The Oireachtas by-elections: #Seanad, #DSW, #RSL

The end of this week sees three Oireachtas by-elections being completed, two for the Dáil seats vacated when Brian Hayes (FG) and Luke Flanagan (Ind) were elected as MEPs, and, the third a Seanad seat vacated by Deirdre Clune (FG), after she too was elected as an MEP. Given that the two Dáil seats are in constituencies that are re-drawn for the next general election, the result of the embarrassing #McNultygate Seanad by-election is likely to attract most comment. Given that there … Read more

Meath East: We’ve seen it all before

Irish by-elections, by and large, are a bit of harmless fun. The outcome rarely influences the balance of forces in parliament, but it gives the voters a chance to give the incumbent party – whatever incumbent party – a good shoeing. Everyone feels better about themselves except whatever hapless candidate has been persuaded to stand by the ruling party. Famously, no government party had won a by-election for 30 years until Patrick Nulty stood under the Labour banner in 2011 – and he was an opposition politician in all but name, remedying even that within a couple of months.

Read moreMeath East: We’ve seen it all before

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Mid Ulster by election: Reassuringly boring and predictable…

Funny this… Had there not been a unionist unity candidate the SDLP might have hoped to pick up some small-u unionist votes, as they do in South Down for example. But most of the electoral evidence suggests that a section of the SDLP’s core vote will simply ‘lend’ their votes to Sinn Fein on this occasion—sending a not particularly subtle message to unionists that they don’t like this sort of sectarian headcount. If you are tempted to believe that everything … Read more

Inverclyde result

Labour hold. Lab : 15118 SNP : 9280 Tory: 2784 Lib Dem: 627 (I’m not joking) UKIP: 288 DewiWelsh Nationalist. Rugby Fan. Know a bit about History and Railways…

And so to Inverclyde…

The vote is on Thursday for the first Westminster by-election since the SNP Holyrood victory. Daid Milliband says: “Any vote other than a Labour vote is a vote for the Tories” Meanwhile the SNP in Inverclyde are exposing Labour: “Ms McLaughlin exposed the Labour – Tory plan to sack council workers in a televised debate last week. Challenged again by Ms McLaughlin on BBC Politics Show Cllr McKenzie who sought to shout his way through the interview was forced to … Read more

Liberal democrats: by elections, Faustian Pacts and Lord of the Rings

The Barnsley by-election was caused by the conviction of former Labour MP Eric Illsley for dishonestly claiming parliamentary expenses. It has been a safe Labour seat for almost a century but one might have expected a bit of a back lash. Of course there was a back lash: against the Liberal Democrats. The Liberal democrats once the specialists at winning by elections were heavily defeated. In the Oldham East and Saddleworth by election (again called over shenanigans by a Labour … Read more

The global parish pump and benchmarking by-elections.

After days and days of posturing and throwing shapes in Dublin, none of the principle actors have changed chairs and all that has been issued is a four year plan that might have been written two years ago. For all the unachieved drama, all that seems to have actually happened is that whatever sovereignty remained to the Republic of Ireland has been outsourced to anyone with a cheque book (and deep pockets). Ironically, with no money in the budget to allow them to buy off the electorate, the … Read more

Donegal SW: Tipping the Republic towards ‘regime change’?

Three pieces well worth reading on the nature of the challenge facing Fianna Fail in Donegal. Two knowledgeable voices worth quoting at some length. First Fionnan Sheahan from his column on Thursday: Only when Sinn Fein senator Pearse Doherty took the strategically astute move of seeking to get the courts to force the Government’s hands did the Coalition begin to budge. Doherty succeeded in getting a hearing in the High Court, arguing there was a constitutional right to have adequate … Read more

Fine Gael’s impending crisis of leadership…

For understandable reasons tomorrow’s news in Northern Ireland and Britain will be dominated by the long awaited arrival of Lord Saville’s long awaited (and stashed for politically motivated reasons) report on Bloody Sunday. We will no doubt be doing our best to  bring you the coverage. But the big events in Irish politics may be happening south of the border. Part the first: the full meeting tomorrow morning of the Fine Gael parliamentary party who are thought to have been … Read more

Are John Gormley and the Greens already paving their exit?

If the new 55% rule caused a bit of friction in Britain, there is another not entirely unrelated debate taking place in the Republic just now. The UK coalition ought to take a glance over there at how the Irish coalition government is likely to end. There are a growing bundle of by elections the Fianna Fail end of the government seems extraordinarily reluctant to call. As Noel Whelan accounts in his op ed column on Saturday, this is for … Read more