Sinn Fein hopeful of first Senator…

It looks like the first part of the Labour/Sinn Fein voting pact turned up trumps for Labour’s Alex White on the Cultural and Educational Panel. We’ll see shortly whether Labour is as generous the other way round. According to An Phoblacht, “Sinn Féin has 54 city and county councillors and four TDs, giving it 58 votes in the Seanad election. Pearse Doherty is standing in the Agricultural panel where the quota is expected to be around 90 votes”. Few, it seems, are happy with this arcane system. But despite several committee reports, reform has been thus far been languishing in the legislative long grass.

Update: RTE reporting that Doherty has passed quota…

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  • Frank Sinistra

    Mick,

    I’m surprised you managed to blog this without mentioning the INM, Sindo, misinformation exercise.

    Your choice.

    A media group telling lies in an attempt to influence an electoral process, no matter how weak, is surely worthy of comment?

    INM tried to claim this deal was tits up, they lied. And they’lll get away with it again.

    Truth, media…in your dreams with Sir Tony.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Though SF’s endorsement of the elitist Seanad only runs 2nd to the left wing sellout of the week after Joe Higgins decision to become a gimp for the Daily fascist/Mail.

    The Left ground in Ireland becomes more and more an open goal for anyone willing to take the ball.

    Seanad, sinners…shame.

  • Crow

    Interesting to see any of the eleven appointed by the Taoiseach have a northern background. Maurice Hayes was nominated in 2002. In light of the new dispensation, perhaps it is time for a big ‘U’ unionist; Cecil Walker, Roy Beggs, Jackie McDonald(?).

  • Bertie

    Crow

    If Cecil Walker is one of the big ‘U’ Unionists elected to the Seanad I will look forward to his inauguration. However, I suspect his election will confirm Fine Gael’s suspicion that there is a need for urgent reform of the Seanad election process because some of the bodies nominating candidates are “virtually…………….uncontactable”.

  • Dec

    If Cecil Walker is one of the big ‘U’ Unionists elected to the Seanad I will look forward to his inauguration. However, I suspect his election will confirm Fine Gael’s suspicion that there is a need for urgent reform of the Seanad election process because some of the bodies nominating candidates are “virtually…………….uncontactable”.

    In the case of Cecil Walker, you’ll find some of the nominees are “entirely…uncontactable”.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Crow, Sir Cecil has sadly passed on.

  • Wee slabber

    I have noted the dearth of coverage of Sir Tony’s “misinformation” newspapers. A true scandal in modern journalism, but seemingly accepted by most commentators as an acceptable norm. And so it continues…

  • Cruimh

    How important is the Seanad in FS politics?

  • URQUHART

    The only good that MIGHT come of this is that those involved in SDLP politics in the North might finally realise that clinging on to a relationship with Irish Labour is entirely pointless.

  • Cormac


    How important is the Seanad in FS politics?

    Posted by Cruimh

    Not very! The Seanad exists to suggest (and sometimes hold up) legislation, although this work is often done by TDs. Not sure what else it does…

    DeValera temporarily abolished it at one point and managed to do alright without it.

    I remember sitting in on a Seanad session during a school tour of Leinster House. It was one of the most boring hours of my life – and considering some of the teachers I had, that’s saying something!

  • Bigger Picture

    Why was Walker made a knight in the first place?? Worst voting and attendance record through the nineties??!! All Mp’s should be knighted by that standard lol

  • cormac

    And at times the Dail is not equally boring? The point is the second chamber is undemocratic and cannot be allowed to continue to be so. I wonder if true democrats should accept nomination to this chamber, after all as you wrote it can hold up legislation if it so chooses.

    Frank S is absolutely correct, the left in the south is wide open for the taking, if only SF were to stop dreaming about coalitions and the presidency it could be theirs. if not it is time for a United Front between the smaller organization like éirígí, SP, etc etc.

  • Yokel

    Quota’s eh..how appropriate for Agriculture

  • Cormac

    mickhall:

    I can confirm that even by subdued (Southern) Irish parliamentary standards the Seanad is indeed a terrible bore! 🙂

    The Seanad can hold up legislation, however it seems to have been politically neutered to such an extent (thanks to DeValera’s ‘reforms’ – ie reinstating it with less powers post 1937/8 because its previous incarnation was giving him grief) that one wonders what the point of it is.

    It has been most useful IMHO in providing a voice for Unionists – Sam McCaugherty and Gordon Wilson were most interesting people (although in McCaugherty’s case I don’t think he defined himself as a Unionist, although he grew up in a Unionist tradition). I understand most Unionists would balk at accepting Seanad nominations but it would be interesting. Anyone agree?

    Perhaps an automatic seat for anyone elected MP in Northern Ireland, or a member of their party? Not like the Seanad has much power anyway…

  • Garibaldy

    Somebody called Maurice Ross made this point on Indymedia which I found quite interesting.

    “However the most interesting aspect of Sinn Féin’s vote was the transfers went to Fianna Fáil by the margin of 77%. Of Doherty’s surplus of 13.66 votes, 10.52 went to FF. The other votes went to opposition parties as Labour ‘lent’ votes to SF. This is further evidence of Sinn Fein backing the Government in these Seanad elections.”

    Maybe the Provos have their eyes on coalition after the next election and are starting buttering FF up early

  • I suspect SF are whistling in the wind looking for a coalition with FF. If it came to it, they’d let FG take the strain. But as one insider told me recently – there is only room for one ‘Republican Party’, and they are determined that it ain’t going to be SF.

    This is, however, a good result for one of SF’s brightest upcomers. He has the potential to more successfully saddle partition than Adams ever will. Whatever the limitations of the Seanad, all parties us it to push their bright young things.

    This deal has way more value for Pearse Doherty and SF than it has for Labour and Alex White.

    Note to Frank and others: an occasional touch of the ball would be good!!!

  • Cruimh

    “This deal has way more value for Pearse Doherty and SF than it has for Labour and Alex White.”

    So what is the big deal about SF getting someone in Seanad if it doesn’t do a lot? Publicity ?

    Incidentally, is it a paid post ?

  • CTN

    Cru- yes but not as much as TD’s.

    This is a good result for a good guy- unlike the dreadful O’Snodaigh Pearse is articulate, intelligent and hasn’t had his posters found in IRA getaway vehicles but as usual the blundering McGuinness/Adams autocracy have struck again by profiling a candidate who was on the up anyway thus taking their eyes of SF’s meltdown in Dublin thus allowing it to worsen.

    Perhaps Adams will bore us all with a new book – The rise and fall of Dublin Sinn Fein.

    What was the name of that pub he worked in Belfast again?…

  • Cruimh

    “Cru- yes but not as much as TD’s. ”

    Shouldn’t be an issue as I imagine he’ll get keeping the same as TDs keep and give the balance to the party? I was just wondering if it was a means to keep him in full time politics rather than have to seek full time employment outside the political arena.

  • CTN

    Cru re-“give the balance to the party”

    In fairness the shinners do give their wages back and live on expenses but for some other illogical reason they have not expressed this on the bulk of their electoral literature in previous elections.

    I think he will remain in full time politics as many shinners hope he takes over from the hamfisted grizzler sooner rather than later…

  • A N Other

    Cru,

    The salary is c€60k + expenses…

    Not bad if you can get it, ‘twould go along way towards the mortgage on a holiday home!!

    Brian Hayes (FG) used the Senate/Seanad as a stepping stone at the last election to reclaim the seat he lost in Dublin SW in 2002 to Sean Crowe.

  • Cruimh

    CTN – I wasn’t having a dig – I meant that he would keep the same amount as TDs do – and as such it would be no personal disadvantage to him that TDs are paid more than Senators.

  • CTN

    If Pearse was elected as an MEP like he almost was 3 years ago can the Shinners co-opt another replacement if he leaves for Brussels or must it be by election?

  • CTN

    I knew that Cru- I qualified my comment with the “in fairness” preface as it is I who often digs McGuinness/Adams and wished it to be known that whilst these pair of cowboys are repugnant like many other shinners SF also has many very decent people and admirable egalitarian policies…

  • An Lochlannach

    “Brian Hayes (FG) used the Senate/Seanad as a stepping stone at the last election to reclaim the seat he lost in Dublin SW in 2002 to Sean Crowe.”

    Yes, and being a Senator didn’t do Joe McHugh (Fine Gael) any harm in Donegal either. It gave him a profile and allowed him to work the constituency on a full time basis.

    Doherty’s election means that Sinn Féin can provide an articulate, young spokesperson for media appearances. Remains to be seen if the Sindo’s hysteria about invading Northern hordes extends to Donegal. And wasn’t he born in Scotland? Don’t be suprised to see John A. Murphy / Kevin Myers / the Cruiser pen another classic along the lines ‘How dare this British politician tell us our business?’

  • “Brian Hayes (FG) used the Senate/Seanad as a stepping stone at the last election to reclaim the seat he lost in Dublin SW in 2002 to Sean Crowe.”

    “Yes, and being a Senator didn’t do Joe McHugh (Fine Gael) any harm in Donegal either. It gave him a profile and allowed him to work the constituency on a full time basis.”

    Of course you are both correct and it is why Pearse is being put in their by SF. But does this not confirm that this institution has outlived its usefulness if it every had any. As the second chamber is nor there to be used as a kinder garden for budding politicians or to provide the cash so they do not have to go out and get a proper job like the rest of us. Pray tell what useful experience could a young politician gain by sitting around with these boring old farts, that they could not gain whilst doing a proper piece of work.

    Come on guys the only viable argument for an unelected chamber is that you would get people within it who have had experience in a mirage of jobs/professions, hence the categories.

    imo this argument is pretty weak, but the way the parties nominate to this assembly is a discgrace. More jobs for the boys[how many women get nominated?]

    Do you not just love politicos, what principled people they are, by the way Mick F that was intended to be in the balls so thats all right!

  • CTN

    This thread is now tiresome- over and out…

  • redhaze

    “In fairness the shinners do give their wages back and live on expenses”

    Not strictly true CTN. They do not give their wages back and live on expenses they take an ‘average industrial wage’ and give the rest to the party.

    But tryign to find out what this ‘average industrial wage’ amounts to is virtually impossible. Is it the official national avergae industrial wage or do they decide upon another figure.

    I could be wrong but I thought I heard recently that the average industrial wage in the 26 counties is €35,000.

  • Cruimh

    is their average industrial wage taken net or gross?

  • hib

    I don’t think anyone is sure just of how much they give to SF and how much the get back from the govts as expenses as its not been on any of their literature.

    Its not strictly true either that they live on an industrial wage as this is supplemented by expenses.

    The whole financial give and take area of SF politicans wages is an ambiguous area.

    Perhaps if they cleared it up they might slow down their losses in Dublin a most recent quote I got was over a vote an hour between the last elections!

    Not much good electing a senator in Donegal….

  • peter

    Indeed we are not sure how much they get back from SF as expenses!

  • Cruimh

    Peter – expenses could be worth having – after all one SF councillor was all set to go into the property game 😉