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Sinn Fein hit by a double ‘Seamus Darby moment’

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Gerry Adams: claims the SInn Fein and the IRA covered-up allegations of sexual abuse will damage the party, and its leader.

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

Politics is full of Seamus Darby moments.

To understand this metaphor you have to go back 30 years.

The Kerry team of that era was the finest team of all time.

In 1984, it was going for a five-in-a-row, underlining its utter dominance of Gaelic football at the time.

The only team that stood in its way was Offaly – a very good team but very much in the underdog mode.

And in the All-Ireland final in Croke Park, Kerry seemed to be cruising to victory.

However, Offaly had managed to say in touch and was only one score behind.

In the dying moments of the game a speculative high diagonal ball was sent in towards the Kerry goal.

Darby had not featured much for the Offaly team that year and had just come on as a sub.

He was big and strong. Using his body plus a hint of a nudge he was able to displace his opponent from position and catch the ball behind him, on the left edge of the parallelogram.

He hit a shot that arced over the Charlie Nelligan into the far corner.

It was the clincher. The game was over in seconds and – against all odds – Offaly were All Ireland champions.

Now read on…

Being a politics column, it’s not good luck we are celebrating. The very opposite in face.

How often do we see a political party ‘ar mhuin na muice’ (on the pig’s back) one moment and being unceremoniously dumped onto their backside seconds later.

It’s already happened with Fine Gael and Labour this year. Whatever bounce the parties got from the reshuffle and the Budget was wiped away completely by the Seanad byelection mess and by the continuing controversy over water charges; as well as the set-up costs of Irish Water.

The beneficiaries? Well not Fianna Fáil. It’s not going anywhere particularly fast at present, but then it has kept its nose clean of late which might just benefit it a little.

Sinn Féin seemed to have been the biggest beneficiary. But the moment we all started to pronounce the party’s rise as inexorable and unassailable was the moment we experienced a Seamus Darby moment.

An Irish Times poll conducted by Ipsos mrbi showed Sinn Féin as the largest party in Dublin with support levels of an astounding 39 per cent among the working classes.

That support should have been pushed through to the by-election in Dublin South West which should have been the party’s for the taking.

Instead, it was called out on a specific policy issue. In early September, the party had signalled that only one issue was a red line issue of the party – and that was property tax. But then when it began campaigning in the by-election, its candidate Cathal King said that the water charges change was also a red line issue. In the end, the party leadership was left with little choice but to say that it would not enter any coalition arrangement without the charges being reversed.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Corporation Tax provides cash for Budget giveaway

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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.

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Connacht Tribune

Prodigal son Bertie could be set for return to the fold

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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.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Sinn Féin still to learn that populism comes at a price

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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.

 

 

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