A new election would favour no one but Fianna Fáil…

Sarah Bardon in the Irish Times quotes Willie O’Dea… 

’ Limerick City TD Willie O’Dea said the people of this country voted to get rid of the outgoing government and the party could not accept any partnership or coalition.
He said: “The people who are supporting me and who are asking about my views . . . certainly didn’t contemplate that I would be part of this arrangement which would ultimately involve putting Enda Kenny back as taoiseach and sharing Mercs and perks with Fine Gael.”

For now I’m sticking with my previous view that no one actually wants another election. But there’s some rumbling inside FF about the need for greater clarity from the electorate from those who fancy they’d pick up more from independents and a Fine Gael party that’s hardly shone in these negotiations.

The sheer size and nebulousness of the independent block is what’s primarily hampered negotiations to the formation of a government. A second election campaign would have to focus on the need to develop a clear national voice and a willingness to act on hot ticket items like Irish Water.

The appeal for FF in such a scenario lies in the fact that the prospect would not appeal to anyone else: most particularly the independents whose limited resources must be stretched after February. Nor indeed SF, who’d be faced with overlapping electoral commitments north and south. 

Interesting times…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • the rich get richer

    No Surprise ! That Fianna Fail will do Whats Best for Fianna Fail.

    Meet the New Fianna Fail…Same as the Old Fianna Fail……..

  • the rich get richer

    The Irish Electorate “In their Wisdom” gave FF enough votes to Restore FF’s arrogance . Hopefully in a 2nd election they will adjust that vote to reduce the “New” FF arrogance !

  • Jag

    At what point in “The Passion of the Christ” movie did you finally start hoping the graphic torture would end and Jesus would be put out of His misery? Because that’s the point FF is waiting to reach before serious negotiations with FG. So far, FG has had 50 minutes of talks with FF compared with 50 HOURS of negotiations with statistically meaningless Independents.

    FF had given categoric pre-election undertakings of no coalition with FG. But their hope is the electorate will eventually reach a point in these tortured negotiations that it accepts a U-turn (“in the national interest”, nats) and a FF/FG coalition.

    It will probably take another couple of months of torture though.

    And if there is a 2nd election, FG will claim they have been most responsible in trying to establish a government and FF have appeared arrogant, so a 2nd election if one does happen might well be kinder to FG.

  • Croiteir

    An election in May. As you said that would stretch SF. But I am sure they have the resources to cover it.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I’d imagine they will only put one Doherty up in Donegal this time.

  • Neil

    It’s hard to say who it would favour. SF would have their work cut out with overlapping elections, however that would bring potential benefits. First an all Ireland party fighting an all Ireland election campaign would leave an all Ireland pool of resources and efficiency potentials therein, plus lots of “all Ireland” type soundbites, obviously. I suspect a proportion of what needs doing in a campaign is fairly repeatable and some efforts for both elections could be carried out by one group of people, instead of two groups working two months apart.

    Then there’s the lingering effect of the Rising, would that play in favour for the unification party? Certainly I don’t think FF or FG wanted SF having an election soon after that event. Bearing in mind the 100 year date anniversary is at the end of April. Finally, voter apathy will kick in with some, and the numbers will change based on supporter turnout.

  • Croiteir

    They would be incredibly stupid to do otherwise

  • Nevin

    “sharing Mercs and perks”

    Here’s one of the former minister on his way to Leinster House:

  • Nevin

    “Interesting times…”

    Miriam Lord agrees; she also has a great quote from Enda re. FG-FF-Indy civil partnership:

    “Never mind same-sex marriage,” he quipped. “We’re talking about a threesome.”

    Dick Spring believes there’s worse to come:

    “It’s going to get very ugly,” predicted Dick.

    and Miriam’s own assessment:

    The poor little National Interest, if they cared to look, is curled up in a ball on the sidelines, rocking from side to side with its hands over its ears while its parents bicker over which of them is more genuine in their love. Make it stop! Please, make it stop!

    Yesterday afternoon, following a second family mediation session, the pair split in rather acrimonious fashion.

    “Irreconcilable differences” is what it looks like. But neither party wants to be the first to walk away. This has brought about a previously unthinkable situation where Fianna Fáil appears determined to force the leader of Fine Gael in to becoming Taoiseach, whether he likes it or not.

    What’s not to like? Plenty, it seems, from two men who would ordinarily take the hand off anybody offering them a mere sniff of the keys to the political kingdom. A bizarre state of affairs.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Another election? Ahh come on now lads Belgium went 586 days without an elected government.

    That’s over 18 months, we can beat that.

    It’s not as if anything particularly drastic happened in Belgium during that time and they have a population of over 11 million and an airforce with fifty four F-16 fighters.

    Chillax lads, what’s the rush?

  • John Collins

    Willie O’Dea is some joker. There was the possibility of an extra seat for the FF Party in both Willie’s Limerick City Constituency and in Limerick County, where all they had to do was recall Emmet O’Brien to the FF colours and the two seats would have been secured. However both Willie and Niall wanted no brother near their respective thrones, unlike Michael Moynihan next door in NW Cork, who agreed in a running mate and thus secured two seats, where a two one divide favouring FG has traditionally been the case.

  • John Collins

    Worse still. Individual members, like the gent pictured above, will do what is best for individual members

  • Tochais Siorai

    Dunno, surely Enda will get the heave ho if there’s another election. A change, either Varadkar or Coveney presumably will give FG a boost – I think could push them up to 60 seats. Labour could take a few back and then it’s a matter of getting independents on board.

    On balance though at this stage, something will be cobbled together and no immediate election I think.

  • Kev Hughes

    I think you’ve a good point Neil; SF voters in the South aren’t IMHO apathetic voters, so if you have a decrease for some others it may actually favour them.

    FF would be the big winners. The last election was lost by FG and Inda, make no mistake of that, but as was said on the Irish Times inside politics podcast, FF only had a mild recovery, not some massive victory. For some to suggest or even allude otherwise is bollox tbh.

  • Ulick

    Fianna Fáil are bluffing about another election as their chaotic reaction to the Fine Gael offer yesterday is testament. Fact is neither can afford another election. As for SF not wanting overlapping electoral commitments north and south, well maybe not but don’t forget they fought elections north and south n 2014 which were only a day apart (and did very well). SF in the south is a very different beast from the one 10 years ago which relied on northerners to come down and boost the ranks. These days any area is unlikely to get more that a few car loads down on a Saturday morning to do a bit of leafleting.

  • Ulick

    They also got a big televised Ard Fheis coming up later this month in the National Convention Centre. Perfect platform to launch GE16v2.

  • Anglo-Irish

    As Marx once famously said

    ” Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them, I have others. ”

    That was Groucho Marx of course, but it’s a saying that could well apply to many politicians over the years.

  • Mer Curial

    only 54?

  • Anglo-Irish

    Apparently so, they ordered and received 160 but had a change of policy and have either stored or sold – 14 to Jordan – the rest.

  • Kevin Breslin

    They might move Padraig McLaughlin to the Seanad.

  • Roger

    what’s IMHO?

  • Kev Hughes

    Roger, it means either in my honest opinion or in my humble opinion.

  • Roger


  • consul

    Their two choices are put FG into power or tell the people they got it wrong and go back and get it right. Not sure if anyone outside the cult are listening.

  • Discuscutter

    Who said that crime doesn’t pay.

    I think that FF will probably benefit from this.