Labour and Sinn Fein pact for Senators…

There may be a way back for Pearse Doherty, one of Sinn Fein’s brightest new hopes for the future. pulls together several reports that Labour and Sinn Fein are talking about a pact that might see each gain an extra Senator. In SF’s case that would be their only one. Stephen Collins in the Irish Times details the maths:

A Sinn Féin source confirmed that contacts were continuing between the two parties: “My understanding is that a deal hasn’t been agreed yet but we need to find 30 extra votes for Pearse from somewhere.” Mr Doherty is running on the 11-seat agriculture panel where he is guaranteed the 58 Sinn Féin councillors’ votes but he will need about 30 further votes to be elected.

Labour, with 125 votes, should have 30 or so to spare on the same panel after electing their own senator. By contrast, Labour is short about 30 votes for a seat on the cultural and educational panel but Sinn Féin support would guarantee the election of Mr White.

It’s not been an uncommon technique in the past, and it has brought together some unusual bedfellows in the past:

Parties have often traded votes in past Seanad elections. In 1992 the Progressive Democrats and the Workers’ Party entered a voting pact that gave each party a senator. In 1997 and 2002 the PDs voted for Fianna Fáil candidates and in return were given Seanad seats among the Taoiseach’s 11 nominees.

NOt what the party might have wanted for itself, but it’s a potentially useful and intelligent platform for the bright young Donegal man.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty