Election 2011 and the Fianna Fáil leadership Eoin O'Malley / January 19, 2011 Neil Ardiff Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintMorePinterestTumblrPocketRedditLinkedInLike this:Like Loading...
7 thoughts on “Election 2011 and the Fianna Fáil leadership”
This is a brazen attempt to pick the assembled brains assembled on this board. I realise that the Greens and FF are indulging in horse-trading of various favoured pieces of legislation, entirely disregarding the public or national interest, with a view to extending their time in office. But does anyone know if there is a date in the next few months which, if reached by the current Dail, would maximise the pension entitlements of a large crop of current TDs? I know the longer they hang on the greater their entitlement, but it is often the case that a cut-off point exists and it might require staying in place for an additional number of months to move up to the next increment of entitlement.
They can’t hang on much longer, but, on the basis of their behaviour to date, maximising their personal benefits would provide an enormous incentive to cling on until the relevant date. Some opposition deputies thinking of hanging up their guns might not be averse to a bit of delay either.
The delay isn’t pension related as the pension kicks in the moment you start in office – previously it was 3 years then Fine Gael/Labour reduced it to 2 years – funnyily enough because that was the time FG had been in office between 94 and 97 and then Bertie took over as we know he doesn’t do properly rules or accounting.
For the Greens the delay is that they know they won’t be back in office for a long time so they still have major things they want to get done and can threaten to completely pull the plug on FF immediately, if they are not allowed push their pet projects.
Whereas FF knows that by calling an election is comes to the end of being able to hand out patronage as it sees fit and like the Greens, it will not be back in office for a very long time, certainly not most of the current party who won’t be coming back – so it’s logical from a human sense that FF will want to put off the day of reckoning as long as it can.
On the pensions by the way, to provide the level of pensions they are going to get requires funds worth millions and those funds smash the inland revenue limits for pension funds so the real issue is to see what stroke is pulled to add a line into the finance act so that they can avoid paying the whopping tax on the pension funds above the revenue limits.
Many thanks for this response and additional insights.
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DF recently asked us some questions about PolRef.
Now I have the view that this ‘satellite site’ may be in a beautiful Newtonian orbit – about Uranus. Just personal view, you understand.
Who benefits from ‘reform’?. Thems be the ones you need to mobilize and recruit. Its the ones on the tree, not those of us already in the barrel. Else all you get by way of change is what little will be offered. Most folk have very little incentive, desire, inclination, motivation or technical ability (aka: psychological skills) to change: Status-quo rules. KO!
So we will get a ‘new’ gov soon. But will we get a new culture? Hmmmm? That’s the Litmus Test.
One can be cynical and link the current farcical events within Fianna Fail with pension entitlements, or one can be even more cynical and link it with a complete disregard of the political class, (specifically Fianna Fail) for the offices of the state.
I am all for cabinet reshuffles – in fact in Ireland we historically haven’t had enough of them, particularly reshuffles involving substantial demotions/promotions from cabinet. Ministers who are shown to be inept at their roles are regularly kept in position in Ireland. Worst case scenario for a Minister completely out of their depth is generally to move them to another cabinet position for which they have no prior experience, appreciation or knowledge of the portfolio. However the spate of resignations yesterday which has necessitated a reshuffle in the coming days, collectively shows a shameful disregard for the offices of the state & the citizens of Ireland. Making such a substantial reshuffle of cabinet circa six weeks before a general election makes a mockery of our sovereign nation. It is difficult to understand the logic of the resigning politicians who have caused this situation. The standard line seems to be “that it is not appropriate for someone not running in the next election to serve in cabinet”. Why the hell not? Why should your impending ‘retirement’ effect your ability to perform your duties until you actually ‘retire’? Late nights on the retirement party circuit? Who else in a position of responsibility in the real world can decide to retire early, and a couple of months in advance of the retirement date, send a letter to their employer to say that they resign from the responsible position they have and they will henceforth be taking a backseat position for their remaining weeks. If these people feel it is not appropriate to fulfil their functions, they should resign from the Dail altogether (a serious of by-election’s at the start of March could actually be amusing at this stage).
This situation also raises the question as to why an election is not called immediately. The raison d’etre we’re regularly given in the past few months for the current government remaining in place is so they can “complete the important work which is needed to be done”. This work is obviously not that important if half of the most experienced members of the cabinet see it appropriate to resign. If Harney, Dempsey & Ahern believe that their work can be seamlessly completed by an inexperienced backbencher, surely it can also be completed by a new Government?
Finally, there is obviously a self-serving PR element to all of these retirements – in particular Mary Harney. A couple of days in the sun getting RTE News collage’s of her days in politics, endless regaling old stories from the past, plaudits from their cronies in politics on their great political career. “Tell us one more time Mary about Dessie and the events of ’85”. Zzzzzzzzzzz. What about 444 people as of yesterday on trolleys in Irish hospitals? Not a day to be mentioning that kind of stuff I suppose we’d be told.
I wonder has anyone else noticed the disjunction between the committed patriots who sat in the first Dail (92 years ago yesterday) – and whose picture adorns this site – and the antics in Leinster House this last week.
Striking that the electorate to select the next FF leader is so restricted, whereas all the other parties, in line with a pattern in a number of countries, have broadened the process, typically giving ordinary members either a share of the votes in an electoral college (FG) or making the membership the entire electorate (Labour, Greens). FF’s procedures do seem a little inappropriate in current circumstances, when quite a number of the TDs who will be selecting the new leader won’t be TDs for more than a few days more, as they will either be standing down at the election or will lose their seats at that election. This creates the risk that the FF Dáil group in the 31st Dáil might be faced with a leader whom it would not have chosen, leading to uncertainty and rumours of heaves right from the start. And if the Dáil were dissolved tomorrow (Tues 25th), it’s unclear what FF would do, as there would no longer be any TDs in situ on Wednesday to vote in the leadership contest.
Not to mention the constitutional complications that would arise were another minister wish to resign, which, if effected, would bring the size of the government below the constitutional minimum of 7. The implication seems to be that the remaining ministers can behave as they like from now on because they are literally unsackable. Were one to fall under the proverbial bus, bringing membership of the government to 6, we would certainly be in an interesting situation constitutionally.