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.
Any bailout of Ireland by the EU and the IMF is likely to further undermine the economic reputation of Fianna Fáil but it may also contribute to a fall off in another section of the party’s core support. The party system has its origins in the Civil War and differing opinions on the shape of Irish independence and the nature of Irish sovereignty. Fianna Fáil, the Republican Party, have built a reputation as the more ardent nationalist party and defender of Irish sovereignty. Its position on Northern Ireland, goal of restoring the first national language and rhetoric on a variety of issues have reinforced this view in the mindset of party members and the public alike.
If Fianna Fail negotiate a bailout which erodes Irish national sovereignty, it may result in another section of its core base re-evaluating their support for the party. The actions of the party in the current period will undermine their sovereignty credentials and questions can be asked about how this may manifest at the next elections. If it loses support on this front, these voters may choose to support a party with stronger credentials on questions of Irish sovereignty. The arrival of Gerry Adams in the Louth constituency could be a focus for disaffected Fianna Fáil voters? The offer by the British Government to assist in the bailout of Ireland provides another piece of discordant evidence for the republican Fianna Fáil voter.
There are interesting times ahead for Fianna Fáil.
3 thoughts on “Fianna Fáil, the IMF, the Future”
Whatever decision needs to be taken to keep Fianna Fáil in power will be taken. Let’s not forget it wasn’t set up due to genuine policy differences, it was set up due to the ego of one person – Dev. The man who claimed to be a democrat couldn’t accept the democratic decision of the people and the Dáil, so from the moment it was set up FF has been flawed – at each stage of its history the flawed pedigree.
Until Irish people face up to the flaws in the Irish charactoer that allows a party like FF to be so successful, then none of the policy changes and reforms needed in greater society can take place and I genuinely do not believe that most politicians are sincere or honest and this is the catch 22 – until we stop selected unsuitable people to be candidates for election we will not get the proper policies needed.
The personalities of the likes of Cowen, Lenihan, Harney, Hanafin, Couglan, Ahern, CJH, O’Rourke, Martin and all who have sat at cabinet in FF led governments since 1977 has to be taken into account and when you see the parents of Cowen, Lenihan and Hanafin, it is not credible they have the moral skills needed to tackle this mess, if they had the mess wouldn’t have occured in the first place.
The cross-class cohesion provided by the “Republican” position of Fianna Fail had already been seriously reduced. This development was masked by the false boom. The spectre of the British Lord Chancellor participating in a “bail-out” of the Irish Stae may well diminish this further.
The Red C Poll in Donegal SW gives a total of 35% to Fianna Fail+Fine Gael. The total for Sinn Fein(40) + Labour(15)+ left independent(8) is 63%. In a Dublin working class constituency the latter combination is likely to get 63%+. But in that case Labour will probably hold the 40%. A Labour+ Sinn Fein+Left government is now a distinct possibility if Labour breaks with Fine Gael and looks to its left for allies.
If Fine Gael +Fianna Fail have not enough to form a government after the next general election, a real earthquake will have occurred.
Let us recall that in the last general election in Donegal SW the combined total of FF+FG was in excess of 65%.
further conclusions from Red C poll in Donegal South West
The actual combined vote of Fianna Fail +Fine Gael in the last General Election was 73%. The Red C poll shows a combined decline of 38%
It is probable that while Fianna Fail(19%) will be second on first count, FF will be overtaken on later counts by either FG(16%) or Labour(15%). FF would therefore end up in third place
If the poll were replicated in a General election where 3 seats are available, it is probable that on distribution of the Sinn Fein surplus and Pringle’s votes that Fine Gael would be relegated to fourth place and would loose the seat of Dinny McGinley giving a result SF1,FF1, Lab 1
The poll is subject to an uncertainty of 4.5% as only 500 electors were interviewed