#Aras11: How was it for… Fianna Fail?

Well, not at all bad for team apparently without a dog in the race. When it became clear Sean Gallagher had been an enthusiastic member of Fianna Fail until recently, certain sections of the media went apoplectic. Cue the Morgan revelation, and the sudden loss of momentum.

But along with second place in Dublin West, it looks like the brand still has some poke in it yet. It remains to be seen to what extent, if any, Gallaghers own personal brand has been affected, but the party could not have got such genuine fighting copy as Gallagher generated in his fight bac, over for instance his purchase of land for his father.

Fianna Fail’s anxiety amongst politicians and activists alike coming into this election has been the opinion poll ratings that have put them behind Sinn Fein.

Whilst this is in no way proof of a shifting that longer term sentiment, it proves that being marked as Fianna Fail is no longer a barrier to considerable progress beyond the derisory 15% it’s currently getting in the polls.

They may even dare to believe that the Gallagher brand can help clean up the one so tarnished by the crash, and the sense the party was generally on the make. In any case, Micheal Martin decision not to contest looks much better. Ow than it seemed at the beginning of the election.

  • keano10

    I could’nt disagree more. FF did’nt field a candidate and the minute that the public got a whiff that Gallagher was one of theirs, he shipped around 12% of his poll figures in just a couple of days until votes were counted. Their was a moratorium from 2pm the day before the election and the story was still only sinking in for many.

    When people are asked who they would vote for in a future election, FF are still in deep trouble. To even suggest that Gallagher may now be deemed to be their saviour only illustrates the desperation of their plight…

  • “Cue the Morgan revelation, and the sudden loss of momentum.”

    Michael D may well have benefited by the SF ‘trip’ – the dodgy dossier – and the RTE old media referee’s ‘almost bundling into touch’ of the FF non-candidate. Surely serious questions need to be asked of the media impact so close to an election, especially television. Was the national broadcaster neutral in relation to the seven candidates?

  • Mack

    I agree with that FF had a good day. 2 potential future TD’s blooded and performed well.

    Prior to envelope-gate most people knew Gallagher was FF background. After it, he was solidly welded to the FF brand, warts and all. Garnering 28.5% of the vote in those circumstances must be seen as a good result for them.

  • I think there is more evidence in relation to Dublin West than the Presidential Race.
    FF did better than ok in Dublin West and I think a lot of that was sympathy vote for Lenihan and FF. Im not keen on bye-elections in multi seat constituencies in the event of a death. Having picked a FF person in February to represent them, it seems that the FF voters in Dublin West have effectively been disenfranchised. It borders on electoral abuse….as much as FF not holding by-elections for years.
    Cetainly in the cases of death rather than resignation the decent thing to do is co-opt. Maybe a lot of people in Dublin West were voting for FF out of asense of decency rather than committment.
    Im not sure about Gallagher. The Media didnt expose him. McGuinness did.
    As Nevin has pointed out the Media has a case to answer for its handling of the Election.
    It suits SF to have a President for seven years rather than potentially fourteen years. They got their wish.

    The Media were clearly on the side of Higgins….the most blameless figure in the Race….when Norris imploded. And frankly SF rescued them by torpedoeing Gallagher. The Media were little more than spectators when the crunch came.
    Fielding a proxy candidate was FFs best option….no candidate at all would have split FFs vote……to all other Independents and SF had to be blocked.
    But ultimately it wasnt a platform close to FF that brought Gallagher down ……..it was his membership and it was the “envelope” imagery. FF is still toxic.

  • Superb photo on front end of BBC NI News

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/northern_ireland/

  • Coll Ciotach

    I am not sure that saying someone legitimately raised money for a political party is “exposing” – bit too harsh. Especially as the next day the “accuser” admitted that he was not entirely correct. But the general point about McGuinness being the “dragon slayer” is fair.

    The other story is surely the collapse of FG in both the presidential and bye election. Gay has lost his deposit. Will the internal division in FG become deeper and more vitriolic over this. It is certainly a warning to FG not to be complacent. The votes won in the GE is not their – that is clear. It seems that these votes are washing around looking for a permanent home. Are the FF votes starting to return home like the they will go back to FF like some sort of political equivalent of Matthew 43:45?

    If so maybe SF have just done a Pearl Harbour. Perhaps the sleeping giant will awake and take the fight to them.

  • Jimmy Sands

    The Media were clearly on the side of Higgins

    I keep hearing this but I’ve seen no evidence. Certainly the indo, no friend of Labour, identified Gallagher as its preferred “stop Michael” candidate, only abandoning him when he wheels came off. Before this becomes a standard whinge I’d like to see someone back this up.

  • Mac

    “Superb photo on front end of BBC NI News”

    The web devs at BBC agree, the file name is _56356473_greatpic.jpg

  • I’d not want to deny fitzjameshorse1745 @ 12:12 pm‘s valid observation: FF did better than ok in Dublin West.

    Yet the bottom line is:
    Labour
    took
    Lenihan’s
    seat.

    Project that back to 2007 (Lenihan with a third of all first preferences, Joan Burton with half that amount) and it becomes breath-taking.

  • Mick Fealty

    I don’t quite buty that Malcolm. For the reason that Labour easily topped the poll. If I was Varadkar I’d be thinking I might be in trouble next time out. FF candidate pushed Lenehan’s 15% up to almost 22%.

  • Mick Fealty @ 5:40 pm:

    Yes, I fully accepted fjh45‘s acknowledgement that FF were coming back from the dead. After all, we’re in the run-up to Día de los Muertos.

    I also admit that a lot (especially this week) of Liffey has passed under the Chapelizod Bridge since I was a regular around those parts.

    I’ll further allow that the constituency has been frequently mauled since it was new-born around 1980.

    Even so, back at the ’81 General Election a certain Mary Robinson (whatever became of her?) was the leading Labour candidate with just 5% of first preferences, down among the also-rans. That was Labour’s best result until Joan Burton burst onto the national scene in ’92, and only then by pirating a large chunk of Tomás Mac Giolla’s WP vote.

    Since then there have been ups-and-downs for the Labour vote in Dublin West; but never, ever has the first preference vote (24.3%) reached this high-water mark. And (compare and contrast FG) for a party in government! Moreover Ruth Coppinger is filtering another 21% for the Socialist Party. Chuck in 9% for SF’s Paul Donnelly — even the Greens (another risen from the tomb) pulling 5%— and this is coo-bleedin’-ell-strewth-catch-yersel’-on unbelievable. We have a left-of-centre plurality in Dublin West.

  • Mick Fealty

    Nope that’s good. But a second Labour seat will be hard to hold next time round. Much will depend on how the government fares over the next few years. But without having seen the detail voting patterns, I sense the Fianna Fail vote is slowly returning to base.

    And that’s after near nuclear fission within the party at Micheals decision not to contest.

  • Neville Bagnall

    There is undoubtedly a FF leaning vote out there that is still willing to support the party, particularly in a vaguely liberal pro-business form.

    I think the lesson from the envelope incident is that any FF candidate is going to have to be Caesar’s wife. Pro-business is good, business-cosy is poison. Ditto for buying access. (Take note, FG and Labour) .

    That does present a difficulty for the current generation of FF politicians at both national and local level. To my mind it suggests that FF need to blood a lot of completely new candidates in the upcoming local elections.