“Rainy Days Back In Fashion”: The Week In Irish Politics

Another week, another glimpse of ‘new politics’ at work in Dáil Éireann. The Green party’s Waste Reduction Bill, (co-sponsored by Labour as the Greens are short on number in the chamber), passed to committee stage late last night. It did so with the support of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats and a host of Independents. Its supporters argue that it’s by far the best way to reduce waste by putting the onus on companies to reduce packaging while … Read more

Like the Samurai, Labour faces the verdict of the machine guns

Labour Party in Northern Ireland

There’s a scene in the Tom Cruise epic, ‘The Last Samurai,’ where the main characters – noble samurai (as the film title suggests) – charge the battlefield against the Western-trained forces of the Japanese Emperor. One by one, these brave warriors are cut down by machine-gun fire. Their swords and bows and arrow useless against the latest military technology of the time. They know they face near certain death, but honour and belief drives them forward. This final battle signifies … Read more

Fianna Fail must not make the same mistake with Bertie, that Labour have with Blair

1st May 2017, marked the 20th anniversary of the election of Tony Blair as British Prime Minister. For the current Labour Leadership, a huge part of their existence is owed to a repudiation of the Blair years with its mix of missed opportunities and misadventures such as the War in Iraq. Fianna Fail and Ireland face another anniversary over the coming weeks as the 6th June marks the 20th anniversary of the 1997 General Election which brought Bertie Ahern to … Read more

Theresa May’s local victories are good for the Union cause but give no comfort to special status fans

  A note of caution is needed about  talk of a Tory landslide on 8 June. Although UKIP was obliterated in the GB local elections,  Labour might have done even worse. Michael Thrasher’s projections of the local results to the general election “ for a bit of fun” on Sky News   works out a majority of  48 seats, up a respectable 36 but well short of a landslide and barely worth  the trouble of calling a snap election. John Curtice, election … Read more

Fixed-Term Parliaments Act – on the chopping block ?

One or two eagle-eyed observers on social media noted a development in the House of Lords which has apparently escaped the notice of the media – a new bill which, if enacted, would abolish the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. It’s worth a quick recap on the background. Until 2011, the power to dissolve Parliament was by the Queen’s prerogative, exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister. It has always been significant as it is, in effect, the power to choose a strategically optimal time to hold … Read more

Two polls show good news for Fianna Fail

Two polls out tonight from RedC and the Sunday Times/Behaviour and Attitudes survey show good news for Fianna Fail NEW SBP/Red C Poll: FG 26 (-) FF 29 (+3) SF 13 (-2) Lab 6 (-) IA 5 (+1) Ind 7 (-4) AAA/PBP 5 (-) SD 4 (-) GP 4 (+2) Ren 1 (-) Other 1 (-) — Hugh O’Connell (@oconnellhugh) July 16, 2016 POLL STimes/B&A (Jul 1-11, ±3.3%) FF 30(+5 4wks) FG 25(-1) SF 14(-3) Lab 6(+1) AAAPBP 5(+1) Inds … Read more

NEC votes that Corbyn is automatically included on the ballot

Labour’s National Executive Committee has voted 18-14 tonight that the current leader, Jeremy Corbyn should be automatically included on the ballot for the forthcoming leadership contest. UPDATE: They’ve pulled up the drawbridge on taking any more opportunistic political migrants… Klaxon – existing new members may not even be allowed to become registered supporter paying £25. Unholy mess https://t.co/7U6ypxWvPl — Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) July 12, 2016 Here the rulebook says members since Jan can't also now pay £25 to be … Read more

With a leadership challenge in the offing, @UKLabour calls for a general election…

Labour NI AGM table goodies

A few weeks ago, Eamonn McCann reassured the Assembly that the Brexit referendum would split the Tory party apart. He clearly believed (as did many of us) that we were on our way to a Remain vote. That certainly would have been messy for the Tories, and would not (as David Cameron hoped) necessarily have resolved the matter for a generation. But Brexit is likely to provide the Tories with some substantial closure on the matter. So instead it is the … Read more

A modern fable: Goldilocks and the three Labour leaders

Nobody expected Jeremy Corbyn to win the leadership contest in 2015, I’m not sure even he expected it. Actually, nobody expected Jeremy Corbyn to even be part of the leadership contest in 2015 – he was put on the ballot, as history now tells us, to widen the discussion, to broaden the range of candidates on offer. Well that worked out well. It may however have served a purpose in the long run. “Once upon a time, there was a Parliamentary … Read more

Hilary Benn has been sacked as Shadow Foreign Secretary

We had the Tories, now on to Labour as the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn sacks Hilary Benn from the Shadow Cabinet; Newspaper reports suggested Mr Benn had been encouraging shadow ministers to resign if Mr Corbyn ignored the result of the no confidence vote. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Mr Corbyn “worked himself to the ground” during the four-month campaign. Senior Labour sources have also told the BBC that a significant number of shadow cabinet resignations were likely if Jeremy … Read more

Joan Burton to resign as Labour Leader

From the Irish Times; Ms Burton is to meet her parliamentary party tomorrow and The Irish Times understands she will confirm her resignation. It is understood deputy leader Alan Kelly and former minister of state Sean Sherlock plan to contest the party leadership. Former minister for public expenditure Brendan Howlin will not challenge for the position. It is understood Mr Howlin was only willing to seek the role if there was no contest. Labour’s constitution requires a leadership contest if … Read more

Government Formation: Reconciling Irreconcilables?

The noise that has emanated from politicians – past and present – and pundits about what the next government might look like has been difficult to make sense of in recent days.  Equally trenchant arguments have been made, on the one hand, that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will form a coalition and, on the other, that such a grand coalition is impossible. Some have advocated for a minority Fine Gael government, supported from the opposition benches by Fianna Fáil.  … Read more

The success of women in this election has done more than rock the system

Suzanne Collins is the Director of Operations and Campaigns for Women For Election. She writes for us about the success of female candidates in the 2016 General Election. In 1990, the newly elected Irish President Mary Robinson who was the first woman to be elected to the office, thanked her voters the ‘women of Ireland, Mná na Éireann, who instead of rocking the cradle rocked the system.’ The system may have been rocked but it another 26 years and a … Read more

Final words from John Bowman on #ge16

A tradition in Irish election broadcasts is the final thoughts of broadcaster, John Bowman. Since there will be a lot of speculation over the coming days, here is his final analysis of Election 2016; To say this election is unique goes without saying. It’s historic, it’s seismic, it’s awesome in its consequences and as the deluge subsides what does one see? Is the integrity of the quarrel between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael intact or will it melt? Is the … Read more

…but they’ll never take our EU membership?

The debate on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union has properly begun.  In these early days of the debate David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon have made an unusual partnership to try and add a Scottish question to the European one.  The UUP is playing a game of public angst with the Scottish claims one of the issues they list for their dither as they frantically try to assess the direction of the wind. The ability of Northern Ireland … Read more

Coalitions; How to keep one crowd honest & the other crowd out

Coalitions are the talk of the town at the moment in the Irish general election. It’s little wonder seeing as the current government is certain to lose the massive 53 seat majority that it won at the 2011 general election. According to Professor Michael Marsh’s poll of polls the current state of play in terms of seats is this;   This pretty much means all bets are off in terms of forming a government as only Fianna Fail and Fine … Read more

Ranking the Party Election Broadcasts

As most of our regular readers know, I typically get a group of people together to review the party election broadcasts from the various parties in Northern Ireland. However, with the twists and turns in the current Irish general election, I thought it would be interesting do something similar for the party election broadcasts in the South. In that spirit, I took myself down to Dublin to review each of the main parties election broadcasts Hugh O’Connell, Political Editor of … Read more

What do the Southern parties have planned for Northern Ireland?

There’s an election on in the South in case you hadn’t noticed. Whilst yes, the North plays a little role in determining the outcome of an Irish election and the interest from Northern Ireland has hardly been great, I thought that since we now have the manifestos of the main parties out there now, it would be interesting to see what plans each of them have for the North. You will be relieved to know that in all of the … Read more