32nd Dail balanced between those with policies, and those without…

It is worth noting that yesterday – apart from the moment when after nearly 100 years the Irish Parliament finally earned the right to elect its own speaker – thereafter everything was very much the damp squib it had been predicted it would be.

Or as me learned friend, Brian Greene, DJ, put it…

One of the youngest of the new Deputies was given the task of nominating the current Taoiseach as the future Taoiseach

He brought this party back from being written off. Far more important, he brought our economy and our country back when many had written us off. We should not lose sight of that. As we mark 100 years of independence, we can look forward to a brighter future. I believe Deputy Enda Kenny is the man to bring us towards that brighter future. I am proud to nominate Deputy Enda Kenny today.

Ingenue Mayo TD Lisa Chambers took a new Labour tack in her pitch for Micheal Martin

People want an Ireland for all and not just for a few. With Deputy Martin’s determination and work ethic, I know he could lead the next Government to achieve this objective. Throughout his political life, he has been approachable, fair minded and straight talking. He faces challenges head on and knows that people want a decent society. 

Mary Lou McDonald was in batting for the Boss, with the only pitch approximating a ‘vision thing’

Ireland calls out for a leader of vision – not the narrow vision of the conservative establishment parties, but a vision that embraces this entire island, that goes beyond the Border and encompasses both the North and the South of Ireland and all of its people, whether Catholic, Protestant, dissenter or other.

As the leader of the only all-Ireland republican party and the largest all-island political party, and as one of the architects of the Irish peace process, Deputy Gerry Adams has consistently displayed qualities of strong leadership, courage and perseverance. He has clearly shown that he is willing to reach out to, listen to and work with those who have opposed him.

Ruth Coppinger took a swipe at three out of the four candidates

Today, we will not vote for the identical twin candidates of the two parties that imposed austerity in this country, nor can we endorse the candidate of a party that is claiming to be the friend of ordinary people while implementing austerity in the North and which is based on one side of the community. All three candidates who have been proposed accept the crumbs of the fiscal space and thus cannot deliver the real change that is needed by the majority in society.

The wounded and outgoing Tanaiste had this to say

None of us is foolish enough to believe that Sinn Féin and the ultra-left are likely to suddenly play their part. If they are remotely serious about fixing Ireland’s problems, they should be prepared to make sacrifices in the national interest, as opposed to promoting narrow partisan agendas. We sometimes forget that one of the basic demands that people make of politicians is that they should be prepared to govern and take decisions in the national interest or the people’s interest. The Labour Party has never been afraid to take responsibility and sometimes the cost of taking responsibility is very high, as we know. As Shakespeare put it, “He jests at scars that never felt a wound”.

Eamonn Ryan threw light on the longer term need to plan coherently for the future

If a Government is not formed that is willing to show leadership and position Ireland to take its place in the nations of the world as a country accepting that responsibility, grabbing the opportunity to create a new economic model that is socially just, it is not worthy of anyone’s support.

We will not be voting for any Taoiseach today and it is likely we will go into opposition in a proposing mode. We suggest to those who have the opportunity to create a Government that they should not miss this historic opportunity or let the Irish people down.

Deputy Pearse Doherty for Sinn Fein had to fight a fair amount of heckling from the government benches to make it clear his party wasn’t playing

We will not have a Taoiseach elected today because the two parties who were given a mandate will not lift up the phone and deal with each other.

The election of Taoiseach was more a case of trooping the party colours. And those with no party declined to participate… As Shane Ross put it

I wish you well, as do all members of the Independent Alliance. At this stage, we do not feel that we can possibly support any candidate who has been proposed for Taoiseach.

Keeping the oul powder dry. And – never slow to see an opportunity – he also asked why all the emphasis on Dail reform?

We in the Independent Alliance are very happy and more than willing to help and support a Government, or form a Government, that espouses reform in all areas, not just Dáil reform. Why is it that we have we set up a committee today, laudable as it may be, on political and Dáil reform? Why have we not set up a committee to deal with the issue of housing, and other more acute problems, before the Dáil returns?

Michael Fitzmaurice, a formidable vote-getter in Roscommon-Galway had this to add

I welcome the fact that all the main parties have been talking about a Minister for rural affairs over the past few days. However, I urge that power and muscle be put behind that to make sure that rural Ireland gets the lift it needs. I have seen a health system that is in chaos in different parts of Ireland. Let us be honest with the people. It will not be solved tomorrow. The only way it will be solved is for people right across the divide to put their heads together and work together.

Plum quote for the day was Danny Healy Rea

As the parties proposed their leaders for Taoiseach, I could have proposed my brother, Deputy Michael Healy-Rae, for Taoiseach but I would never try to make a laugh of the country. That is what is going on here today. I am sorry to say I will be voting against the four nominees proposed here because they are not providing a permutation that will work as a government this evening. More talking needs to be done, and more should have been done in the past two weeks since the election.

Not like him, but it fell to Brendan Howlin to get to the nub of what’s facing the whole Dail, erm, going forward

It is now for others to stand up for the Republic, stand into that breach and provide a government. The notion that somehow there are parties in this House that are exempt from that responsibility until they reach some magic quotient of numbers is not true and it is not acceptable for people to talk about crises or difficulties or people’s terrible wounds without being willing to share the responsibility of providing a solution.

John Halligan, an independent from Waterford worth quoting at length

They [the people] have dealt this deck of cards and have told us this is what they want. Are we seriously thinking that in the very near future, in a few months, we can go back to the people and say, “We are not happy with how you voted; would you please vote again”.

We cannot do that. We have a responsibility to the people of Ireland to form some form of government. Can we please stop going back five years to Fianna Fáil or going back two months to Fine Gael? We are as we are. This is what we have. This is what people want. There is no point in making derogatory remarks to people calling them ultra-left, ultra-right or whatever.

These people have to be treated with respect. They have been voted for by the electorate. Everyone here has been voted in with a mandate to form a Government. We have a responsibility to speak to one another and forget the idea that one party will not speak to another party or that one party will not go into power with another party or whatever.

That is not what the people have voted for. The people have voted for the 158 people present today. It does not matter to me if it takes the next two, three or four weeks. I do not think it matters to the people of Ireland; what they want is stability.

And finally this from the Fine Gael deputy for the very well-heeled constituency for Dublin Bay South

I did not get elected to stand on the sidelines. I did not put my name forward and ask people to vote for me in order not to take responsibility. However, my responsibility goes beyond just the election, as Deputy Howlin says, of a stable government. It is to stand up for those people who have been left behind by the parties that formed the previous two Governments. I do not believe that a Government led by Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael is in the interests of those people who have been left behind.

Something is changing (though not necessarily the parties, yet). What that change is, is not yet clear. Despite important warnings Ireland is not Greece or Spain (shortly heading back to the polls). but who has the appetite for government? Stability? Hard decisions?

But the system by which Ireland has run its business – under a written Constitution from 1937 – has changed, and utterly. That constitution is, as Eoin says silent, on the most of new shifting exegeses to which contemporary politics must make a credible response.

Eamonn Ryan put his finger on it “a Government is not formed that is willing to show leadership and position Ireland to take its place in the nations of the world and accepting that responsibility is not worthy of anyone’s support”.

Time to grow up people

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