“A spate of retirements would actually suit Fianna Fáil at the moment.”

In the Irish Times Noel Whelan provides a useful corrective to any rumours of a stampede of retiring Fianna Fáil TDs ahead of next year’s anticipated Irish general election. 

TOO MUCH has been made of the retirements already announced in the 30th Dáil. When set in context, the pattern of retirements for the forthcoming election is unlikely to differ from previous elections. Between 15 and 25 sitting TDs always retire at each election. If it seems like there has been a flood of retirements of late, it is because now that a spring election is certain, the timetable for candidate selection and retirement decisions has accordioned sharply.

But with a twist…

A spate of retirements would actually suit Fianna Fáil at the moment. A party whose national poll rating is going south of 20 per cent should ideally be running only one candidate in each three-seat and four-seat constituency and at most run two candidates in each five-seater. As of now, Fianna Fáil is overloaded with incumbents contesting relative to its likely vote share. In many constituencies, there is a risk that evenly-balanced incumbents might split the party’s remaining support and each be well short of a quota.

A stampede of retirements is what Fianna Fáil strategists should be hoping for but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

Read the whole thing.