Fine Gael benefit from their #Brexit hardball game…

Here’s what the aggressive stance on the EU negotiations in general, and the DUP in particular has been all about. And it looks like its been working. This polling for the Irish Times was conducted last Monday.

For once, it’s a statistically significant change, with FF definitely getting the worst of it…

The poll, which was taken this week while the row over the breakdown of Brexit negotiations was raging, shows that Fine Gael has gained five points since the last poll in October, while Fianna Fáil support has dropped by four points.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar enjoys an 11-point lead over Micheál Martin’s party, the largest poll lead in The Irish Times series since 2015.

Support for Sinn Féin, at 19 per cent, and for Labour, at 4 per cent, is unchanged. Independents, others and small parties see aggregate support decline marginally to 16 per cent.

  • runnymede

    So no populist posturing going on here at all then?

  • Marcus Orr

    Let’s face it, this is hardly good news. Gone are the days when Irish PM John Bruton could get mocked by Albert Reynolds as being “Johnny Unionist”. Even Fine Gael are on the republican line now. Who are we Unionists going to build bridges with in a future UI ?

  • Cory Kelly

    Both polls today are very timely with one telling the FG gov that their approach to Brexit is correct and the other telling the DUP that their approach is very much incorrect.

  • Dramadrama

    Mick, concluding that this is what the stance has been “all” about, seems like a huge stretch. Do you believe there were absolutely no other factors involved, like the thought that ‘this might badly damage the Irish economy if we don’t take a hard stand”, or “the other Eu partners are pushing us to take a hard stand”. What evidence to you have to conclude that this is what it’s “all” about, and not that Leo may have taken a position that was good for Ireland in general, but may not have resulted in an upswing in popularity?

    The last Irishman who voted for a hard border, under great threats from the British, and with many promises of how things would be fine in the future with a border poll was Michael Collins. Maybe he decided that enough was enough and he would not continue that legacy, but rather take a stand, backed by the strength of 27 other nations?

  • cmac


  • Marcus Orr

    Ok. Thanks for the offer.

  • Marcus Orr

    You and Mick are both right. Fine Gael know that they have to take this position to head off FF and SF. So there’s political calculation. But I’m sure that there’s also the honest belief as a majority down South that this leaving the EU thing is bad for the island etc…

  • Obelisk

    It’s a happy and rare moment when national interest, party political interest and popular opinion all come into harmony on an issue.

  • Marcus Orr

    I’m anti-EU so I don’t believe its in the (Irish) national interest.
    But that’s just me.

  • Obelisk

    Look where being anti-EU is leading the UK. Like it or not, they are a lesson to everyone else on the perils of this route.

  • Marcus Orr

    Nah, the EU will break up and already it’s on its way out.
    However, what is true is that this UK govt., and the whole nonsense of calling a referendum in a non-referendum nation to settle such an issue, and thus provoking a constitutional crises, has left the UK in a ridiculously weak position to do what it must do – leave the Superstate.

  • Marcus Orr
  • Obelisk

    That was written in 2014. If a week is a long time in politics, you’ve dug up a fossil.

  • Marcus Orr

    I can give you more recent stuff from France, the situation has only deteriorated since then (though to be fair, Macron is stabilising things somewhat)…but come on, its about 20 pages to be read already, and I don’t want to bore you completely…

  • Damien Mullan

    You’ve always got Ruth Dudley Edwards, Mary Kenny and Eoghan Harris.

  • Obelisk

    And people accuse Irish Nationalists of being fantasists…look, the EU is not going to break up nor is it on the verge of breaking up. That is a lie told by the British right wing to make them feel better about leaving. Britain is hardly being joined by a stampede on the way to exit. Instead, Brexit illustrates that no one country (with the potential exception of Germany) in Europe can stand alone.

    Great Britain’s global influence is shot.

    It’s stature as a world power is shot.

    It faces decades of decline as the price, not for an economic renaissance as the Brexiteers lied to you about, but for the isolationism where they can play at the British exceptionalism they so crave.

  • Obelisk

    Is it reputable or are they screeds from right wing think tanks who will attempt to twist the facts to suit an ‘the EU is collapsing’ falsehood?

    Are they the subject of academic debate, are they only circulated among the converted as confirmation bias?

    From my perspective, I see no evidence of the EU being in danger. I see much worse things happen to the institutions of the United Kingdom on a daily basis thanks to this madness though.

  • Marcus Orr

    “Great Britain’s global influence is shot.” True.

    “It’s stature as a world power is shot.” Very true.

    “look, the EU is not going to break up” I ain’t so sure. Isn’t going to happen tomorrow, too many people being fed by the system in Brussels. But in 10 years…

  • Marcus Orr

    “Is it reputable or are they screeds from right wing think tanks who will attempt to twist the facts to suit an ‘the EU is collapsing’ falsehood?”
    Why don’t you just read and make you own mind up ? Right-wing, left-wing, who cares ?

  • Zorin001

    Even then Marcus I couldn’t see a total collapse but maybe a restructuring, a looser arrangement of the core Western European states at the very worst.

    With the way politics has been globally over the past 18-24 months it takes a confident man to predict a decade hence.

  • Marcus Orr

    A looser arrangement sounds jolly good to me.
    As for my prediction, well yeah, it is only me, and of course I could be wrong.

  • Obelisk

    I have been reading it.

    This reads like someone plotting out a bad Jack Ryan novel.

    Yes Germany is powerful. Yes, Germany wields a lot of power in the EU. Germany is going to wield a lot of power regardless, it’s Germany. Better it does so through the EU.

    This is irrelevant to the wider discussion, Brexit. If this rubbish was taken at face value it makes Brexit an even stupider move by removing a potential break on German influence.

  • Marcus Orr

    I’m not saying it’s got anything to do with Brexit per se. I was only saying it shows a French position and view of Germany which is not a wholly unpopular view today.

  • Obelisk

    But which is far from a majority view. This is conspiracy theory peddled as academia.

  • Df M

    Interesting analysis. Have we seen much goodwill from unionism generally towards the Irish Government and Republic of Ireland in recent years? Mike Nesbitt did try to reach out on some occasions but the DUP have adopted a minimalist approach towards all types of all-island co-operation. Senior unionist politicians in recent days have referred to the Taoiseach as the “Indian” and “Little Leo”, hardly the way to build bridges with the majority of people on the island.

  • Damien Mullan

    Can we have evidence of aggressive stance.

    Is it tone? or is it substantive?

    This notion of an aggressive stance by the Irish government is taken as holy writ these past few days without one iota of evidence.

    While we have unionists engaging in racist slurs ‘The Indian’, or patronizing ‘wind your neck in’.

    I’d like to see the inverted commas from Leo Varadkar or Simon Coveney that display this ‘aggressiveness’ that’s being put about, which appears more propaganda than fact.

    But sure tis the age of fake news.

  • Damien Mullan

    Baiting really ought to be left for summer months when the fare is few.

    Does the fact that Sinn Fein’s vote hasn’t budged not run counter to the narrative that this is Varadkar going ‘full green’.

    If Sinn Fein voters are the rabid unionist haters, then surely some movement somewhere would be detected on their poll standing, but not an inch of movement.

    Might it not be that people, ‘decent folk’, as the UUP slogan once had it, not the dirty Shinner folk, see Leo Varadkar as statesman like, competent and authoritative on a matter of national import, thus explaining the movement of Fianna Fail folks to Fine Geal and the none movement of Shinner voters.

  • Zig70

    Can’t believe Tories are openly talking about creative ambiguity. It’s a term given to GFA after we realized it was a lot of bull (albeit for a good cause). Now it is just bull.

  • The Irishman

    Excellent post Damien.

  • Adam Martin

    “Who are we Unionists going to build bridges with…”
    Come on now, be serious.

  • NotNowJohnny

    I think the Irish government should be very wary of any suggestion of creative ambiguity given past history of British Irish agreements. Even if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it could still turn out to be a chicken.

  • Marcus Orr

    I was being serious

  • siouxchief

    Doubt you’ll get a reply Damien

  • Rapparee

    That`s because its rubbish, the Irish Government is taking the position of the Irish public on the issue and protecting the interests of Ireland on both sides of the border. Some people have to get past their prejudices and accept that.

  • Rapparee

    Mr Fealty, you`d really want to remove the “aggressive” from your piece. Its incendiary, irresponsible, inaccurate and not really fitting of a proper journalistic effort. Not to mention completely biased.

  • Cory Kelly

    In a UI we will be all standing on the same bridge.

  • Rapparee

    I do not know what the Irish state or people did to RD Edwards, but she has a barley concealed hatred of the country. The absolute tripe and half truths that emanates from that woman, is an impressive feat of bitterness. She once said on BBC Newsnight as an “Irish person” that the British army had an impeccable history in Ireland. I nearly fell off the chair with a mix of laughter and rage.

  • Damien Mullan

    Exactly Rapparee. Their ‘sin’ appears to have been the temerity to point out that the DUP is not the sole or majority opinion of Northern Ireland. That was the aggressiveness it appears to me. Relations aren’t great at present, but this argument has to be had, their delusions and wishful thinking makes it so. Things can be patched up later, if they can, but the fear of creating bad blood or animosity can’t precluded the Irish government from its central task, protecting Irish interests. No matter what way the referendum went last year, no one voted, or had the right to vote, to erect obstacles in people lives or livelihoods, which a hard border obviously does. That’s the issue at contention here, no one voted to change the current status of the Irish border, so the assurance of that must now be obtained, and if that inconveniences others, either the British PM, or the DUP’s confidence and Supply agreement, then so be it. But this argument has to be had first and foremost, theirs too much at stake and too many people depending on a favorable outcome, on both sides of the border.

  • Ruairi Murphy

    Don’t forget Edwin Poots’ Trump-esque effort with “Little Leo”.

  • Zorin001

    I actually find something unseemly about politicians using phrases and words favoured by the alt-Right, Gove using “snowflake” for instance. It cheapens discourse and reduces politics to a type of playground juvenalia

  • Old Mortality

    They’re primarily interested in preserving unfettered access to the UK market; the little local drama over the border was merely a means to that end. Even the Eurocrats seem to have become bored with it and think it’s time to move along to serious matters.

  • Granni Trixie

    More like solution focused – an approach Others could emulate to the country’s advantage.

  • Granni Trixie

    The DUPs attitude to Ireland and its politicians seems to have overlayers of anti catholic sentiment resonating with the 1960s when the OO had places reserved for it on the UUP Council. It has been Disappointing to find that AF has squandered the opportunity to be different to her predecessors (Robinson, Paisley). Anyway, I’m fully expecting AF to go to the HOL before long so there will be another window of opportunity for the DUP to catch up with modern times.

    I also wonder is it possible that Brexit negotiations will spawn better relationships if only because of mutual economic interests?

  • Rapparee

    Whatever helps you sleep easy. That “little drama” has buckled the UK government, resulting in the Irish government now dictating the future trading relationship of the North and possibly UK as a whole, on a European level. A good lesson to Scotland on what a small independent country can do. Indy ref 2 inbound.

  • Rapparee

    For all the DUP bluster, it appears that a literal gun was put to their head by May and her government. They are whinging about the lack of time and having to sign for UK interests. They looked decidedly uneasy, and yet that “continued full alignment” in relation to a no deal, means that they are locked to Dublin.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think Fine Gael have pretty much shaken the Democratic Unionist Party to the core in a way that Sinn Féin could only envy.

    Seems the Tribes of Ireland have transcended petty tribalism!

    Maybe one day Sinn Féin can too.

  • Kevin Breslin

    May I suggest the Social Democrats and the Labour Party?

  • Marcus Orr

    They’re not very big, and not especially conservative either….but beggars can’t be choosers

  • Kevin Breslin

    To quote a very blue cliché here, It’s not the size that matters it’s what you do with it.

    We just saw “little Ireland” dictate the terms of a 28 state agreement.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Also I may add Labour have been traditionally more sensative to Unionist denizens than other parties, I recall reading, Mary Robinson of Labour, future Uachtaran expressed concerns about such matters with regards to the A-I Agreement, when Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil were largely on board.

  • lizmcneill

    A chlorinated chicken…

  • file

    and me.