Saturday, May 26, 2007
It looks like the Green Party just about survived the squeeze from FF and FG and will return to the Dáil with the same number of seats. I think the party should have a big think-in about this election. While the presidential nature of this election was a problem, I think the party's message got lost partly in an attempt to not scare any perspective voters. I hope no-one came to the conclusion that a softly, softly approach would be best. It sure wasn't best for Boyle.
Vincent Browne says that the parties of the left should all opt out of coalition and regroup as a formidable block. Let FF and FG go in together, since they're so alike. I like this kind of thinking but there's no chance.
I just saw John O Donoghue and Jackie Healy Rae (both returned) have a chat on RTÉ -
JOD: You'll be coming with a list, Jack.
JHR: Aye, John and it'll be a sizeable one.
JOD: There was a man who made the pact with the devil. He got a purse that no matter how many times he dipped into, there was always more money.
JHR: Aye, John and I'm ready to move back in with the devil.
Just in - Ciaran Cuffe hangs onto his seat for the Greens. He said he went to the movies during the day to take his mind off of the count, he said he saw The Pirates of Penzance. I think he meant Pirates of the Caribbean - doesn't sound like he had his mind on the movie.
So, while it's not over yet, Bertie and FF look in good shape. The question is, will it be FF/Lab or FF/GP/Ind?
Mary O Rourke just won her old Dáil seat back. Brian Dobson said, - it wouldn't be wise to try and put Mary up on your shoulders.
Audible gasp from John Gormley on the panel.
Dobson soldiered on, - not that you wouldn't be able to... I just don't think she'd appreciate it....
I'm off to bed... ok, watch another half hour, then bed.
Friday, May 25, 2007
That means South Leitrim will not be represented in the next Dáil.
By the way, my constituency has yet to be mentioned on RTÉ.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Maybe he meant the metaphorical slavery of the colonists by the crown but I doubt it.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Right now I feel that the most likely outcome is still a Fianna Fail - Labour coalition.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
This is the closest election in quite some time and thank God for that. Also, I'm seriously starting to think that FF & the PDs are on the way out. While I put little faith in polls (especially for the smaller parties) there's no doubt they can affect the outcome. Constant talk about the Alliance for Change's ongoing momentum can convince the public. However, the run-up to every election involves writing the PDs off.
Last night's messy four way debate between the leaders of the Greens, SF, Labour and the PDs was vaguely interesting. I hate to admit it but McDowell probably put his party back into contention. The fact that for a lot of the debate it was him against the other three will help his cause. Pat Rabbitte looked like he understood this dynamic best so he tried to keep civil at all time.
Gerry Adams amazed me. He was way off his game. He sounded like he didn't know the facts and is maybe not quite as in touch with the concerns of voters in the South as his party would hope.
Trevor Sargent did a fine job, if not a little subdued. Last night somewhat represented his party's major concern - getting squeezed out by the other parties. Also, he only ever mentioned global warming twice. He has a great point to make that investment in renewable energy is the best way to advance our economy yet he just about made it.
Tonight sees the leader's debate between Bertie and Enda. Enda Kenny intrigues me. Sometimes he sounds dynamic and witty and sometimes he sounds like he is on auto pilot. Bertie is an awful speaker, just awful so if he improves at all, he will impress.
This election is still hard to call. We've a week to go but most people have their minds made up with around three days to go. That means that the next few days are vital. I'd imagine there's a lot of undecideds left out there. The debate is the only time we really get to compare the Taoiseach with the man who would be Taoiseach, so many votes will be won or lost tonight.
Honest to God, I have no idea how this election will go for the Green Party. My head says one thing and my heart the other. But trust me, we need to really tackle the issues of the environment over the next twenty years. If we don't start soon, it'll be too late.
One final thought, I hope all the interest in this election - the fact that we seem to have a alternative option open to us this time and how close the whole thing is - ends with the best possible result... a massive turn out on the 24th.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Nothing much else bar SF changing their position on corporate tax....
Sunday, May 06, 2007
- What about Connacht, lads?
- If it's not Galway, it's Mayo.
- And Ulster?
- Donegal look good.
- Hard to bet against Kerry.
- And the big one, Leinster?
- Well blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah blah blah blah Dublin blah blah...
This is just like what happened last October - McDowall had the chance to prove his party's worth as watchdogs but baulked.
What's interesting is that by all accounts, McDowall, Harney and O Donnell were good to go but party president Tom Parlon convinced them to hold on. If you ask me, this is because of two things - 1. the PDs don't want to be responsible for pulling down this government; 2. if they do pull out, that pretty much rules them out of going back in with FF after the election.
Hard to say how any of this helps the Greens or not.
One other thing. Even if FF win the election (ie form a government with one or two of the smaller parties or independents), Bertie isn't guaranteed his job. He may well have to go in the post election party negotiations.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Even Bertie nods. I don't particularly like Ahern (not a personal dislike, I only ever met him once) but I always had the impression that he was a master of the business of politics and electioneering. He doesn't look it now. His bizarre early-hours dash to the Áras last Sunday to dissolve the 29th Dáil robbed Fianna Fáil of a properly staged dissolution. His performance at FF's launch later that day was short and not very sweet but the real shock was his refusal to take questions afterwards. Even his decision to call the election last Sunday is odd; it would've made more sense to call it a week earlier - he must have known that either the Mahon tribunal would start again this week or, if that was held off (as it was), the press would ask the tough questions anyway.
All this has left the Soldiers of Destiny running around like those headless chickens. FF won big time 5 years ago due mostly to the selling of Brand Bertie. But with the Chief reeling from bad press, his party looks more than a little punch drunk. And Bertie sure was swaying on his feet. I've never seen him deal with the press so badly - at times his irritation was palpable at the constant questioning in regards to his finances. On top of all this, today the PDs are more than distancing themselves from FF; they're holding a meeting to discuss these pressing issues. There's a good chance that they might walk out on the government.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael are flying. In fact, their campaign reminds me of Fianna Fáil's of the last election. Kenny is kept moving, moving, moving and doesn't say much of substance. This is a sound political practise - most times we end up with the last clown standing for Taoiseach, so for goodness sake, Enda, whatever you say, say nothing.
Labour are doing ok too. The media love Pat Rabbitte; the man's always good for a quote. Neither is the man shy of publicity stunts - today, himself and Ruairi Quinn had a barbecue where they roasted a list of the government's broken promises.
Nice idea but, just like the soundbites from Enda Kenny, this type of campaigning pisses me off. Village magazine this month has that same list of broken promises and it makes for compelling reading. Let Labour call a press conference and simply read out this article and the point is made with clarity and a bit more class.
Hard to say how Sinn Féin are doing. Today's poll in the Irish Examiner has them trailing. You know, Northern Ireland still doesn't register too highly with a lot of people in the Republic, shameful as that fact may be, and SF's success in NI doesn't guarantee the same south of the border.
According to many pollsters, the Progressive Democrats are in real trouble - one pollster puts them as having zero chance of returning to government. Their campaigning has been very negative, with attacks on the Green Party in particular. The Greens frighten the PDs - both parties are niche and if one goes up, it'll be to the cost of the other. However, much as I'd like to see the back of them, do not rule them out. This time 5 years ago, they looked to be dead and buried when Herr McDowell climbed a lamp post and stuck up that genius 'Single-party government? No thanks' poster. Many, many voters, distrustful and resentful of Fianna Fáil but unwilling to rock the boat, flocked to the PD banner on the back of that.
Still though, McDowall can't make the same claim again. He was presented with the chance to live up to his promise last autumn when the questions first arose about Bertie's finances but he chickened out. Hopefully, the voters will remember that.
Personally, and I know I'm biased, I feel the Green Party did the most substantive campaigning this week. They launched a superb economics package that was in no way anti-business but still goes towards helping the less well off.
Trevor Sargent was the only party leader to really stand up and ask Bertie to clarify his finances now, instead of after the election. Enda and Pat are still shy of explicitly doing the same. Partly due to a understandable wish to not get knocked off of their own message but mainly because of what happened last autumn - Bertie bounced back in the polls last time while the opposition leaders got burnt. Yet I am adamant that that wasn't so much a result of public sympathy to the Taoiseach but more a result of Enda and Pat's dithering over what to do or say. No such fear from Trevor Sargent.
I truly hope the Green Party get into government this time. The going consensus, for what little it's worth, is that the Greens will pick up more seats in this election. The global concern for the environment and the party's now realistic views on certain things like live exports has set them up well. But a strong vote for FF and Labour could well see them swamped and left with less seats than they have now. I read that some pollster on TV3 said that the best thing the Green Party could do is do as little as possible. I understand this idea but fuck it, politics should be more than just keeping your head down and hope you offend as few voters as possible. Let them speak their minds. Let them show us their plans. Let them fight a good fight and let the cards fall as they may after that.
So, there we have the first week. Today's polls say that the government parties are neck and neck with FG and Labour. I'd imagine there's a lot of undecideds out there to be won yet - those votes could well be mopped up by the smaller parties and independents.
Fianna Fáil might have started awful and there's no let up in the questions on Bertie's money but I still think they'll pull it off. Vincent Browne's grilling of the Taoiseach (it was the business) on Thursday probably did Bertie the world of good. And he's still got three big events of state ahead of him - addressing the house of commons, the opening of the Assembly and Paisley's visit to the Boyne.
An interesting question that isn't been asked much lately is, who's leaking Bertie's transactions with Mahon? And thank you, whoever you are. Ahern's lies grow with every day and he is seriously running the risk of totally contradicting himself.
One final thought - here's a combination of parties that might make up our next government; Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and... the Progressive Democrats.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
From today's Irish Times Breaking News:
Last Updated: 01/05/2007 19:01
Work on section of M3 halted after archaeological find
Construction work on a section of the controversial M3 motorway, which is to pass through the Tara/Skreen valley, has been stopped after the discovery of a prehistoric "henge" by archaeologists.
The Department of the Environment confirmed this evening that Minister Dick Roche had received a report that archaeologists working on the route have found evidence of a monument at Lismullin, Co Meath.
The minister is now consulting with the director of the National Museum after the National Monuments Service inspected the site. A spokesman for Mr Roche said: "Work at or near where
the find was made has been suspended". He said most of the work being carried out in the area was of an archaeological nature.
He said Mr Roche was hoping the matter would be dealt with "as a matter of urgency" by the director of the National Museum.
The prehistoric "henge" site is a circular enclosure which is estimated to be about the size of three football fields.
Currently, the archaeological team is authorised to continue to clean back the surface of the area, to complete a plan of the features and to check for associated features outside the enclosure. A small number of stakeholes are also to be excavated to try to recover sufficient material for radiocarbon dating.
The Campagin to Save Tara said it was "delighted" that the discovery of the monument meant that construction of the M3 would temporarily cease.
Spokesman Michael Canney said: 'Everybody knew that this route was destined to destroy the landscape of Tara if it went ahead. The advice of national and international experts was ignored.
"This route was chosen because it was favoured by local politicians and businessmen. That this monument has been discovered is more by accident than by design and many other sites that were of significance have been hastily and inadequately surveyed.
"We now call on the Government and the NRA to abandon this route, admit they have made a serious mistake and act properly and positively to protect our heritage."
The pro-Tara group TaraWatch, which originally reported the site to the Keeper of Antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland yesterday, said that Mr Roche should reroute the M3 in order to avoid the monument.
"This site is a show-stopper and is without doubt a national monument of world significance according to our experts. It would be a sin to demolish it," said TaraWatch spokesperson Vincent Salafia.
Green Party environment spokesman Ciaran Cuffe said his party's concerns about the M3 had been vindicated
"As far back as March 2005 I stated that going ahead with the proposed route for the M3 would be an act of cultural and historic vandalism.
"Only yesterday Martin Cullen was turning the sod for the M3 project, yet today work has been suspended. I am once again calling for all work to come to an end, in particular the massive floodlit Blundlestown interchange, and for the upgrading of the existing N3 to take place instead."© 2007 ireland.com