Fianna Fail’s long march forward halted…for now? Late March/April polls

Adrian Kavanagh, 23rd March 2013 – updated 30th March, 13th April, 27th April

Recent opinion polls have all pointed towards significant gains in Fianna Fail support levels, albeit to varying degrees, leaving Fianna Fail at its highest support level in opinion polls since the IMF-EU bailout in November 2010 and with some of these positioning it as the most popular party in the state ahead of Fine Gael.  The polls in late March and April did point towards a plateauing of the Fianna Fail surge, however, marking some good news for the government parties, though perhaps not Labour. The latest poll, the Red C-Sunday Business Post poll (28th April) puts national support levels for the main political parties and groupings, and relative to the previous Red C-Sunday Business Post poll (24th February 2013), as follows: Fine Gael 28% (NC), Fianna Fail 25% (up 1%), Sinn Fein 16% (up 2%), Labour 11% (down 2%), Green Party, Independents and Others 20% (down 1%). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fine Gael 57, Fianna Fail 43, Sinn Fein 22, Labour 13, Green Party, Independents and Others 22.

The Sunday Independent-Millward Brown poll (14th April 2013) puts national support levels for the main political parties/groupings as follows: Fine Gael 24% (down 1%), Labour 12% (up 3%), Fianna Fail 27% (down 2%), Sinn Fein 16% (down 1%), Independents and Others 18% (up 1%), Green Party 2% (up 1%). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 55, Fine Gael 43, Independents and Others 23, Sinn Fein 22, Labour 15, Green Party 0.

The Sunday Times-Behaviour & Attitudes poll (31st March) puts national support levels for the main political parties and groupings, and relative to the previous Behaviour & Attitudes poll as follows: Fine Gael 27% (up 1%), Fianna Fail 23% (down 1%), Sinn Fein 15% (down 4%), Labour 7% (down 4%), Green Party, Independents and Others 27% (up 6%). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fine Gael 55, Fianna Fail 43, Sinn Fein 22, Labour 3, Green Party, Independents and Others 35. 

The Red C-Sunday Business Post poll (24th March) puts national support levels for the main political parties and groupings, and relative to the previous Red C-Sunday Business Post poll (24th February 2013), as follows: Fine Gael 28% (NC), Fianna Fail 24% (down 2%), Sinn Fein 14% (down 2%), Labour 13% (down 1%), Green Party, Independents and Others 21% (up 3%). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fine Gael 58, Fianna Fail 43, Sinn Fein 19, Labour 16, Green Party, Independents and Others 22.

The March 24th Sunday Business Post-Red C and April 14th Sunday Independent-Millward Brown polls, however, pointed towards a decline (albeit by only two percentage points in both polls) in Fianna Fail support – this was good news for the government parties, in that there is a slight (one/two percentage points) increase in their combined support levels but moreso in the fact that there is a relatively significant level of decline in the combined support levels for the two main opposition parties.  However the very low poll figure for Labour in the March 31st Sunday Times-Behaviour & Attitudes poll offers very bad news for the junior partner in the government, especially in the wake of the Meath East by-election result, although the Millward Brown poll of 14th April offered more promising news. In the 20th April Red C poll there is a notable increase in support for the two main opposition parties (with a combined increase of three percentage points), with Labour losing out as a result.  The increased level of support for the Independents and smaller parties grouping was perhaps the most striking aspect of the Behaviour & Attitudes and Red C polls.

The analyses used here are similar to previous posts which have applied a constituency level analysis (although with these using the constituency units used for the 2011 General Election) based on assigning seats on the basis of constituency support estimates and simply using a d’Hondt method to determine which party wins the seats, while also taking account of the factors of vote transfers and vote splitting/management (based on vote transfer/management patterns observed in the February 2011 election). Based on such an analysis and using the new constituency units (as defined in the 2012 Constituency Commission report) – the new constituencies which will be used for the next general election (assuming an election is not called in the following months before the Electoral Act putting the new constituency configuration into effect) – these analyses estimates what party seat levels would be, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election. These analysis suggests that Fianna Fail would seem to be the party most likely to be positively effected by the redrawing of the constituency boundaries and suggests that the party, in this context, would be gaining as a result of the boundary changes, in addition to the party’s improvement in its opinion poll levels relative to its 2011 General Election figures, irrespective of the impact of a reduction in Dail seat numbers from 166 to 158.

Due to unusually high/low support levels for some parties or political groupings in the previous election, the model may throw up occasional constituency predictions that are unlikely to pan out in a “real election”, but the estimates here cannot be seen as highly accurate estimates of support levels at the constituency level as in a “real election” party support changes will vary significantly across constituency given uneven geographical shifts in support levels. But the ultimate aim of the models are to get an overall, national-level, estimate of seat numbers and these are based on the proviso that an over-prediction in one constituency may be offset by an under-prediction in another constituency.

I have made some further corrections to the base support figures for the different parties for this analysis to take better account of the impacts on support of the 2012 Constituency Commission report boundary changes with especial reference to the Dublin constituencies. For instance, these figures better reflect the weaker positions of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in Dublin Central after the moving out of the Ashtown area to Dublin West and the Botanic/Drumcondra area to Dublin North West, but also their stronger positions in Dublin West and Dublin North West.

Fine Gael are assigned an extra seat in Dun Laoghaire on the basis that the Ceann Comhairle, Sean Barrett, will be automatically returned at the next general election and this constituency will effectively be rendered a three-seat contest at the next general election.

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The constituency support estimates based on the Sunday Business Post-Red C poll figures, when using the new constituency units (as used for the next general election), are as follows:

FF FG LB SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 39% 30% 9% 14% 8%
Cavan-Monaghan 24% 27% 3% 37% 9%
Clare 31% 32% 8% 5% 24%
Cork East 26% 31% 19% 19% 6%
Cork North Central 22% 21% 14% 23% 20%
Cork North West 36% 38% 8% 12% 6%
Cork South Central 40% 26% 10% 12% 12%
Cork South West 34% 38% 8% 12% 7%
Donegal 24% 16% 4% 38% 17%
Dublin Central 17% 12% 16% 24% 31%
Dublin Mid West 18% 26% 19% 20% 18%
Dublin Fingal 23% 26% 15% 5% 31%
Dublin Bay North 18% 27% 18% 15% 21%
Dublin North West 19% 15% 24% 31% 10%
Dublin Rathdown 14% 30% 10% 4% 42%
Dublin South Central 14% 17% 22% 24% 23%
Dublin Bay South 17% 31% 16% 7% 29%
Dublin South West 16% 25% 19% 21% 20%
Dublin West 26% 22% 17% 10% 25%
Dun Laoghaire 23% 30% 18% 4% 26%
Galway East 26% 34% 8% 8% 24%
Galway West 27% 26% 6% 9% 31%
Kerry County 17% 26% 9% 17% 31%
Kildare North 22% 28% 18% 9% 22%
Kildare South 32% 27% 16% 10% 14%
Laois 38% 27% 7% 21% 8%
Offaly 32% 20% 2% 9% 36%
Limerick City 33% 35% 12% 13% 7%
Limerick 29% 42% 9% 6% 15%
Longford-Westmeath 30% 31% 16% 12% 10%
Louth 21% 23% 10% 32% 13%
Mayo 25% 51% 3% 11% 10%
Meath East 29% 33% 12% 14% 12%
Meath West 25% 35% 7% 26% 6%
Roscommon-Galway 20% 32% 6% 9% 33%
Sligo-Leitrim 31% 26% 4% 26% 13%
Tipperary 21% 22% 9% 8% 41%
Waterford 21% 30% 11% 16% 23%
Wexford 27% 27% 12% 9% 25%
Wicklow 16% 31% 10% 16% 27%

Based on these constituency estimates and using a d’Hondt method to determine which party wins the seats in a constituency, the party seat levels are estimated as follows:

FF FG LB SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 2 2 0 1 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0
Clare 1 2 0 0 1
Cork East 1 1 1 1 0
Cork North Central 1 1 0 1 1
Cork North West 1 2 0 0 0
Cork South Central 2 2 0 0 0
Cork South West 1 2 0 0 0
Donegal 1 1 0 2 1
Dublin Central 1 0 0 1 1
Dublin Mid West 0 1 1 1 1
Dublin Fingal 1 1 1 0 2
Dublin Bay North 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0
Dublin Rathdown 0 1 0 0 2
Dublin South Central 0 1 1 1 1
Dublin Bay South 1 1 1 0 1
Dublin South West 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin West 1 1 1 0 1
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 0 0 1
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1
Galway West 2 1 0 0 2
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2
Kildare North 1 1 1 0 1
Kildare South 1 1 1 0 0
Laois 1 1 0 1 0
Offaly 1 1 0 0 1
Limerick City 2 2 0 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 1 2 0 1 0
Louth 1 1 0 2 1
Mayo 1 3 0 0 0
Meath East 1 2 0 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 0 0 1
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0
Tipperary 1 1 0 0 3
Waterford 1 1 0 1 1
Wexford 2 2 0 0 1
Wicklow 1 2 0 1 1
STATE 43 52 11 22 30

These estimates also need to take account of the candidate and competition trends unique to the different constituency. Amending the model to account for seats that may be won or lost on the basis of estimates here being based on support levels derived due to a large/small number of candidates contesting the election in 2011 or one candidate polling especially well in that election, vote transfers and vote management (e.g. discrepancies between votes won by party front runners and their running mates which would see potential seat wins fall out of a party’s hands), the seat allocations across the constituencies would look more like this:

FF FG LB SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 2 2 0 1 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0
Clare 1 2 0 0 1
Cork East 1 1 1 1 0
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1 0
Cork North West 1 2 0 0 0
Cork South Central 2 2 0 0 0
Cork South West 1 2 0 0 0
Donegal 1 1 0 2 1
Dublin Central 1 0 0 1 1
Dublin Mid West 1 1 1 1 0
Dublin Fingal 1 2 1 0 1
Dublin Bay North 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0
Dublin Rathdown 0 2 0 0 1
Dublin South Central 0 1 1 1 1
Dublin Bay South 1 2 1 0 0
Dublin South West 1 2 1 1 0
Dublin West 1 1 1 0 1
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 1 0 0
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1
Galway West 2 1 0 0 2
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2
Kildare North 1 1 1 0 1
Kildare South 1 1 1 0 0
Laois 1 1 0 1 0
Offaly 1 1 0 0 1
Limerick City 2 2 0 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 1 2 0 1 0
Louth 1 2 0 2 0
Mayo 1 3 0 0 0
Meath East 1 2 0 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 0 0 1
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0
Tipperary 1 1 0 0 3
Waterford 1 1 0 1 1
Wexford 2 2 0 0 1
Wicklow 1 2 0 1 1
STATE 44 57 13 22 22
% seats 27.8 36.1 8.2 13.9 13.9

Based on these seat estimates, neither a Fine Gael-Labour (combined seat level of 70 seats) nor a Fianna Fail-Sinn Fein (combined seat level of 66 seats) alliance would have a sufficient number of seats to command a bare majority (79 seats in a 158 seat Dail, assuming a TD from another political grouping would take on the role of Ceann Comhairle). Either coalition option would require the support of between 10 and 15 Independent/Smaller Party TDs to have a sufficient number of seats to have a majority in the Dail. Of course, a Fianna Fail-Fine Gael coalition government, based on these seat estimates would command a very strong Dail majority (with a combined seat level of 101 seats).

The seat estimates based on this constituency-level analysis still suggest a significant improvement in Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein seat levels relative to those won by these parties and groupings in the 2011 contest (especially given that the fact that there will be eight less seats in the next Dail has been factored into this analysis), effectively pointing to significant gains on the part of the Dail opposition since 2011. The same applies to the Independents and Others, but it is worth noting that, as opposed to the parties, the Independents and Others grouping is a very broad church and includes a range of parties, groups and individuals with very different ideological perspectives, including the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit alliance and the Green Party, as well as left-leaning independents and Fianna Fail-gene pool independents. Looking at the constituencies where this grouping is predicted to win seats in this model, it can be seen that left-leaning parties and independents would take 12 of the 22 seats being assigned to this grouping.

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The constituency support estimates based on the Sunday Independent-Millward Brown poll figures, when using the new constituency units (as used for the next general election), are as follows:

FF FG LB SF OTH GP
Carlow-Kilkenny 42% 25% 10% 14% 5% 3%
Cavan-Monaghan 27% 23% 3% 38% 8% 1%
Clare 34% 28% 9% 5% 22% 2%
Cork East 28% 26% 21% 19% 4% 1%
Cork North Central 24% 18% 16% 23% 18% 1%
Cork North West 40% 33% 9% 12% 4% 2%
Cork South Central 43% 22% 11% 12% 9% 3%
Cork South West 38% 34% 9% 12% 6% 2%
Donegal 26% 14% 4% 38% 17% 1%
Dublin Central 18% 10% 17% 24% 29% 2%
Dublin Mid West 20% 22% 20% 20% 14% 4%
Dublin Fingal 25% 23% 17% 5% 22% 9%
Dublin Bay North 20% 24% 19% 16% 20% 2%
Dublin North West 21% 13% 26% 31% 8% 1%
Dublin Rathdown 16% 26% 11% 5% 35% 8%
Dublin South Central 15% 15% 23% 23% 21% 2%
Dublin Bay South 19% 27% 18% 7% 22% 8%
Dublin South West 17% 21% 21% 21% 17% 3%
Dublin West 28% 19% 18% 10% 24% 2%
Dun Laoghaire 25% 26% 19% 4% 22% 5%
Galway East 28% 30% 9% 8% 24% 1%
Galway West 30% 22% 7% 9% 30% 2%
Kerry County 18% 23% 10% 18% 31% 1%
Kildare North 24% 24% 20% 9% 21% 2%
Kildare South 35% 23% 18% 10% 13% 2%
Laois 41% 23% 7% 21% 7% 0%
Offaly 34% 17% 3% 9% 37% 0%
Limerick City 36% 30% 14% 13% 6% 1%
Limerick 32% 37% 10% 6% 14% 1%
Longford-Westmeath 32% 27% 18% 13% 10% 1%
Louth 23% 20% 11% 32% 8% 5%
Mayo 28% 46% 3% 11% 10% 0%
Meath East 32% 28% 14% 14% 11% 1%
Meath West 28% 31% 8% 27% 5% 1%
Roscommon-Galway 22% 28% 6% 9% 34% 1%
Sligo-Leitrim 33% 23% 5% 26% 13% 1%
Tipperary 23% 19% 9% 8% 40% 1%
Waterford 22% 26% 12% 16% 22% 1%
Wexford 29% 23% 13% 9% 25% 1%
Wicklow 17% 28% 11% 16% 26% 2%

Based on these constituency estimates and using a d’Hondt method to determine which party wins the seats in a constituency, the party seat levels are estimated as follows:

FF FG LB SF OTH GP
Carlow-Kilkenny 3 1 0 1 0 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0 0
Clare 2 1 0 0 1 0
Cork East 1 1 1 1 0 0
Cork North Central 1 1 0 1 1 0
Cork North West 2 1 0 0 0 0
Cork South Central 3 1 0 0 0 0
Cork South West 2 1 0 0 0 0
Donegal 1 1 0 2 1 0
Dublin Central 1 0 0 1 1 0
Dublin Mid West 1 1 1 1 0 0
Dublin Fingal 1 1 1 0 2 0
Dublin Bay North 1 1 1 1 1 0
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0 0
Dublin Rathdown 0 1 0 0 2 0
Dublin South Central 1 0 1 1 1 0
Dublin Bay South 1 1 1 0 1 0
Dublin South West 1 1 1 1 1 0
Dublin West 1 1 1 0 1 0
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 0 0 1 0
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1 0
Galway West 2 1 0 0 2 0
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2 0
Kildare North 1 1 1 0 1 0
Kildare South 1 1 1 0 0 0
Laois 1 1 0 1 0 0
Offaly 2 0 0 0 1 0
Limerick City 2 2 0 0 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 2 1 1 0 0 0
Louth 1 1 0 2 1 0
Mayo 1 3 0 0 0 0
Meath East 2 1 0 0 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0 0
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 0 0 1 0
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0 0
Tipperary 1 1 0 0 3 0
Waterford 1 1 0 1 1 0
Wexford 2 1 1 0 1 0
Wicklow 1 2 0 1 1 0
STATE 53 42 13 21 29 0

These estimates also need to take account of the candidate and competition trends unique to the different constituency. Amending the model to account for seats that may be won or lost on the basis of estimates here being based on support levels derived due to a large/small number of candidates contesting the election in 2011 or one candidate polling especially well in that election, vote transfers and vote management (e.g. discrepancies between votes won by party front runners and their running mates which would see potential seat wins fall out of a party’s hands), the seat allocations across the constituencies would look more like this:

FF FG LB SF OTH GP
Carlow-Kilkenny 3 1 0 1 0 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0 0
Clare 2 1 0 0 1 0
Cork East 1 1 1 1 0 0
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1 0 0
Cork North West 2 1 0 0 0 0
Cork South Central 2 1 0 1 0 0
Cork South West 2 1 0 0 0 0
Donegal 1 1 0 2 1 0
Dublin Central 1 0 0 1 1 0
Dublin Mid West 1 1 1 1 0 0
Dublin Fingal 2 1 1 0 1 0
Dublin Bay North 1 1 1 1 1 0
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0 0
Dublin Rathdown 1 1 0 0 1 0
Dublin South Central 1 0 1 1 1 0
Dublin Bay South 1 1 1 0 1 0
Dublin South West 1 1 1 1 1 0
Dublin West 1 1 1 0 1 0
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 1 0 0 0
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1 0
Galway West 2 1 0 0 2 0
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2 0
Kildare North 1 1 1 0 1 0
Kildare South 1 1 1 0 0 0
Laois 1 1 0 1 0 0
Offaly 1 1 0 0 1 0
Limerick City 2 2 0 0 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 2 1 1 0 0 0
Louth 2 1 0 2 0 0
Mayo 1 3 0 0 0 0
Meath East 2 1 0 0 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0 0
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 0 0 1 0
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0 0
Tipperary 2 1 0 0 2 0
Waterford 1 1 0 1 1 0
Wexford 2 1 1 0 1 0
Wicklow 1 2 0 1 1 0
STATE 55 43 15 22 23 0
% seats 34.8 27.2 9.5 13.9 14.6 0.0

Based on these seat estimates, neither a Fine Gael-Labour (combined seat level of 58 seats) nor a Fianna Fail-Sinn Fein (combined seat level of 77 seats) alliance would have a sufficient number of seats to command a bare majority (79 seats in a 158 seat Dail, assuming a TD from another political grouping would take on the role of Ceann Comhairle) although a Fianna Fail-Sinn Fein government would be a possible with support from a small number of (Fianna Fail gene pool?) independent Dail deputies. Of course, a Fianna Fail-Fine Gael coalition government, based on these seat estimates would command a very strong Dail majority (with a combined seat level of 98 seats).

Despite their declining support levels relative to the previous Sunday Independent-Millward Brown poll figures, the seat estimates based on this constituency-level analysis still suggest a significant improvement in Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein seat levels relative to those won by these parties and groupings in the 2011 contest (especially given that the fact that there will be eight less seats in the next Dail has been factored into this analysis), effectively pointing to significant gains on the part of the Dail opposition since 2011. The same applies to the Independents and Others, but it is worth noting that, as opposed to the parties, the Independents and Others grouping is a very broad church and includes a range of parties, groups and individuals with very different ideological perspectives, including the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit alliance and the Green Party, as well as left-leaning independents and Fianna Fail-gene pool independents. Looking at the constituencies where this grouping is predicted to win seats in this model, it can be seen that left-leaning parties and independents would take 12 of the 23 seats being assigned to this grouping.

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The constituency support estimates based on the Sunday Times-Behaviour & Attitudes poll figures, when using the new constituency units (as used for the next general election), are as follows:

FF FG LB SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 38% 30% 6% 14% 11%
Cavan-Monaghan 23% 27% 2% 36% 12%
Clare 28% 30% 5% 5% 32%
Cork East 27% 33% 13% 19% 9%
Cork North Central 21% 21% 9% 22% 27%
Cork North West 35% 39% 6% 12% 8%
Cork South Central 38% 26% 7% 12% 17%
Cork South West 33% 39% 6% 11% 11%
Donegal 22% 16% 2% 36% 24%
Dublin Central 15% 11% 10% 22% 41%
Dublin Mid West 17% 26% 12% 19% 26%
Dublin Fingal 21% 25% 10% 4% 41%
Dublin Bay North 17% 27% 11% 15% 30%
Dublin North West 20% 16% 17% 33% 15%
Dublin Rathdown 12% 26% 6% 4% 52%
Dublin South Central 13% 17% 14% 23% 32%
Dublin Bay South 16% 29% 10% 6% 39%
Dublin South West 15% 25% 13% 20% 27%
Dublin West 24% 22% 11% 10% 34%
Dun Laoghaire 21% 29% 11% 3% 36%
Galway East 23% 33% 5% 7% 31%
Galway West 24% 24% 4% 8% 40%
Kerry County 15% 24% 6% 16% 40%
Kildare North 21% 28% 12% 9% 31%
Kildare South 31% 28% 11% 10% 20%
Laois 37% 28% 5% 20% 11%
Offaly 27% 18% 1% 8% 46%
Limerick City 33% 36% 8% 13% 10%
Limerick 27% 41% 6% 6% 20%
Longford-Westmeath 29% 32% 11% 13% 15%
Louth 20% 23% 7% 31% 19%
Mayo 23% 51% 2% 10% 14%
Meath East 28% 33% 8% 14% 17%
Meath West 25% 36% 5% 26% 8%
Roscommon-Galway 17% 29% 3% 8% 42%
Sligo-Leitrim 29% 26% 3% 25% 18%
Tipperary 18% 19% 5% 7% 51%
Waterford 19% 29% 7% 15% 30%
Wexford 25% 26% 7% 8% 33%
Wicklow 14% 30% 6% 15% 36%
STATE 23% 27% 7% 15% 27%

Based on these constituency estimates and using a d’Hondt method to determine which party wins the seats in a constituency, the party seat levels are estimated as follows:

FF FG LB SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 2 2 0 1 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0
Clare 1 1 0 0 2
Cork East 1 2 0 1 0
Cork North Central 1 1 0 1 1
Cork North West 1 2 0 0 0
Cork South Central 2 1 0 0 1
Cork South West 1 2 0 0 0
Donegal 1 1 0 2 1
Dublin Central 0 0 0 1 2
Dublin Mid West 1 1 0 1 1
Dublin Fingal 1 1 0 0 3
Dublin Bay North 1 2 0 1 1
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0
Dublin Rathdown 0 1 0 0 2
Dublin South Central 0 1 0 1 2
Dublin Bay South 1 1 0 0 2
Dublin South West 1 1 0 1 2
Dublin West 1 1 0 0 2
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 0 0 1
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1
Galway West 1 1 0 0 3
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2
Kildare North 1 1 0 0 2
Kildare South 1 1 0 0 1
Laois 1 1 0 1 0
Offaly 1 0 0 0 2
Limerick City 2 2 0 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 1 2 0 1 0
Louth 1 1 0 2 1
Mayo 1 3 0 0 0
Meath East 1 2 0 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0
Roscommon-Galway 0 1 0 0 2
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0
Tipperary 1 1 0 0 3
Waterford 1 1 0 0 2
Wexford 1 2 0 0 2
Wicklow 1 1 0 1 2
STATE 40 50 1 21 46

These estimates also need to take account of the candidate and competition trends unique to the different constituency. Amending the model to account for seats that may be won or lost on the basis of estimates here being based on support levels derived due to a large/small number of candidates contesting the election in 2011 or one candidate polling especially well in that election, vote transfers and vote management (e.g. discrepancies between votes won by party front runners and their running mates which would see potential seat wins fall out of a party’s hands), the seat allocations across the constituencies would look more like this:

FF FG LB SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 2 2 0 1 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0
Clare 1 2 0 0 1
Cork East 1 2 0 1 0
Cork North Central 1 1 0 1 1
Cork North West 1 2 0 0 0
Cork South Central 2 2 0 0 0
Cork South West 1 2 0 0 0
Donegal 1 1 0 2 1
Dublin Central 1 0 0 1 1
Dublin Mid West 1 1 0 1 1
Dublin Fingal 1 2 0 0 2
Dublin Bay North 1 2 0 1 1
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0
Dublin Rathdown 0 1 0 0 2
Dublin South Central 0 1 1 1 1
Dublin Bay South 1 2 0 0 1
Dublin South West 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin West 1 1 0 0 2
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 0 0 1
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1
Galway West 2 1 0 0 2
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2
Kildare North 1 1 0 0 2
Kildare South 1 1 0 0 1
Laois 1 1 0 1 0
Offaly 1 0 0 0 2
Limerick City 2 2 0 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 1 2 0 1 0
Louth 1 1 0 2 1
Mayo 1 3 0 0 0
Meath East 1 2 0 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 0 0 1
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0
Tipperary 1 1 0 0 3
Waterford 1 1 0 1 1
Wexford 1 2 0 0 2
Wicklow 1 2 0 1 1
STATE 43 55 3 22 35
% seats 27.2 34.8 1.9 13.9 22.2

Despite their declining support levels relative to the previous Sunday Times-Behaviour & Attitudes poll figures, the seat estimates based on this constituency-level analysis still suggest a significant improvement in Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein seat levels relative to those won by these parties and groupings in the 2011 contest (especially given that the fact that there will be eight less seats in the next Dail has been factored into this analysis), effectively pointing to significant gains on the part of the Dail opposition since 2011. The same applies to the Independents and Others, but it is worth noting that, as opposed to the parties, the Independents and Others grouping is a very broad church and includes a range of parties, groups and individuals with very different ideological perspectives, including the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit alliance and the Green Party, as well as left-leaning independents and Fianna Fail-gene pool independents. Looking at the constituencies where this grouping is predicted to win seats in this model, it can be seen that left-leaning parties and independents would take 19 of the 35 seats being assigned to this grouping.

The seat estimate for Labour is quite stark (highlighting the fact that the PR-STV system is proportional, but only to a limited extent): on these estimates, the Labour parliamentary party after the next election (if these poll figures were replicated in such an election) would probably consist of Roisin Shortall, Eric Byrne and Pat Rabbitte. This estimate suggests that, especially given the increased competition on the Left from Sinn Fein, other smaller left of centre parties and left-leaning independents, that it will be a struggle for Labour to win seats in most, if not all, constituencies if the party’s national support levels fall below ten percent. Labour would be in serious trouble if their national support levels fall below ten percent as the party is also facing a “perfect storm” from electoral geography and changed competition levels. These include the reduction in Dail seat numbers (from 166 to 158) and other changes made to general election boundaries by the 2012 Constituency Commission (which militated against Labour while seeming to advantage other parties, but notably Fianna Fail) as well as the increased competition the party now faces on the Left from Sinn Fein, other smaller left-wing parties and left-of-centre independents, as well as from Fianna Fail. When Labour support levels fell to similarly low levels in the mid-1980s, they were in a position to be helped in the 1987 General Election by transfers from lower placed candidates from the smaller left-wing parties, but on these figures Labour candidates would find themselves polling below candidates from Sinn Fein, the Socialist Party, the Workers and Unemployed Action Group or the People Before Profit Alliance, or left-leaning independents, in a number of constituencies. Instead of being in a position to possibly benefit from vote transfers (which themselves would be likely to dry up in any case), the Labour candidates would now in a number of cases be eliminated before the final count and would be providing the transfers to see candidates from other left-of-centre political groupings over the line. (Labour won 6.5% of the vote in the 1987 General Election and won 12 seats, but it is also worth noting that they did not contest nine constituencies in that election, whereas their 7% national vote is being distributed across all forty constituencies in this analysis, as with the most recent general elections in which Labour has contested all constituencies. In two of the twelve constituencies in 1987 where Labour won seats – Dublin South-Central, Dublin South-West, Galway West and Wexford – vote transfers were crucial in ensuring Labour won these these seats – i.e. Labour candidates were outside the seat positions on the first count but overtook candidates with higher first preference votes as counts progressed due to transfers from other candidates.

Constituency FPV Total Poll Quota % FPV Lab/quota
Carlow-Kilkenny          7,358          57,485          9,581 12.80 0.77
Cork South-Central          4,862          56,259          9,377 8.64 0.52
Dublin South-Central          4,701          51,692          8,616 9.09 0.55
Dublin South-East          3,480          38,270          7,655 9.09 0.45
Dublin South-West          5,065          41,454          8,291 12.22 0.61
Dun Laoghaire          6,484          55,702          9,284 11.64 0.70
Galway West          3,878          52,762          8,794 7.35 0.44
Kerry North          6,739          34,764          8,692 19.38 0.78
Kildare          7,567          53,705          8,951 14.09 0.85
Louth          6,205          46,809          9,362 13.26 0.66
Wexford          5,086          52,922          8,821 9.61 0.58
Wicklow          7,754          46,003          9,201 16.86 0.84

Voting statistics for constituencies in which Labour won seats at the 1987 General Election.

The table above shows that there was no constituency in 1987 in which a Labour candidate exceeded the quota and indeed successful Labour candidates, Ruairi Quinn and Michael D. Higgins won seats in their constituencies despite winning less than half of the quota in their first preference votes. In addition, Dick Spring came within a handful of votes of losing his seat in Kerry North.)

Should the seat estimates based on The Sunday Times-Behaviour & Attitudes poll figures pan out after the next general election however, the government parties would continue to hold a comfortable majority (even allowing for a significant reduction in Labour seat numbers) in Dail Eireann with seat numbers for a Fine Gael-Labour coalition estimated at 58 seats in the new 158-Dail seat, leaving a potential coalition involving these parties well short of the number required to attain a majority in the next Dail. Seat numbers for an alternative Sinn Fein-Fianna Fail coalition alliance are estimated at 65 seats for the new 158-Dail seat model. Of course, a Fine Gael-Fianna Fail alliance would also be a viable option in terms of forming a government should the election results pan out as suggested by the Red C poll figures at the next general election contest, with the two parties’ combined seat levels being estimated at 98 seats based on this analysis.

***************************************

The constituency support estimates based on the Sunday Business Post-Red C poll figures, when using the new constituency units (as used for the next general election), are as follows:

FF FG LB SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 38% 30% 11% 13% 8%
Cavan-Monaghan 25% 28% 3% 34% 10%
Clare 29% 32% 10% 5% 25%
Cork East 25% 31% 22% 16% 6%
Cork North Central 21% 21% 17% 20% 21%
Cork North West 35% 38% 10% 10% 6%
Cork South Central 38% 26% 12% 11% 13%
Cork South West 33% 39% 10% 10% 8%
Donegal 24% 17% 5% 35% 19%
Dublin Central 16% 12% 19% 21% 33%
Dublin Mid West 17% 25% 22% 17% 19%
Dublin Fingal 22% 25% 18% 4% 32%
Dublin Bay North 17% 27% 21% 13% 22%
Dublin North West 19% 15% 29% 27% 10%
Dublin Rathdown 13% 29% 11% 4% 43%
Dublin South Central 13% 17% 25% 20% 24%
Dublin Bay South 16% 30% 19% 6% 30%
Dublin South West 15% 24% 22% 18% 20%
Dublin West 24% 22% 19% 9% 26%
Dun Laoghaire 21% 29% 20% 3% 27%
Galway East 25% 34% 10% 7% 25%
Galway West 26% 26% 8% 8% 33%
Kerry County 16% 26% 11% 15% 32%
Kildare North 21% 27% 21% 8% 23%
Kildare South 31% 27% 19% 9% 15%
Laois 37% 28% 8% 18% 8%
Offaly 31% 20% 3% 8% 38%
Limerick City 32% 35% 15% 11% 8%
Limerick 27% 41% 11% 5% 15%
Longford-Westmeath 28% 31% 19% 11% 11%
Louth 21% 24% 12% 29% 14%
Mayo 24% 52% 4% 10% 11%
Meath East 28% 33% 15% 12% 12%
Meath West 25% 36% 9% 24% 6%
Roscommon-Galway 19% 31% 7% 8% 35%
Sligo-Leitrim 30% 27% 5% 23% 14%
Tipperary 20% 21% 10% 7% 42%
Waterford 20% 30% 13% 14% 24%
Wexford 26% 27% 14% 8% 26%
Wicklow 15% 31% 12% 14% 28%
STATE 24% 28% 13% 14% 21%

Based on these constituency estimates and using a d’Hondt method to determine which party wins the seats in a constituency, the party seat levels are estimated as follows:

FF FG LB SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 2 2 0 1 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0
Clare 1 2 0 0 1
Cork East 1 1 1 1 0
Cork North Central 1 1 0 1 1
Cork North West 1 2 0 0 0
Cork South Central 2 2 0 0 0
Cork South West 1 2 0 0 0
Donegal 1 1 0 2 1
Dublin Central 0 0 1 1 1
Dublin Mid West 1 1 0 1 1
Dublin Fingal 1 1 1 0 2
Dublin Bay North 1 2 1 0 1
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0
Dublin Rathdown 0 1 0 0 2
Dublin South Central 0 1 1 1 1
Dublin Bay South 1 1 1 0 1
Dublin South West 1 1 1 1 1
Dublin West 1 1 1 0 1
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 0 0 1
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1
Galway West 2 1 0 0 2
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2
Kildare North 1 1 1 0 1
Kildare South 1 1 1 0 0
Laois 2 1 0 0 0
Offaly 1 1 0 0 1
Limerick City 2 2 0 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 1 2 0 1 0
Louth 1 1 0 2 1
Mayo 1 3 0 0 0
Meath East 1 2 0 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 0 0 1
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0
Tipperary 1 1 0 0 3
Waterford 1 2 0 0 1
Wexford 1 2 1 0 1
Wicklow 1 2 0 0 2
STATE 43 54 12 18 31

These estimates also need to take account of the candidate and competition trends unique to the different constituency. Amending the model to account for seats that may be won or lost on the basis of a large/small number of candidates contesting the election (e.g. Others being allocated two seats in Dublin Rathdown and one seat in Dublin South-West, but largely on the basis of a larger personal vote for one candidate, Shane Ross, in Dublin South in 2011), vote transfers and vote management (e.g. discrepancies between votes won by party front runners and their running mates which would see potential seat wins fall out of a party’s hands), the seat allocations across the constituencies would look more like this:

FF FG LB SF OTH
Carlow-Kilkenny 2 2 0 1 0
Cavan-Monaghan 1 1 0 2 0
Clare 1 2 0 0 1
Cork East 1 1 1 1 0
Cork North Central 1 1 1 1 0
Cork North West 1 2 0 0 0
Cork South Central 2 2 0 0 0
Cork South West 1 2 0 0 0
Donegal 1 1 0 2 1
Dublin Central 0 0 1 1 1
Dublin Mid West 1 1 1 1 0
Dublin Fingal 1 2 1 0 1
Dublin Bay North 1 2 1 0 1
Dublin North West 1 0 1 1 0
Dublin Rathdown 0 2 0 0 1
Dublin South Central 0 1 1 1 1
Dublin Bay South 1 2 1 0 0
Dublin South West 1 2 1 1 0
Dublin West 1 1 1 0 1
Dun Laoghaire 1 2 1 0 0
Galway East 1 1 0 0 1
Galway West 2 1 0 0 2
Kerry County 1 1 0 1 2
Kildare North 1 1 1 0 1
Kildare South 1 1 1 0 0
Laois 2 1 0 0 0
Offaly 1 1 0 0 1
Limerick City 2 2 0 0 0
Limerick 1 2 0 0 0
Longford-Westmeath 1 2 0 1 0
Louth 1 1 1 2 0
Mayo 1 3 0 0 0
Meath East 1 2 0 0 0
Meath West 1 1 0 1 0
Roscommon-Galway 1 1 0 0 1
Sligo-Leitrim 2 1 0 1 0
Tipperary 1 1 0 0 3
Waterford 1 2 0 0 1
Wexford 1 2 1 0 1
Wicklow 1 2 0 1 1
STATE 43 58 16 19 22
% seats 27.2 36.7 10.1 12.0 13.9

Despite their declining support levels relative to the February 24th Sunday Business Post-Red C poll figures, the seat estimates based on this constituency-level analysis still suggest a significant improvement in Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein seat levels relative to those won by these parties and groupings in the 2011 contest (especially given that the fact that there will be eight less seats in the next Dail has been factored into this analysis), effectively pointing to significant gains on the part of the Dail opposition since 2011. The same applies to the Independents and Others, but it is worth noting that, as opposed to the parties, the Independents and Others grouping is a very broad church and includes a range of parties, groups and individuals with very different ideological perspectives, including the Socialist Party, the People Before Profit alliance and the Green Party, as well as left-leaning independents and Fianna Fail-gene pool independents. Looking at the constituencies where this grouping is predicted to win seats in this model, it can be seen that left-leaning parties and independents would take 12 of the 22 seats being assigned to this grouping. Despite that, the relative stabilisation in support levels for the government parties around the low 40s level points towards the potential return of the government parties to power, albeit with a very much reduced, and indeed very narrow, majority, should these support levels be improved on further by a few percentage points at an actual general election.

Should the seat estimates based on The Sunday Business Post-Red C poll figures pan out after the next general election however, the government parties would continue to hold a comfortable majority (even allowing for a significant reduction in Labour seat numbers) in Dail Eireann with seat numbers for a Fine Gael-Labour coalition estimated at 74 seats in the new 158-Dail seat, leaving a potential coalition involving these parties five seats short of the number required to attain a majority in the next Dail. Seat numbers for an alternative Sinn Fein-Fianna Fail coalition alliance are estimated at 62 seats for the new 158-Dail seat model. Of course, a Fine Gael-Fianna Fail alliance would also be a viable option in terms of forming a government should the election results pan out as suggested by the Red C poll figures at the next general election contest, with the two parties’ combined seat levels being estimated at 101 seats based on this analysis.

*******************************

The changing seat numbers for the parties in the different analyses points to one reason why the Irish electoral system is not entirely one hundred percent proportional – thus underpinning the rationale behind this series of constituency level analyses of polling figures – as the manner in which constituency boundaries are drawn, or redrawn, can act to gives certain parties a significant advantage in terms of translating their vote tallies into seat wins. This knowledge, of course, formed the basis for the gerrymanders that marked the partisan boundary redrawal system which existed up to the 1977 General Election, with the party/parties in government being in a position to be able to redraw election boundaries in a manner that would allow them to pick up extra seats. In simplistic terms, in the 1960s and 1970s this amounted to the main government options seeking to create constituency units with odd-numbers of seats in the regions of the state where their support levels were highest (where a 50% share of the vote would be sufficient to allow them win 2 seats in a 3-seat constituency or 3 seats in a 5-seat constituency) and constituency units with even numbers of seats (i.e. 4-seat constituencies) where their support levels were weaker as a 40% share of the vote would be sufficient to allow them win 2 seats out of 4. Since the introduction of independent boundary commissions following the 1977 General Election, partisan influences no longer can skew the boundary drawing process in favour of a government party, or government parties, but as the example here shows a significant redrawal such as that envisaged in the 2012 Constituency Commission report will probably tend to disproportionately advantage, or disadvantage, certain parties or political groupings. Similarly, as the range of constituency level analyses prior to the 2011 General Election displayed, a party’s ability to take advantage of such disproportionality in the system, whether arising from constituency boundaries or a tendency for the Irish system to favour the larger parties, is dependent on that party maintaining its support at, or above, a certain level, as a fall in support for that party, even if relatively minimal, can lead to disproportionate level of potential seat losses if party support levels fall below a certain “tipping point”.

This concept of a “tipping point” is especially notable in the case of Fianna Fail. When the party’s support level fell below 20% in the latter part of 2010, this meant that the party – especially given its traditional catch all nature of support – was now in a position where it was struggling to win seats in a number of three-seat and four-seat constituencies, as well as five-seat constituencies in the Dublin region, where Fianna Fail support was notably weaker in 2011. The boundary changes associated with the 2012 Constituency Commission report acted to ensure the party would actually gain seats, irrespective of gains in support levels, as suggested by previous posts. With party support now over 20%, and with a very fractured political environment in which significant vote levels are being won by a number of different parties and political groupings, as opposed to the more straight-forward political landscape of the early 1980s, Fianna Fail is now in a position where it can expect to win seats in most of the larger (four and five seat) constituencies and will be competitive in most three-seat constituencies, especially in rural Ireland. This is translating into a disproportionate gain, relative to support trends, in seat levels for Fianna Fail. The level of seat gains suggested for Fianna Fail in this analysis also underpins the extent of “near misses” that the party endured in a number of constituencies at the last general election, meaning only a slight increase in support in a  number of constituencies would translate such “near misses” into seat gains, especially with the assistance of the recent boundary changes in a number of cases. Unlike Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein prospects of transforming vote gains into seat gains is stymied by the party’s weakness in certain constituencies, in which the party is likely to remain uncompetitive even if it should gain a few extra percentage points in terms of support levels. The more regional nature of the Sinn Fein support base is ideal for translating smaller levels of support into seat levels in its stronger areas, but it means the party may struggle to make the significant levels of seat gains on the basis of further increases in support that Fianna Fail could hope to make. Ultimately the political landscape of the next Dail will be determined by what levels of support these parties are standing on when the next election takes place (which could be as late as Spring 2016) but it will also be shaped by the different parties’ geographies of support, and the extent to which these support geographies might entitle these to a “bias” in terms of seat levels relative to support levels, or see the parties winning fewer seats that their support levels would suggest.

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4 thoughts on “Fianna Fail’s long march forward halted…for now? Late March/April polls

  1. The outcomes of the SBPost Red C poll and the Millward Brown Polls cannot be legitimately compared. In Millward Brown the undecided voters (32%) were distributed in the same proportion as decided voters.
    According to Red C “a further past vote weighting is included that takes the current recall for how people voted AT THE LAST ELECTION, compares this to the actual results and weights the data to halfway between the two. Vote intention results are based on those who will actually go and vote–”
    According to Richard Cowell , managing director of Red C in SBPOST to-day: “Cutting the data by by those who will actually vote, and prompting the parties that can be chosen also ensures we keep undecided voters to a minimum at just 18 per cent. We also re-allocate 50 per cent of undecided voters BASED ON THEIR PAST VOTE, rather than simply removing them—”
    Without having full mathematical detail on the application of these principles, it is ,nevertheless, fair to ask whether these procedures would not bias the outcome in favour of parties which did well in the last general election. Are these procedures valid in a rapidly changing political situation?
    How many actual undecided voters were found in the Poll?
    What were the core votes?
    What would the result have been if undecided voters were simply excluded as in Millward Brown?
    While Meath East is not a typical national sample, the outcome of the bye-election should yield important information

  2. 3 years from an election who know? As there is no difference between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil of course Labour is being blamed – FG is being the nasty party that people expected it to be but Labour don’t seem to have realised they are playing the role of the Pds (who were wiped out when they failed in that role) and then by the Greens (who were also wiped out when they too failed in their role).

    There was no democratic revolution in 2011 but there may have been the first tiny small step in a realignment of Irish politics away from the Civil War into a more relevant left/right prism and that leads to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil forming the next government – FG can easily do that if its the larger party and FF will easily swallow its pride and be the junior partner if it gets back into power.

    There’s no need for a new political party but there is a need to have a genuine left and right and when we get the day when both FG & FF are in opposition then we’ll have our revolution but the basis point seems to be that Irish people are fundamentally conservative and corrupt as they seem quite happy to have just replaced FF with FG and left the same entire political framework in place that produces the same flawed and ethically lacking politicians.

  3. In my view opinion polls three years out from a general election are of little consequence. Now of course it can be argued that -with local elections due in 2014- they provide an indicator as to the likely outcome. The “dont knows” are at such high levels as to place question marks over conclusions drawn.
    @Desmond Fitzgerald. A left right realignment is not necessarily the solution to Ireland’s problems. This could produce wild swings in government policy assuming that the left could gain power on its own (unlikely in my view)

    • But at the moment we have a ‘public sector’ political system where all parties focus on pandering to the public sector despite the fact the majority of people with a job do not work in the public sector but they probably depend on it for business so keeping the public sector sweet is the only way to get and retain power.

      FG, FF and L all pander to the needs of the public sector and then they vary a little bit in how they link into the businesses that feed off it, such as FG feeds off the well off farmers and well paid professionals who feed off public sector business to them, while FF feeds off other farmers and professionals and L feeds off trade union members or admin staff or floor staff.

      So you have the public sector, then you have the Department Secretary who interacts with the legal profession to get the Dep work done, that legal person will support FG, but the middle managers within the department will interact with mid level accountants or HR consultants or marketing consultants etc and they’ll vote FF, while further down someone orders desks and chairs or the printers or the paper towels or cafe and those people and the businesses they deal with vote labour but the pinnacle is that the public sector is the starting point for the trickle of business that filters down to the fancy lawyer, then onto the accountant and then to the warehouse guys who make the desks or work in the cafe etc.

      This triangle distorts any ability of the economy to function properly. Now that the public service element has been cracked there is panic to protect some elements at the expense of others and at the moment FG is winning that battle hands down because L is letting it.

      Bottom line seems to be that for all the whining and moaning of some people things evidently are not bad at all in Ireland, so what if a few middle class people are worrying about the value of their home, they are still middle class and as ever in Ireland they’ll get by but we are sliding back to the times when there was clear poverty but because that’s going to affect people in the traditonally less well off areas the people in leafy areas never had to see that poverty before and they won’t now – if you live in Foxrock you will never ever get to see places like Clondalkin and you pick any well off area and a poorer area in any part of the country.

      I remember as a child my sister and I were fighting and moaning over something and my Dad was so annoyed at how ungrateful we were he put both of us into the car and he drove us to Sherriff Street and then to Fatima Mansions and we could not believe our eyes as we had ever never seen such places and he proceeded to poiint out how selfish and ungrateful we were and how there were places in Ireland where people couldn’t afford to feed themselves or heat their home etc. It was a harsh lesson but it worked far better than ever talking would – how many of the celtic cubs have ever been brought to the modern Sherriff Streets which never went away you know.

      So I do think Ireland needs a proper left/right divide – it may not be that the Labour Party is left wing or that SF will be and it may be that the Irish people haven’t actually changed as much as we like to think we have from the dark old ages were being poor marked you for life.

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