#Aras11: Two Fine Gael Chairs use ‘casting votes’ to block Norris

Norris gets the vote from the Waterford City Council… So that’s Fingal, Laois and now Waterford… Interesting point to note that two of the councils (South Dublin and Carlow) who rejected him both did so on the casting vote of the Chairman

Given this is only for entry to another election, is this an indication of worries inside Fine Gael (Labour, who appear to be allowing individual discretion) the poor showing of their candidate, nominating what’s recognised as the weaker candidate instead?

Dana has three more bites to get her remaining one nomination, and Norris has to wait for Dublin this evening at 6.45…

Adds: Derek Mooney had this to say before a single vote was cast in anger:

Expect the Fine Gael and Labour Councillors to weight this possible outcome carefully when they consider how they will vote today, particularly when it comes to backing Norris. The outcomes will depend on how these considerations are balanced against the fear of a backlash against those who kept Norris out of the race.

Not that Higgins and Mitchell are the only ones affected by an expansion of the field. The entrance of Norris and Dana to the race could see Mary Davis lose up to a third of her support, Sean Gallagher lose about one quarter of his and Martin McGuinness lose about a fifth.

In the case of these three, their capacity to influence the outcomes today will not be anywhere as great as for the two main parties. Plus their supporters will also want to size up if the damage done to the FG and lab candidates outweighs the impact on theirs.

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  • Drumlins Rock

    Mick, I think it is more gut instinct of councillors than party instructions that puts FG members against him, and personality seems to have sometihng to do with it, clrs as a species don’t like being badgered.

    Dana looks safe to be on the ballott and I think could do better then people think, will she eat into Marty’s border region vote? certain to in Donegal I would think, not coming last is the key! pick up a few transfers.

  • Mick Fealty

    She’s not a serious competitor. Where she is, at the bottom end of the market, I am not sure where she’s getting the base support from.

    Her time as MEP in the west is paying off re council contacts though. At this stage Sinn Fein can afford to be generous towards her and Norris. See Derek Mooney’s analysis above.

  • Lionel Hutz

    In Carlow, the casting vote decision was appropriate given that a motion was coming after for Dana’s nomination.

    However, the SDCC one is disgraceful from FG and SF. Atleast Labour had a free vote

  • Drumlins Rock

    Mick, this is just a gut reaction but I think she might do better than expected, plus should pick up much of the Gallagher & Davis (Catholic & Female) transfers if she could get in front of them.

    PS watching Mr Ed, what a tit!

  • I think its bizarre to expect FG, Labour or SF councillors to back nominate a candidate from outside their Party….when each of them has a horse in the race already.

    Would anyone seriously expect FG to nominate a FF person if he/she was short of the required number.
    Or would anyone (other than SF of course) be squealing if SF failed to get FG or Labour support……..or indeed the support of Senator David Norris.

    Would anyone be pointing the finger at Senator Norris if he failed to support Dana or Mary Davis or Sean Gallagher or Martin McGuinness?

    FG, Labour and SF want their man to win…….or at least do well.
    Why on earth should they nominate someone who will eat into their percentages and even be a rival to win?

  • granni trixie

    I admire Dana and think that she appeals to many if not to Sluggerites. I think she has more brains and political know how than many. On,personality NOrris has no appeal as far as I’m concerned wheras MMG comes across as a terrific personality. Pity about his morality.

  • Trapattoni

    Larry O’Toole announced earlier that SF Cllrs in Dublin would be backing Norris. Michael D then called on Labour Cllrs to do likewise.

  • Mick Fealty

    Michael D is not stupid… Generosity is a good quality to express for a future President…

    Given the first time this end of the Constitution was successful in facilitating nominees was Dana in 1997, I’d say the councillors are enjoying it…

    It’s fine for parties and councillors to vote whichever way they wish, but using your casting vote from the chair is another matter…

  • Trapattoni

    I’d have been more inclined to believe he was being generous if he had moved before SF did. If I’m honest I’m very surprised that SF are backing Norris given the damage he could do to McGuinness’ campaign.

  • Pete Baker


    And then there was the Fine Gael Mayor of Galway City Council, Hildegard Naughton, who used her casting vote to block David Norris even speaking to them earlier this month.

    A ‘misunderstanding’, apparently…

  • Alias

    “So, freeman or prisoner is it?”

    Just spin by Marty.

    For example, the slogan “the peoples’ president” is meaningless as a deliniator from the other candidates since the president “shall be elected by direct vote of the people” and is there “the peoples’ president” by default. In reality, the president is not equal to the people but constitutionally elevated above them as he “shall take precedence over all other persons in the State.” (Article 12).

    The other spin is that the bold Marty won’t be a spokesman for the government whereas the other candidates, it is implied, will be. In reality, the president never acted as a spokesman for the government and no such role is conferred upon that office in the Constitution, so Marty is just an emtpy tin can making noise.

  • Alias

    Err, sorry, wrong thread.

  • Charminator

    I must say I’m particular taken aback by Derek Mooney’s number crunching. Where did he get these numbers from?? Seems like utter idle speculation regarding the impact Norris and Dana on the other candidates. I note he uses the word “could” rather than anything else, but I must say it still strikes me as random gossip, lacking any substance to support the analysis.

    Now, that said, I can understand how as a basic observation the entry of additional candidates may obviously diminish the support base of existing candidates. But Norris and Dana lopping a fifth of McGuinness’ numbers? The numbers haven’t even settled yet for a start. My sense is that it’s far far too premature to draw any such markers. Let’s wait for a poll once campaigning begins and then, I think, we’ll get a much more healthy sense of the state of play.

  • sdelaneys

    Dublin City Council has just nominated Norris ; this doesn’t mean the council is backing Norris, just backing his right to be on the ballot paper.

  • sdelaneys

    Dublin City vote; 30 Yes
    6 No
    11 Abstain

  • Mick Fealty

    Was that later than expected?

  • John Ó Néill

    Anyone suspicious that a certain grandson of Devs may feature on the ballot paper too?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Anyone suspicious that a certain grandson of Devs may feature on the ballot paper too?’

    Why not ? At this stage nothing surprises anymore ;)?

  • John Ó Néill


    Martin bought him off somehow.

  • Greenflag

    Even if – the latest news won’t help .Would’nt do to have to break off in the middle of an election campaign to have to appear in court .

    “A significant number of people, including Mr Ó Cuív, blatantly ignored the court order which was read out to them. We intend to have him joined as a defendant to the proceedings.” said Mr Dwyer.

    the full story at


  • Lionel Hutz

    It’s fine for parties and councillors to vote whichever way they wish, but using your casting vote from the chair is another matter…


    There’s a certain logic to it though. A vote in favour has a degree of finality about it as you can only nominate once and after that no others have a chance. In the case of Carlow, a motion for Dana was coming straight after and she got the nomination easily. Would it not have been wrong for the casting vote to go for Norris and thereby scupper Dana just because that was the order of play?

  • andnowwhat

    I’d recommend people to read David Cochrane’s OP on this thread about the Norris letters and possible defamation ….


  • Mick Fealty

    Trapp, that’s not as odd as you might think.

    To my knowledge SF have only either abstained or voted against Norris in every council up to now, Labour have clearly withdrawn the whip…

    SF effectively U turned in Dublin (anticipating a blame game of the type our Peace Process™ was replete with), whilst Michael merely applied a honorary whip for the first time.

    Leaving only FG looking bad (even though SF was up to exactly the same game before Dublin)…