Fine Gael are the first to walk out of all party talks in Dublin…

Interesting developments in Dublin City Council where Sinn Fein is now the largest single party by some way, and worth keeping an eye on. They are already falling out over the setting of budgets (which SF has never had to do all on its own before, so this is new territory for them)…

Although it is expected that independent councillor Christy Burke will be elected Lord Mayor this evening, there is now no agreement on passing budgets and appointments for the next five years.

The Fianna Fáil group is meeting later this afternoon but is expected to also pull out of the all-party negotiations.

Sinn Féin, as the largest single party on the council, is expected to now try to come to an agreement with Labour, independents and the Greens.

Fine Gael group leader councillor Kieran Binchy said the red line issue for his eight elected members was a commitment to pass budgets for the next five years without increasing commercial rates or property tax.

He said there was not sufficient commitment from other parties including Sinn Féin.

“Anyone can pass a budget by raising taxes. We want to protect jobs by not increasing rates and ease the burden on Dublin residents by not increasing the property tax…


The woman next door says her husband is self-employed “and it’s nothing but tax, tax, tax. I think if Sinn Féin get in they might make it easier for the self-employed.” Lynn agrees.

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  • gendjinn

    Jaysus, Mick I was really worried about you today. With the leader of the DUP & FM openly supporting & endorsing sectarian bigotry, as the previous DUP leader did with such fantastically positive results. The PSNI being taken to court by the Ombudsman’s office for stalling on 60 murder investigations involving the police & undercover informers. And now with the smoking gun of British sanctioned torture of internees with a signed order from Rees?

    But I shouldn’t have doubted you, you managed to find some story that you thought could be spun into a criticism of SF. What a relief! But it’s not your finest work, SF being criticised by FG over a budget can only mean the budget is a good one, given recent experiences that is.

  • Raymonds Back

    Yes indeed – I was wondering too if Mick (or anyone else) had anything to say about the RTE documentary on the Hooded Men.

  • Mick Fealty

    Brian covered the PSNI story, and there’s a plethora of stuff on Peter and the Pastor. I’ve been buried in profiling for a week. This is genuinely interesting to me. Especially if you look at my profile of the Independents…

  • Delphin

    This is where marketing stops and delivery starts. Can new improved SF – tough on crime, not causing crime – deliver for the people of Dublin. The harsh reality of balancing budgets and dealing with wily civil servants kicks in – all new territory for them. I will be looking on with interest too.

  • John Ó Néill

    Don’t know if this will embed (if below is blank, then clearly not). Eoin O Broin (@EOBroin) has been tweeting that largely the same configuration as you mention has reached agreement on South Dublin County Council. As FG-FF appear to be finding common ground to hold other councils between them, a fault-line for the next general election may actually be substantiating itself.

    Progressive Alliance mission statment now being signed by 21 SF, Ind, Lab & GP Cllrs in @sdublincoco.— Eoin O Broin (@EOBroin) June 6, 2014

  • gendjinn

    lol. I think the OTR story was covered, once or twice or 50 times too 🙂

    Has anyone else noticed that when there’s a big story that puts unionism or the British state in a bad light that Mick is avoiding there is a significant uptick in yellow/red cards handed out to non-unionist commenters?

  • Mick Fealty

    It may indeed John. Though I can’t see a common Labour SF platform being sustained in the next Dail election, can you?

  • John Ó Néill

    I think no-one knows the timelines they are dealing with here.
    Alex White has been making soothing noises about it, while Joan Burton has been doing the opposite. It’ll be July before the Labour leadership issues shakes out but it may (clearly) impact on the direction Labour go in.
    Meantime, word is that Reilly is gone from Health, there is a rumour of re-organisation of Depts that includes functions going between Environment and Arts, suggesting Hogan has won the bidding contest for the EU Commissioners post and Deenihan is also gone. Kenny may be the compromise EPP candidate (I doubt it, but you never know).
    For arrangements at local authority level to bed down and the pattern of FF-FG or SF/Inds/Green/Lab etc control to become a visible one, it will take more than a year (and survive a successful handover of mayoralties etc and a budget cycle). If that is the case, the broad left may have found enough common ground to agree a general election stance. But thats a big if.

    But we have now passed into fin de siècle territory for this government. A single crisis is now capable of bringing it down, so I’d say most parties will be on the mattresses and in safe houses rather than relaxing after the elections (republican metaphor, I know, but you get the idea).

  • Mick Fealty

    In what we do know John is the seats Sinn Fein are likely to take in the next Dail election are likely to be mostly at the expense of labour. The hard left are excusing themselves from this arrangement.

    I also think that even though the two traditional parties are cooperating in councils a similar struggle will go on between them when the flag drops.

    Sinn Fein’s on guided success has not expanded the leftist vote, it has merely changed the primary owners.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    “This is where marketing stops and delivery starts. Can new improved SF – tough on crime, not causing crime – deliver for the people of Dublin. The harsh reality of balancing budgets and dealing with wily civil servants kicks in – all new territory for them. I will be looking on with interest too.”

    If I had known you were on tender hooks regarding SF’s ability to produce budgets I could have told you that for years they have produced costed budgets for every budget they oppose.

    But, here’s the danger of the Slugger Bubble, I’m not sure the plain people of Ireland will take kindly to FG’s line in the sand, I mean who can offer a 5 year guarantee on anything, even a washing machine!

    Has FG offered an alternative budget, by any chance

  • John Ó Néill

    Register – FG didn’t even produce a budget for health this year, never mind an alternative budget.

    Mick – most Lab seats were first time wins in 2011, with their vote normaly 10%ish and seats often coming via transfers (a lot of it swung to Lab from FF in 2011). Only time is going to test the look and feel of any new alignments but with FG+FF now being in mid-40s, the name of the PR-STV game will be corralling the independent vote into loose transfer pacts (or absorbing it).
    So I think general election timing will be arbiter.

  • Mick Fealty

    Can’t argue with much of that. But it is good to see SF in a position where they must do something… It will be a real test of mettle and fettle….

  • Roy Walsh

    This is the test for the Shinners, as before, they have shown an unnerving ability to pull the wool over the eyes of electors only a few yards apart but in different jurisdictions, but now it’s time to pay the bills, although these were accrued by the party walking out, or start cutting services or, support household charge increases for Dublin home owners . real responsibility which they will be relying on to consolidate their gains in the Capital, if they screw it up here, and in Cork, where they did well too, they’ve had it.

  • Roy Walsh
  • Scáth Shéamais

    The left-wing groups are already criticising SF…

    People Before Profit Alliance press statement re Dublin City Council:

    People Before Profit express disappointment with SF’s proposed deal with establishment parties.

    Bríd Smith, the People Before profit spokesperson on Dublin City Council, has condemned the emerging manoeuvres between Sinn Fein and mainstream parties on Dublin City Council.

    We met with Sinn Fein in recent days to discuss the possibility of a left led council in Dublin. We made it perfectly clear that, despite political differences, we would vote for candidates to mayoral office who were opposed to austerity.

    We indicated that People Before Profit were not interested in capturing committee chair positions in order to get extra expenses. But we did indicate very clearly our preferences for positions on some of the key Special Policy Committees.

    Our primary purpose is to use our seats to alleviate the suffering caused by cuts in public services.

    We proposed that a left led council could help mobilise the people of Dublin to demand extra funding from central government for social housing, an immediate opening of vacant properties to house the homeless and to demand that the Government implement rent controls.

    We made it clear that we would not sign any blank cheque to pass budgets that involved cuts to local services.

    We do not think that the mass of Sinn Fein voters have any desire to see them form an alliance with Fine Gael , Fianna Fail and Labour.



    Cllr Pat Dunne, United Left:

    Sinn Féin misses historic opportunity on Dublin City Council.

    Sinn Féin had an historic opportunity to lead Dublin City Council and more importantly the people of Dublin in a real fight against the consensus of our domestic troika of austerity parties – Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour. What they have chosen is to go into an alliance with these parties and some of the independent councillors.

    Sinn Féin made no effort to form a policy driven anti austerity majority bloc on Dublin City Council, even though the potential exists for one. Their main concern appears to be the trinkets of office especially the role of Mayor in 2016 and looking respectable to potential government partners. In Dublin South Central the message was loud and clear on the doorsteps and that was to replace FG, FF and Labour with an anti-austerity council.

    Instead of the cosy consensus deal being done at the moment we could have had a council that was prepared to fight central Government and organise and mobilise people with demands for housing and other necessary services. What we have is a clear indication of Sinn Féin’s political trajectory. They are concerned with power for power’s sake and all the trappings that official Ireland can bestow on them.

    The clear majority of people in Dublin did not vote for a return to the establishment way of doing deals with right wing parties. People voted for change but are being presented with the same old, same old. I will be not be part of this pro austerity pact and will continue to organise against the attacks on peoples living standards.


  • IrelandNorth

    Would that qualify Fine Gael (FG) as the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) of the Ireland South? We know that they’re unapologetic unionists anyway, ie European Unionists. And who ever would have thought that d’Hondt would have make a guest appearance in Dublin City Council (DCC) and local authorities elsewhere across the rest of Ireland. No we know problematic political isn’t exclusive to da north. But Sinn Fein (SF) has the Lord Mayoralty of the Irish capitol for 2016, ceremonially second only to the president in protocol. How significant is that?

  • Reader

    IrelandNorth: And who ever would have thought that d’Hondt would have make a guest appearance in Dublin City Council (DCC) and local authorities elsewhere across the rest of Ireland.
    Full d’Hondt with all parties; or partial d’Hondt to divide up posts between coalition members?