Fianna Fail by-election performances

Fianna Fail experienced a significant loss in support in the recent Donegal South West by-election relative to their support level in that constituency, with their support down by 12,792 votes and percentage share of the vote down by 29.2%. But the recent history of the party has shown a tendency for the party to poll poorly in by elections only for party support levels to recover in a subsequent general election.   Continue reading

Answering questions, or questioning answers – where does the debate go from here?

 by: Matt Wall.

This post is in response to Elaine’s ‘10 proposals for political reform’.

It seems that there is now an incontestable case for far-reaching political reform in the light of all that has happened in Ireland since late 2008; and this case has been crystallised particularly vividly over the last week. However, while most people can agree that we need political reform, there appears to be little or no consensus around precisely what reforms should be put in place.

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Posted by Elaine Byrne


Detailed information on rationale for proposals contained in links within each proposal taken from my Irish Times columns. The reason for reform.

  1. Publish full political financial accounts online, greater powers for Standards Commission and ratify GRECO recommendations.
  2. Reform committee system, repeal Abbeylara decision and give committees renewed investigative powers.
  3. Rebalance relationship between executive and legislature as was intended in Article 28 of Constitution
  4. Meaningful open government with stronger FOI legislation, new whistleblower and lobbying legislation and public appointments board.
  5. Reform local government with revenue raising powers and reform planning powers
  6. Diverse representation in public life through a reformed Senand which would encompass island of Ireland and diaspora in public life
  7. Introduce gender quotas, lower voting age to 16, reform decision making process
  8. Change the electoral system
  9. Definition of Republic in constitution and statement of values
  10. Citizens assembly to be implemented

The election is called – or is it?

Posted by Eoin O’Malley, 22 November 2010

The decision of the Greens to call for the election to take place, confirms what most already expected, that an election will take place in early 2011. That Lowry and Healy-Rae are jumping also ensures the government is effectively over.  But when will the election actually take place? The Green statement is unclear.  It was being reported by RTÉ and the Irish Times might take place in late January, but they have since amended this. I assume the Greens mean that the date for the election will be fixed in January to take place at some as yet unspecified later date.

So the date of the election remains unclear. Continue reading

Sunday Business Post/Red C Poll 21 November 2010: Fianna Fail down to 29 seats?

Adrian Kavanagh, 21st November 2010

The latest Sunday Business Post/Red C poll figures estimate party support as follows: Fianna Fail 17%, Fine Gael 33%, Labour Party 27%, Sinn Fein 11%, Green Party 3%, Independents/Others 8%, marking a 1% gain for Fine Gael and a 1% loss for Fianna Fail relative to the October 24th poll while Labour support levels remain static. The main gain is made by Sinn Fein, whose support levels increase by 2%. On the basis of these poll figures, my analysis would estimate party seat numbers in the next Dail as follows: Fianna Fail 29, Fine Gael 66, Labour Party 49, Sinn Fein 12, Green Party 0, Independents/Others 10.

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Radical poltical reform needed

In his weekly column in The Irish Times yesterday Stephen Collins argued cogently that radical political reform will be an urgent task of the new government

Collins argues that it is now blindingly obvious that our multi-seat system of proportional representation played a big role in bringing us to where we are. “The system throws up elected representatives who are good at constituency work but who have little interest in, or capacity for, policy debate or innovative thinking.” His prescription is the introduction of single-seat constituencies with a top-up by a list system to retain proportionality.

The problem is that if the electoral system is to be changed it will not work on its own. Collins and many of us would like to see the emergence of quality legislators who have the interest and ability to understand the national interest and to prioritise it. The electoral system may or may not be central to that but what is crucial is changing the system in which our elected representatives operate. The Dáil at the moment is simply a talking shop, a “joke” as Richard Bruton put it at a recent PSAI meeting. Legislators largely read prepared scripts to a largely empty house. The whip system ensures that they have little or no influence on policy. Simply electing them by another means will not change that. Continue reading

Fianna Fáil, the IMF, the Future

Posted by Theresa Reidy (17 November, 2010)

The focus of attention on the economic terms of the coming bailout has obscured some of the likely political consequences a bailout may have for the dominant party of Irish politics. The recent decline in Fianna Fáil popularity has coincided with the sharp deterioration in economic conditions. This has led to suggestions that Fianna Fáil has lost a group of its core support, which had been based on their reputation for economic governance. The recession has greatly damaged that reputation and it may take considerable time to restore it. Continue reading

Donegal South West in maps

Pearse Doherty support by ED in Donegal South West, 2007 General Election

Pearse Doherty support by ED in Donegal South West, 2007 General Election

Adrian Kavanagh, 17 November 2010

Red C opinion poll figures for the Donegal South West by-election and the subsequent general election in that constituency provide ill tidings for Fianna Fail but offer very good news for Sinn Fein and Labour in that constituency.  But past electoral trends suggest that geographical factors/local voting trends will also need to be taken account of here. This post will look especially at geographical voting trends for the last general election in this constituency, based on an analysis and mapping of tally figures for that election. It suggests that the final result can be predicted based on early tallies by knowing the geography of voting in this constituency. Continue reading