Is a general election imminent in the south?

The Sunday Business Post goes into some detail on the degree to which the Labour party seems to be getting ready for what looks like an historically high tide in the polls in the Republic. Even to the extent of running a conference on ‘winning the west’ where they have traditionally weak.

More interesting is their Back Room column which speculates that in fact, the realists within Fianna Fail may already be calcutating that this could be the best moment to go to the country, on the basis that recovery is still some years away and that losing a general election now (rather than 2012) as a party of government gives them a chance of fighting at the head of a renewed party in 2015.

That would, so the logic goes, force the current opposition into a three or four year period of firefighting many of the intractable problems bequeathed the country by, er, the Fianna Fail (et al) years. “Back Room” even goes as far giving us a date for the next general election: November 25.

Unlikely to prevent a kicking for Fianna Fail, it could (“BR” speculates) have the effect of catching Labour at the high of its electoral power and pushing the better resourced Fine Gaelers out to the side, with Fianna Fail then moving in with whichever of the two cohabiters is more ready for divorce by the time of the 32nd Dail in 2015.

Convoluted? Maybe. But it is not hard to see that FF have a limited number of cards FF can play at this stage. An organised exit in which you retain the advantage, as opposed to the death of a thousand cuts currently on the cards makes some sense. Meanwhile, I shall be putting that date in the diary, for the next couple of weeks at least.

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  • White Horse

    Pure speculation, Mick.

  • barnshee

    Pure speculation, Mick.

    Yes -but is it accurate speculation?

  • pippakin

    Not sure about November. I think it might be next Spring but will be delighted if it is earlier.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    I suspect the FF instinct of holding on to power until they are beaten out of Leinster House with a stick will prevail. Their best policy will be to force the Labour Party out on to open ground of debating the cuts and hope that the Plain People of Ireland wont believe the Labour party have the stomach to deliver the badly needed and unpalatable economic medicine.

    Patrick Power esquire has an election this year at 20/1 and that probably reflects the fact that none of the ‘cute hoors’ in FF actually believe it.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Apologies just realised 20/1 are the odds for the next UK. Odds are 4/1 for next Irish election for this year.

  • Ulick

    I guess you missed the article on the front page reporting FF postponement of their ard fheis until the spring fueling speculation its to be the launch pad for an election in 2011. Sounds like more realistic speculation to me though the Sign Fein legal action due to be heard this week could force a few hands.

  • Greenflag

    Can’t see it this year .The eh ‘anger’ has’nt peaked yet and there’s no sign of any significant economic recovery on the horizon . To quit now would seem like political ‘cowardice’ in the face of the nation’s problems. Running away from your own at least partly creation is not a vote winner long or even short term . The danger being that a ‘coalition party’ could end up wearing the oak leaves of a recovery triumph -even if that now appears improbable.

    Next spring is probably still the best bet . Labour Party hopefuls have in the past also come so close to the magical 20% plus breakthrough that on the one occasion when they were on the crest of a ‘socialist wave’ 1969 the breakthrough never materialised and when they eventually did get to Government in William Cosgraves Coalition the Labour MInister Jim Tully did a constituency carve up in Dublin which in theory was supposed to deliver a dozen extra seats in Dublin but instead ended up with the Dublin Labour TD’s being able to fit into one taxi as they returned to the house .

    There is still no ‘agreement’ about what kind of a government FG/Labour would provide . Kenny says the leadership crisis is over but nobody believes that for a moment meanwhile Gilmore’s past associations with the Official IRA/Workers Party/Democratic Left etc have yet to get the ‘airing ‘ they should be getting if an election were imminent . On the other hand given RTE ‘s Labour bias he Mr Gilmore may get a relatively safe ‘passage’

    While not in principle opposed to a new coalition I’m not yet convinced that they won’t flub the opportunity.

    FF will in any event have a change of leadership before there is a general election -of that much you can be certain .

  • pippakin


    We agree Spring is the most likely time for the next election and that Cowen will be spending more time with his family before it happens. I think Lenihan is his likely successor, and he is, or would be, very difficult to beat.

    I know Gilmore has been round the block a few times but should that be held against him? Surely if he were just another opportunist he would have tried for one of the big two? I hope Labour does well in the election, they may bring new ideas and even if we are lucky that rarest of all political birds: integrity.

  • Greenflag

    For anyone who is interested in the performance of an earlier Coalition Government in the Republic here’s a piece which reveals the ‘gorey detail ‘

    At 19.30 in Cosgrave moves into contention for oldest stand up comedian on the planet – At 30 minutes he reveals the practical cooperation that existed between North and South in the late 1940’s and early 50’s .

    At 32 minutes he speaks up for the Army of the Republic and its Garda as is only to be expected as is his his crusty dismissal of ‘unionist ‘ huggers 🙂

    Great character and some good wry humour and at the end he even welcomes the current NI Attorney General Mr John Larkin to the launch.

    I ‘d say if FG could find a leader along William Cosgrave’s lines they might be doing a whole lot better than 24% in the polls .

  • Greenflag

    ‘I know Gilmore has been round the block a few times but should that be held against him?’

    No and I would’nt . His political opponents will as you well know use every trick in the book to undermine his new found ‘popularity’ . I have met the man personally although it’s many moons ago and before he became a TD . He’s a good guy and a shrewd politician. I can see him becoming more of a Taoiseach than Mr Kenny . But from neither of the opposition parties do I hear of any practical policy alternatives which might be one reason why FF are offering ‘consultation’ 🙂

    To me that sounds like the blind leading the etc 🙁

  • pippakin


    I’ve not met him. I don’t want to. I would start to find fault! You are right he has not yet experienced the full assault but it will come. I think if all he has done is be extremely selective he will get away with it. More worrying is any commitment he has to the unions. I’m not sure RTE et al are a problem. If they support him the claws will be sheathed, at least until after the election.

    I can’t think of another leader who could challenge him. I like Kenny but not a hope. FF have Lenihan and under different circumstances I would say no contest but I don’t think even he can rise above the mess FF are in.

    it would do FF good to sit out the four years or so.

    What would not be acceptable is some sort of stitch up before the election that would commit Ireland to economic policies (doing as they are told) that the electorate have not approved of.

  • wee buns

    I predict ‘death of a thousand cuts’ as it would appear nobody in FF has the intelligence to opt for ‘organized exit’.

  • Always the more dangerous path to seek a period of opposition

  • SDLP Man

    Fianna Fail are like the British Conservatives in that it’s all about winning power and holding on to it. There’s no way that Brian Cowen will throw a hospital pass to his party just now.

    Who said: “Even the worst day in power is better than the best day in opposition”?

  • Tochais Siorai

    I met Charlie Haughey once and asked him what was the difference between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

    He said to me ‘Young man (it was a while ago!), I’ll repeat the words of the great Seán Lemass.’ He paused for a moment….’We’re in and they’re out.’

  • pippakin

    Going slightly off topic the GE is not the only election in the offing. In the not too distant future it will be time for the next Irish Presidential election.

    I watched a great program on RTE last night about Mary Robinson, imo the best Irish person.

    I understand Mrs Robinson could run again for one more term. Wishful thinking on my part? possibly.