clear mandate on clear, workable and reasonably popular policy issues and have bright, intelligent people in place capable of implementing them then I can see Fianna Fáil doing a deal in 2012.”

  • susan

    Thank you to the very nice individuals who’ve forwarded me information on the upcoming health summit in Dublin:

    http://www.sbpconferences.com/samplestores/advanced/selectevent.asp

    It certainly sounds worthwhile, but sadly it conflicts with my daughers’ dance recital.

    I nominate Chris Gaskin and Páid to attend, and report back to Slugger’s. Chris can push for more truly universal coverage, including both more hospitals and more access to primary care, and Páid can figure out how we can get multiple competing insurers to keep costs down for both taxpayers and health consumers.

    Seems simple enough. ;o)

  • susan

    I believe John Gormley is still the Greens health spokesperson, and I wonder how aggressively the Greens would pursue the Health portfolio if they do go into gov’t with FF?

    I’m angry and disappointed Labour is (probably) not going to do a deal with FF, and I blame Rabbitte. Not to knock the Greens, but I feel healthcare would be more of a priority to Labour, and they are more seasoned in doing business both with and against FF.

  • susan

    I do realise that four consecutive posts on a Slugger O’Toole thread is proof, not just evidence, that you have crossed a threshold into borderline obsessive, and I have agreed to voluntarily seek help. Nonetheless, before I leave,I did find a good statement on healthcare on John Gormley’s website.

    Deputy Gormley said: “There are very few people on the front lines of medicine who advocate co-location. Indeed many respected health experts have described the idea as ‘cloud cuckoo land’. If we want to improve our public health service then we must invest in public beds, not private, for-profit hospitals, which will undoubtedly cherry-pick the least-complicated and most profitable procedures, leaving the most difficult tasks to public hospitals. This move will also result in higher premiums for the privately insured. If insurance costs continue to rise, then more people will be forced back into a seriously depleted public system. The Green Party is making it very clear today that we will scrap these plans. It would appear from some reports that there is also little enthusiasm in some quarters of the HSE for this hair-brained scheme.

    “Many of the problems of our health service can be traced back to a lack of acute public beds, intensive care unit beds and step-down staff. The Green Party is committed to implementing the 2001 health strategy, which the FF-PD Government has totally abandoned. ”

    more:

    http://www.johngormley.com/wp/category/press-releases/

  • Southern Observer

    ”What a laugh FF and FG wrestling for the votes of 2 crooks Lowry and Flynn – gombeenery of the highest order”
    As Des O’Malley said ‘they may have sleaze on their hands.They don’t have blood on their hands’.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Southern Observer

    Perhaps you are unaware of who the combatants were in the very Oirish civil war.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Adam Maguire

    if you check out Wikipedia section “Fianna Fáil corruption” you will see that Liam Lawlor “was also accused of corrupt practices in relation to planning and development. He was jailed repeatedly for refusal to cooperate with the tribunal” and the other quare fellah was Ray Burke who was described by the tribunal judge as corrupt, and was jailed in January 2005 for tax offences and there are loads of other quare fellahs who should be in prison.

    The fact the quarefellahs of FF are get re-elected is a shocking indictment of the irish electorate.

  • PaddyReilly

    PaddyReilly, your reply is looking at it from a totally northern perspective rather than where we are talking about – the Irish Republic.

    I am trying to see things from a SF point of view. And from the point of view of every other party except FF.

    they would still demand and get a ministerial post with 4 TDs.

    But not Tánaiste. Unless there are to be 3 Tánaistes. And not Minister of Justice. Gaeltacht, maybe.

    they came across as completely transparent opportunists

    I thought that’s what all politicians were. The reason they didn’t get more votes is because the border is only an issue within 25 miles from the border, and because on other issues someone else had got there first. But to get one sixth of the votes that FF did, when FF have been in the business for 80 odd years, seems to indicate that they got something right.

    Once again hardly a vote-winner in the Republic where people probably think their process of normalisation began around 1924 and ended in 1932.

    1932 isnt the last last the RA came in from the cold. What about 1948. And 1994? I don’t see that SF are trying to win votes right at this point in time, we’ve just had an election. They would be better placed to campaign if they’d been in government for 5 years and the world hadn’t collapsed.

    I repeat, FG’s interest is to go into government with SF, and vice versa. You seem to view things from a FF perspective. SF isn’t there just to serve as disposeable spare tyre for FF when all the current ones are wasted.

    But at the end of the day, I have to concede that this is unlikely. It’s more in the Greens’ interest to go into government with FF than FG.

  • Southern Observer

    I know people who insist they will emigrate if SF ever get into govt..(here).
    Sammy, I still haven’t figured out whether you are an extreme nationalist or an extreme unionist.
    Incidentally there is an interesting thread developing on politics.ie
    http://www.politics.ie/viewtopic.php?t=22397&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Southern Observer

    Now talking of quare fellahs – the boy Deasy is up there with quarest – or perhaps it might be his dad? has he been around for a couple of decades?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Paddy Reilly,

    “I repeat, FG’s interest is to go into government with SF, and vice versa.” I agree with you I cant see it happening. But by way of compensation it will bug the hell out of Enda that becuase he tried to get more votes by being anti Sinn Fein he now cant get into government because of it. He is too boring and dull to be Teashop anyway.

    It would be interesting to hear if Labour and Greens would be prepared to be in government with SF – have they actually said?