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

Political World

The people have spoken – but what did they say?

Published

on

Taking a peek at the votes for Galway West in the count centre at the Bailey Allen Hall in NUIG. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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

I  think Bill Clinton’s well-minted phrase is very apt in light of what happened this weekend. Speaking about the outcome of the 2000 presidential election involving George W Bush and Al Gore, he said:

“The American people have now spoken, but it’s gonna take a little while to determine exactly what they said.”

There have been times in the past that the mathematics of election outcome have forced unlikely – and until then inconceivable – combinations.

Look at the deals Fianna Fáil did with the Progressive Democrats in 1989 and with the Labour Party in 1992.

But this is a horse of a different colour. With the Dáil reduced to 158 seats, no party is within 25 seats of reaching the magic number of 78. Even if Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin were to completely do the dirt on their solemn electoral vows and try to form a coalition, they would still be over ten seats short of gaining a majority.

And so of course, all attention has now turned to the two large parties. On Saturday evening Fine Gael’s election looked headed for a disastrous with the possibility of it being eclipsed by Fianna Fáil.

The parties finished with only one percentage point of support separating them which is extraordinary. But Fine Gael got a bit of a seat bounce that allowed it increase the gap and creep over 50 seats.

That was largely thanks to the transfers of losing Labour TDs. Sinn Féin also gained seats but disappointed its own expectations. It had some good wins but lost out in some key constituencies.

The loss of Padraig Mac Lochlainn’s seat in Donegal was a terrible blow and the failure of Trevor Ó Clochartaigh’s in Galway West and Paul Donnelly in Dublin West were also surprises.

For the Labour Party it is a disaster and there is no glossing it. Elections are an Old Testament experience for the smaller party and they were well and truly smited. The exact moment it lost this election was February 2011 when it placed the infamous Tesco Ad.

There’s no doubt that Fianna Fáil were the big winners, given where they came from. Sinn Féin has used the genius (and disingenuous) argument that it’s the second worst election in Fianna Fáil history.

Which is true – but the worst was 2011 and to come from there to where it is now is a big big achievement.

The party caught momentum and then some. Its messages on fairness struck a better chord that that of the other parties. Micheál Martin bested his rivals in the key debates and interviews.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Covid casts long shadow – but vaccine is still winning the race

Published

on

Tony Holohan...concern at rapid rise in numbers.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

To channel Neil Young, Covid-19 is a little like rust; it never sleeps. A few weeks ago it looked like we had it finally under control, and the vaccination programme under the stewardship of Prof Briain Mac Craith was working seamlessly. Case numbers were plummeting as were numbers for hospitalisation and ICU admission. All the indicators were going in the right direction.

The Delta variant has given us a reminder that virus should never be underestimated. Within a number of weeks it has gone from a handful of cases in the UK to being so dominant that, as of yesterday, it accounted for 99 per cent of all cases, according to Public Health England.

Not only there but in Portugal, over 60 per cent of new cases in Lisbon are of the Delta variant. In the US it tripled from 10 percent of all new cases to 30 per cent in just eleven days.

In old money it is known as the Indian variant, and anyone who has followed its progress in that incredibly populous country will know the trail of destruction it has left behind.

Here too, the rapid increase in cases has been incredible. It went from five per cent to 20 per cent in little over a week. There is a strong chance that by July it will be the dominant strain.

Not that we should be panic, because vaccinations have been the key to addressing Covid. In January we were looking at thousands of cases every day and hundreds of deaths. Now people are still contracting Covid in their hundreds each day but the deaths have fallen to near zero and there are hardly two dozen people in ICU.

That connection between the number of cases and deaths has been broken – because of vaccines.

Most of those getting Covid-19 now are younger. The biggest group to get it, the latest 14-day figures show, were those between the ages of 19 to 24, followed by those between 25 and 35, and then those between 35 and 44. The median age is now 25 – two months ago it was 45.

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

Homeowners living in fear of walls coming tumbling down

Published

on

Pyrite and Mica-affected homeowners protest this week at Dublin’s Convention Centre.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

Mica and Pyrite are two words that have been lifted from a technical manual or a science textbook to become part of common speech in Ireland in recent years. The presence of both substances in construction materials has had devastating consequences for families from Donegal, Mayo, Limerick, Sligo and other counties. We have seen the TV documentaries and newspaper reports where distraught homeowners show huge cracks in the gables of houses or show a block to the camera that is crumbling in their hands like dust.

Sometimes it looks like somebody has built a giant bungalow-shaped sandcastle that’s going to be washed away by the next spring tide.

We are talking about people’s family homes here. This is where all the life savings – past, present and future – have gone. They (or rather their builders) bought the blocks in good faith, little knowing they were so defective they would endanger their houses, and indeed their own lives.

As Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald remarked in the Dáil this week about these families: “They go to bed at night wondering will their gable end fall down or will the chimney on their neighbour’s house fall down.”

So who is to blame? The companies who manufactured the blocks? The State for not having robust safety standards for the material or manufacture of blocks? The State, again, for not conducting sufficient inspection?

It’s complicated. Like Pyrite, apportioning blame is a tricky business. What is not in doubt is that people who have built family homes cannot live in them anymore, because they are dangerous and falling apart, and it is not their fault. They deserve compensation.

The focus of the Sinn Féin motion this week was for the families to get 100 per cent open-ended compensation. That would mean the State would foot the entire bill to remediate their houses, to rectify the faults, and sometimes to rebuild the whole lot.

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

Will ‘vaccine bounce’ prove crucial to by-election victory?

Published

on

Noel Treacy...a rare by-election win for the ruling party.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

By-elections sometimes mean everything – and sometimes they mean nothing at all. Because often, by the time a general election takes place, they have faded away into the past. They have no impact at all on the national level.

That doesn’t mean that we haven’t seen some memorable and crucial by-elections.

Like way back in 1982, when Taoiseach Charlie Haughey, who had a minority government, engineered a coup by nominating a Fine Gael TD, Richard Burke, to be Ireland’s European Commissioner.

Burke was a TD for Dublin West which was a Fianna Fáil stronghold at the time. The idea was the party’s candidate would win the subsequent by-election to give Fianna Fáil a majority in the Dáil.

But things did not go to script. Fine Gael’s candidate was a local businessman named Liam Skelly who bucked the trend by taking the seat in an audacious victory for Fine Gael.

Another significant by-election was in 2010 in Donegal South West. Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher had won a seat in the European Parliament in 2009 and the Fianna Fáil-led government had dilly-dallied over holding an election to fill the vacant seat.

The long-fingering eventually resulted in a court case taken by Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty – which he won, amid huge publicity.

The narrative, of course, was that Fianna Fáil were trying to shut him out. By that stage they probably were. Doherty won a massive victory for his party, getting elected in the first count.

I have always believed that this victory alone provided much of the momentum for the big gains Sinn Féin made in the following election.

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