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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 15, 2009 @ 11:54 am

    Seanad writs moved

    Harry McGee

    The writs have been moved to fill the two vacancies in the Seanad.

    There will be an election for both but it will be an election confined to the Oireachtas. So the seats wi go to Fianna Fail which is fair enough as both were Fianna Fail seats.

    Essentially they will be Fianna Fail nominations. Eoin Ryan must be a contender. So too must one or two of the rising stars: Averill Power comes to mind, though others will point to the fact that she failed to win a council seat in June

    Blogger Dan Sullivan, an authority on these matters, emailed me recently to point out that even if FF winthe next election, they have done so badly in the locals that they can’t muster a majority in the Upper House, even with the Taoiseach’s 11 nominations. Interesting times!

    * Addendum. There are three vacancies in the Seanad, two created by the death of Tony Kett and the election of Alan Kelly to Europe. The third only happened last weekend, when Senator Peter Callanan from Clonakilty died suddenly.

    Having been around Leinster House today, several names have come out. You can’t rule out the Greens getting Kelly’s seat but I’d say that FF will go for it. Other FF names who may get the nod are: Shay Brennan (an obvious choice after undertaking a thankless task in Dublin South); another son, Michael Smith, son of the epynomous Michael in Tipp North; a daughter, Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick, daughter of former Dublin Central TD, Dr Dermot Fitzpatrick.

    The Green who would be the most likely is its only newly-elected councillor, Mark Dearey in Co Louth.

    • John says:

      Isn’t one of those seats a Labour seat? Alan Kelly’s?

    • Cathal says:

      Are there not three Senate vacancies? Alan kelly’s, Tony Kett (FF) and the recently deceased Peter Callanan (FF).

      There are a lot stronger candidates than Averil Power!

    • Cathal says:

      Are there not 3 senate vacancies- those of Alan Kelly, tony Kett and the recently deceased Peter Callanan

    • Harry says:

      Thanks Cathal. I have listed a number of others. Re, John’s comment: The electorate is comprised of TDs and Senators, so unlike co-options on local authorities, the Government parties tend to snaffle any vacancy that arises, irrespective of the source.
      Yes, there is a third vacancy. But out of deference and respect, the Government will wait a while before moving the notice for the third vacanchy.

    • Andrew says:

      So that is Ceann Comhairle and 3 Senate Seats – of which FF will get all four and the Greens none? Considering the increased strength the Greens seem to have, that seems unlikely

    • Des FitzGerald says:

      What’s with the ‘they were both Fianna Fáil seats so fair enough’ rubbish? Is Harry now part of the crony circle.

      It is an absolute outrage that these seats can be filled on the sly and that still, despite everything, those in Leinster House seem utterly incapable of grasping how deeply wrong they are and the depth of reform that is needed.

      One day Harney sees nothing wrong with a €70k bonus and the next Biffo says politicians need to lead by example but between them they are completely incapable of joining the dots between those two positions? It simply beggars belief.

      Harney also said something about ‘do we want the IMF to come in and sort the place out’

      Err; yes yes and trice yes.

      I think the best thing that could possibly happen is for the IMF to come in and gut the place from top to bottom once and for all.

      I only have two worries that if the IMF did then the establishment will replace the chip on the shoulder about hard done by we were under the Brits to how hard done by under the IMF.

      Secondly, I have no doubt that there are thousands of selfless efficient public servants, but the evidence indicates they have done nothing to tackle the other many thousands who are wasters and are inefficient and lazy. Not to mention those at the top who are cronies, corrupt and need to be purged when a new government takes over. The entire public service needs to undergo a de-Fianna Fáilisation transformation.

      Public servants wringing their hands saying ‘well I wasn’t on the take’ while doing nothing to stop those who are simply isn’t good enough.

      That applies to politicians who, while not personally lining their pockets, seem unwilling to break the gentlemans’ club attitude within Leinster House.

      There needs to be a massive change in the political culture in Ireland from the top down. Otherwise God help the political class when the push the public to the point of no return – the level of anger is already seething.

      When enough is enough, will Biffo and Lenihan, both the sons of the worst examples of crony politicians Ireland has ever produced, have the intelligence to see their folly before its too late?
      I doubt it.

      In fact, I hope they don’t and I hope they suffer the consequences. Maybe then the penny will drop.

      I only hope my families beautiful ancestral home (Leinster House) isn’t burnt to the ground or destroyed beyond repair in the revolution.

    • Stephen, Dublin says:

      The writs may now become part of a bigger Seanad story. Enda Kenny’s arrogance in announcing the Seanad’s abolition without consulting fellow TDs and Senators shows very weak leadership and the type of contempt for the Irish people also shown by Martin Cullen when he introduced electronic voting machine in the manner he did. Kenny like Cullen seems not to understand that leadership is not just about responsible economic management or riding high in the polls it’s about bringing people with you and getting them all to contribute meaningfully to a bigger picture. Fine Gael canvassers have long been used to the glazed eyes of voters when Enda Kenny’s name is mentioned. The 2009 Presidential dinner may yet turn into an event akin to Neil Kinnock’s 1992 Sheffield rally – Kenny’s arrogance is breathtaking beyond belief.

      It is not without irony that Fine Gael is currently carrying our a postal ballot of members with the legal toothcombs not available in the Naja Regan case debacle demolishing and centralising power within Fine Gael in true Napoleonic fashion. The FG Policy Council is for abolition with branches now relying on ‘annual policy statements’ Any unit (if passed) could be stood down not just for ‘discipline’ but also for ‘strategic political reasons’. Members would be ‘eligible’ and no longer be ‘entitled’ to vote at Conventions. Kenny is an authoritarian bully who would be a very dangerous Taoiseach,

    • All due respect to Peter Callanan, but does the fact that a senator dying and hardly being noticed even by political junkies kind of indicate the senate’s public perception problem?

      I actually think Averil Power would make a good Fianna Fail Nua style candidate. She actually reads books for a start, which would be a novelty in the FF PP.

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      I think that FG should take the opportunity of these by-elections to put forward people to highlight specific national issues rather than people who might contest specific Dail seats. And they should seek some public means or forum for that person to debate with the government candidate and if they are a no show they should debate a mannequin.

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      Interesting to see Noel Whelan on Vincent Browne last night waking up to the fact that FF can’t govern after the next election due to the local election results.

    • Stephen, Dublin says:

      FF could govern after the next election if they form a coalition with some of the swathe of independent TDs, elected by voters who will not have been convinced of the Labour Party on ‘nationalisation’ or FG on ‘maybe nationalisation’ – alternatively / also there is now room for a new Political Party to take up to 25% of all votes in a General Election (a la PDs in 1987). The Senate will become the ‘hotbed of real Oireachtas political debate’ and if FG don’t at least double their Senate seats with a never-seen-before organisation of FG Councillors, Senate abolition won’t be on the cards. Even if FG break the overall majority in that house (won’t happen in a month of Christmas’s in the Dáil – although Kenny is rumoured to be teasing his troops with this liquorice) the new and nearly-new turkeys won’t ditch Christmas to vote for his whacky attempts at headlines – hiding his lack of traction on the more important economic issues of the day) and seeing his position as Napoleonic will banish him to Ballygo-elba!


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