New day for Ireland?

I am about to go to bed for tonight, and as I do so the current seat count in the Irish general election is Fine Gael 46, Labour 26, Sinn Féin 11, Fianna Fáil 12, Independents and small parties 12. There are still 61 seats to be filled, and right now the predictions made across the media are all consistent and suggest Fine Gael will be by far the largest party, but short of an overall majority, and that a coalition with Labour (which also did well, though not as well as might have been predicted a few months ago) is the most likely outcome. Fianna Fáil will probably return fewer than 20 TDs, representing a catastrophic meltdown of its vote. The Greens have gone; a few years ago someone suggested that their votes would, in the end, be biodegradable, and so it now appears.

The Irish electorate was clearly determined to punish the parties forming the outgoing government, and to do so comprehensively. It is part of the current political narrative, and the future will reveal to what extent this is history or mythology – that an incompetent and corrupt administration, too close to bankers and developers, walked the country into an economic disaster and then sought and agreed an unfair remedy for it in the form of the EU/IMF bail-out. In this narrative other parties were innocent and the people were victims. It is possible that this narrative is not totally correct, but right now there is no mood in the country to question it and sentence is being pronounced accordingly.

I suspect that nothing much is about to change, and the new government will largely continue where the discredited one left off. I also fear that the new Taoiseach will be no better at communicating with the people than the outgoing one. But perhaps the election offers the chance for psychological renewal and for a new determination to go forward and achieve recovery. The country does deserve that.

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7 Comments on “New day for Ireland?”

  1. Eugene Gath Says:

    Ferdinand -as we all try to come to terms with what happened in Ireland 2008-11 your quote captures its well “that an incompetent and corrupt administration, too close to bankers and developers, walked the country into an economic disaster and then sought and agreed an unfair remedy”. Enjoy Scotland.

  2. Trich Says:

    I too suspect that nothing much is about to change within Ireland’s “New Government”, FG also voted for the EU/IMF bail out.

    I had hoped for a more radical political change. However, it seems, that is not what the general population required.

    Up to this General election, I would have been an FG/Labour supporter. In this election, I voted for Independents only. My need was for honest change within our political system.

    In my humble opinion, Ends does not have the depth of character needed to bring honesty and integrity to Irish politics and to stand up to the corruption therein. Nor does he have the testosterone to re-negotiate the EU/IMF interest rates or to clean up the Irish banking scandal!

    It looks like we are heading up the Swanny without a paddle!

    I hope Scotland brings you joy.

  3. Vincent Says:

    It’s impossible to escape the soundtrack of Titanic.
    And that feeling we’ve changed the captain only, who also believes that the substance to fill the gash down the side is water.

    There was something very very odd last night where Joe Higgins and Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev were in agreement with each other.

  4. SteveS Says:

    The Greens – biodegradable? Yes – indeed! Of course, biodegradation is often often accelerated by pre-digestion.

  5. Hugh Carthy Says:

    Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore – Brian Cowen’s last gift to the Irish people!

  6. cormac Says:

    Sometimes the simple narrative can be close to the truth; I think we academics are quick to assume the common myth cannot be true..


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