Do smaller parties always lose in government?

By Eoin O’Malley

The latest opinion poll (analysed here) indicates that the Labour party is bearing the brunt of governing whereas Fine Gael and Enda Kenny seem to be enjoying an extended honeymoon with the electorate. This is backed up by the analysis of polcors in Ireland, one of whom reported here that Gilmore was seen as ‘dithering’ and ineffectual in cabinet.  reports of Kenny’s performance in cabinet are that he is effective and fair – surprising many. So do small parties always do badly in government, and if so why?

Continue reading

Who’ll get the Department of Defence?

Eoin O’Malley (5 March, 2011)

Yesterday some of us wrote in the Irish Times about what might need to be done in the government’s first week to show it is serious about political reform. One of the suggestions was for using the Seanad route  to appoint a minister with relevant experience to what will be the strategically important  post of Minister for Foreign Affairs. The whole government formation process will be critical to showing how serious this government is about changing politics and political reform. Who gets what departments and what departments are chosen will determine the focus of the new government,  perhaps even more so that the programme for government. 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.

Continue reading

Donegal South West by election: The numbers…

Adrian Kavanagh, 5 November 2010

On the basis of the most recent general election results in Donegal South West, this might be expected to be one constituency where Fianna Fail could actually have a realistic chance of winning a by-election (thus becoming the first government party to do so since Noel Treacy won the Galway East by-election in 1982), but a study of local election result trends in the three electoral areas that this Dail constituency is comprised of – Donegal (Town), Glenties and Stranorlar – offers a more sobering portrait for Fianna Fail and offers Fine Gael hope that they could be the party to win this by-election, thus offering prospects of yet another electoral success in western Ireland for the “Kenny Krusade”. Continue reading

Fine Gael rurality key to Enda’s survival?

Adrian Kavanagh (17 June 2010)

The geography of Fine Gael support offers some insight as to why Enda Kenny survived the challenge to his leadership today.  The party’s strength in rural, and especially western, parts of the state, relative to its weakness in Dublin, saw high numbers of Fine Gael TDs, MEPs and Senators being elected from these areas, many of whom proved to be Kenny supporters in the leadership contest. Had Fine Gael won more seats in 2007 in the eastern and more urban parts of the state, where the Bruton supporters tended to predominate, the result of the leadership poll could have been different.

Fine Gael support by constituency in 2007 General Election

Fine Gael support by constituency in 2007 General Election

Continue reading