Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Political World

By-elections win is crucial for Fianna Fail’s revival

Published

on

On the canvass….Cllr. Ivan Connaughton, FF Leader Michael Martin, Senator Terry Leyden and former Roscommon Mayor Martin Connaughton, father of Ivan. Photo: David Flynn.

Political World with Harry McGee

It may have slipped under the political radar but there are two by-elections going on right now – and neither have anything to do with John McNulty or the Seanad or the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

In the normal scheme of things, both should be more important. But because of the strange turns of events we sometimes get in politics, both have been inverted in importance and are playing second fiddle to what should be a nonevent.

The one that is of most interest down this part of the world is the by-election in Roscommon-South Leitrim to fill the vacancy left by the election of Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan to the European Parliament.

It’s a strange by-election because, in 18 months, the constituency won’t exist anymore. South Leitrim is being moved in with the rest of Leitrim and Sligo in a new constituency.

And as for Roscommon –Charles Haughey once said of a bottle of wine that there was too much in it for one person drinking but not enough for two.

And the same can be said of Roscommon. It’s too big to be tacked onto some other county to form a natural constituency. And it’s too small to be a constituency of its own these days.

As a result, there have been some very unsuitable marriages of convenience over the years for Roscommon. It was yoked with Longford (across the Shannon in Leinster). As Albert Reynold’s right-hand man Mickey Doherty wryly noted when it came to transferring votes from Roscommon to Longford: “Votes Don’t Swim”.

In more recent years, Leitrim has been split in half to accommodate Roscommon. And now the latest solution is to sacrifice half of East Galway to make a three-seater called Roscommon-Galway.

But the by-election is being fought in the old constituency and it will make for a fascinating – and telling – contest. Interest isn’t particularly high (there’s going to be a low turnout) and there’s a big field of ten. And over the next few days I think they are going to get whittled down to two or three.

For nearly 30 years there was a tradition of the government of the day not winning by-elections. There have been four so far in this Government’s term and it has won three of them (all three were caused by the death of a sitting Fine Gael TD who was succeeded by a close relative).

Two of the by-elections were held in Dublin West. The first was following the death of Brian Lenihan and was won by Labour’s Patrick Nulty. He then stood down (over inappropriate social messages) and the vacancy was won by a left-wing candidate, Ruth Coppinger of the Socialist Party.

By-elections are a kind of crude weathervane, a bit like an opinion poll. They’re more important to parties that are struggling or rebuilding. A by-election victory can be a real shot in the arm. Lately they have been telling about the rise of Sinn Féin and the so-so performances of Fianna Fáil.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

 

Connacht Tribune

Corporation Tax provides cash for Budget giveaway

Published

on

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe: "the needs of the people are significant".

World of Politics with Harry McGee

I have seen some extraordinary budgets in my time. There were the giveaway budgets (Fianna Fáil 2001 and again in 2007) just before general elections.

There were the Covid budgets that allowed enough cash to pay everybody still in a job and pay everybody who was out of a job.

There were the hair shirt budgets (from 2008 to 2014) when the country was going down the tubes.

And there was Charlie McCreevy’s infamous decentralisation budget which was a great idea but a lousy way to go about it.

This week’s Budget fitted snugly into that category of out-of-the ordinary. In addition to a whopping €6.9 billion of additional funding in the Budget itself, there was an estimated €4.1bn extra in once-off spending in the cost-of-living package. So that’s €11 billion in spending altogether on Tuesday. It’s a big chunk of change in anybody’s language.

It was pure auction politics. First the Government said it would put an additional €1 billion in the once-off package, then it said it would put €2 billion into it, then we heard rumours of €3 billion and now it’s topped €4bn. Of course, the auction was joined into by the Opposition. They have all proposed packages that will involve considerably more spending than the Government’s Euromillions. Sinn Fein is at €13.5 billion. God knows what People Before Profit proposes to spend (it’s not easy to quantify) but its stratospheric. At least its message of spending everything we have got, nationalising everything we have got, is consistent.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Prodigal son Bertie could be set for return to the fold

Published

on

Bertie Ahern speaking at the announcement of the Good Friday Agreement.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

I’d actually forgotten that Bertie Ahern wasn’t a member of Fianna Fáil until the issue was brought up at the parliamentary party meeting of TDs and senators last week.

He was in Coventry or Purdah – or wherever politicians with a whiff of scandal around them are put – for a number of years but he’s been back at the centre of the political and public stage for so long now, you begin to forget that he was ever away.

And so last week, Donegal senator Niall Blaney stood up and addressed his colleagues right at the end of the meeting. He said 2023 would mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. The party needed to put its best foot forward to commemorate it.

Out of the blue, he then said that should include welcoming Bertie Ahern back into the party fold. He called on the party to act in “a spirit of inclusivity”.

It was one of those moments that Conamara people have a great expression for. ‘Tháinig sé Aniar Aduaidh orainn’ (it surprised us from the North West).

It had not been on the meeting agenda but now it was very much on the party’s agenda. Others piped up. Offaly TD Barry Cowen said that the time had come to readmit Ahern to Fianna Fáil. Over the next 24 hours colleagues joined in, saying a lot of water had flown under the bridge since a decade ago.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Sinn Féin still to learn that populism comes at a price

Published

on

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald meets up with US speaker Nancy Pelosi on her American tour last week.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

The Dáil kicked off again yesterday with the usual circus of press conferences, tetchy exchanges in the chamber and protests outside the gate. The first private members motion was tabled by the main opposition party, Sinn Féin, putting forward its own measures to assist with household bills.

Its main suggestion is to boot out this government and put Mary Lou McDonald in.

The regional group is next in line with a private members motion on Thursday. Surprise, surprise, it’s about the security of electricity supply.

The usual pre-Dáil niceties have now been dispensed with. All the political parties held parliamentary away days – or think-ins as they have been dubbed. I’m sure policy and strategy is discussed at some of them but the name of the game is to get your name up in lights before the Oireachtas kicks off.

As night follows day, it will only be a matter of days before the first no-confidence motion is tabled against a Government Minister. Given the huge price hikes in electricity and gas bills, it could be Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan who finds himself in the crosshairs of the opposition parties.

Then there’s the legislative programme. At the start of each new term, the Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers releases a list of about 40 Bills that are earmarked for publication before the session comes to an end. Getting half of them published would represent an exceptionally good performance.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending