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

Political World

Kenny shows his ruthless streak to shake up Fine Gael landscape in Galway West

Avatar

Published

on

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

How can you evaluate Hildegarde Naughton’s elevation to the Seanad? A surprise comparable to Galway beating Armagh in Pearse Stadium last Saturday? Hmmm, not quite – more a surprise comparable to if London had beaten Mayo in McHale Park last Sunday.

The new Fine Gael senator has easily the most exotic name in parliament (Fianna Fáil senator Camillus Glynn retired in 2011) and is a politician with undoubted ability and a lot of promise.

From the Oranmore side of the city, she represents the western suburbs of the city, so her voter base potentially straddles both sides of the Galway urban area. She polled a respectable 3,606 (or a third of a quota) in the 2011 General Election, and wasn’t very far behind the three other candidates. 

She has also been Mayor of Galway and with her musical background will give new meaning to the political spin-meisters desire to have an “all singing and all dancing candidate”.

I met her and her mother canvassing around the town of Ashbourne for Helen McEntee during her successful campaign in the Meath East by-election earlier this year. She certainly has the dedication and the perseverance and the smarts for national politics.

It’s not that Naughton doesn’t deserve her elevation – it’s just that if you were thinking about it coldly, there are many other places in the country in bad need of a strong Fine Gael presence.

Dublin North West – where the party has no TD – is one that springs to mind. Or Laois and Offaly where there will be two constituencies each with three seats the next time around – and Fine Gael would have a biddable chance of winning a seat in at least one.

Enda Kenny’s decision to appoint Naughton adds to a very healthy complement of parliamentarians from the two Galway constituencies – 14 in all, and 15 if you include Ronan Mullen). But her appointment is also very telling about Kenny’s thinking on two distinct matters – his attitude towards those who defied the party whip over abortion; and what his opponents say is his utterly cynical attitude to the Seanad.

On a strict and steely analysis of Fine Gael’s chances of electoral success in Galway West, the decision does not make a huge amount of sense.

The party already has two TDs in situ and a Senator who certainly believes that one of the two seats should have gone in her direction.

Moreover, the addition of a healthy chunk of South Mayo – nine electoral areas around Ballinrobe – coming into Galway West, there is also the prospect of John O’Mahony migrating south in the hunt for votes.

I’ve never been convinced that this is a serious option for O’Mahony. He would have to rely on a big Galway vote and that would mean an incursion into Sean Kyne country. I don’t believe O’Mahony will move in the same way I don’t believe Micheál Kitt will move from Galway East into Roscommon/Galway.

Even without O’Mahony it’s a crowded field. And while it was certain that Naughton would be a candidate in the next General Election, what Kenny has done has been to promote her into the second slot in the constituency after Kyne.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Politics and law have been entwined through the ages

Avatar

Published

on

Seamus Woulfe...at the centre of latest storm.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

I remember when I was a kid there was an Irish rugby tour to apartheid South Africa which caused a huge furore, including a (if I remember correctly) a shouty row on The Late Late Show. One of the arguments used by those favouring the tour was: “Sports and politics should not mix.”

It went down well as a sound bite but was a nonsense; the reality is that politics mixes with everything, including sports. Nothing occurs in a vacuum.

Politicians make decisions over how sport is funded, how it is governed and regulated (look at the recent row over John Delaney’s tenure), and sometimes when it can be played.

All sports organisations have their own internal politics which can be more vicious than the stuff that goes on in Leinster House. And political parties have long ago discovered the benefits of putting a high profile former sportsperson up as a candidate.

Which brings us onto the bigger issue: the separation of powers in the State. Our Constitution draws out a relationship between the three arms of State – the Executive (government), Judiciary and Parliament (the Oireachtas). The impression that has been handed down to us is they are three goldfish in different bowls, all swimming, but in different waters.

It just doesn’t work out like that in real life. For one, for most of the history of the State, parliament has essentially been a chattel of government, with no real separate powers of its own.

In recent years, with less stable majorities for government than in the past, that relationship has changed – but parliament is still very much subservient to central Government.

It’s not just lip service when it comes to relationships with the legal establishment. There is an effort to assert that they operate in separate spheres but real life often intrudes – it’s more or less impossible to maintain the divide, unless you do it artificially.

For one, it is politicians who appoint judges, not other judges. Now, of course, judges have a say in it. There is the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board (JAAB) which assesses the merits of lawyers who are not yet judges.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

Biden brings normality back to world’s most powerful office

Avatar

Published

on

US President-elect Joe Biden celebrates his victory with his wife Jill and his Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

I did not want to make the same mistake I made four years ago. Then I stayed up until about 1.30am and it looked like it was going okay for Hillary Clinton in Florida. So I said to myself, that big buffoon is done for. When I woke up the next morning Donald Trump was the President of the United States. He had somehow managed to win Florida and dismantled the Blue Wall of Democrat States in the Mid-West by taking Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

This time I stayed up until 4.30 in the morning. And that was a mistake too. For the picture was as unclear then as it was 12 hours later.

It was too close to call but already commentators were talking of a red mirage; most on-the-day voters plumped for Trump but early voters – whose votes were counted last – had steered very sharply towards Joe Biden.

It was historic. It’s really hard to knock out an incumbent president seeking a second term. It had been done only eight times before that in two and a half centuries.

Was it his inept handling of Covid-19? Had people grown sick of his vanity and his self-serving boasts? Did this natural disruption just cause too much turmoil and uncertainty in people’s lives? Did his partisan views, that red-mist madness, repel more than it attracted?

Well, the evidence is in the poll. The answer to all those questions is yes. To me, the outcome was clear. Biden won the popular votes. He also won the electoral colleges.

The majority was small and reflects a very divided society. Trump is the champion of rural, less educated, blue collar white, conservative, Hispanic and white America. Biden is popular among the middle classes, the urbanites, the better educated, and black voters.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

Leo has to take his medicine after debacle over leak to GPs

Avatar

Published

on

Words of comfort...it's a big week for Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and US President Donald Trump.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

It’s the first week in quite a while that Covid-19 has been knocked from the top slot in politics by other events and controversies. For it to happen, it’s taken no less than polling day in a US presidential election (which we will come back to later) and Leo Varadkar getting snared in a trap of his own making. With friends like his who needs enemies?

What has played out over a few days this week in the Dáil is a procession or ritual that has become familiar to anyone who knows how our form of parliamentary politics works.

A political storm erupts involving an office holder.

Government colleagues rush in to defend the Minister.

Opposition TDs rifle the thesaurus entries for ‘scandal’ and ‘outrage’.

The Minister makes a statement in the Dáil.

If it is immediately serious – corruption, a blatant lie, bullying or harassment, a serious breach of a law or code – the Minister is a goner.

If it is less so, the Minister will survive with his or her reputation diminished.

Unless of course, there is more and the Minister can’t just draw a line under it. If they accumulate headlines over a week, that also spells curtains.

We have seen Ministers like Alan Shatter, Frances Fitzgerald, Barry Cowen and Denis Naughten fall on their swords.

At this vantage point ahead of the Dáil debate, it looks like there is zero possibility that Varadkar will resign; he’s going to ship political damage though, that’s for sure.

For one, his apology needs to be a bit more contrite than the mealy-mouthed explanation at the weekend that his manner of dealing with it “could have been better”.

There was an embarrassment of Fine Gael Ministers (all five senior Ministers plus a couple of junior ministers) falling over themselves this week to defend the Tánaiste’s honour.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

Weather

Weather Icon
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending