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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: November 10, 2010 @ 11:08 am

    Observe the sons of Fianna Fáil marching towards Donegal…

    Mary Minihan

    Tanaiste Mary Coughlan insisted Fine Gael voters would not transfer to Sinn Fein in parts of Donegal South-West in the upcoming by-election, sources at a Fianna Fail meeting on Tuesday night confirmed.

    At the well-attended meeting, TDs and Senators responded enthusiastically to an appeal for assistance ‘on the ground’ with the campaign of Fianna Fail Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill.

    At the weekend, Mr Ó Domhnaill was selected as the party candidate for the by-election which will take place on November 25th, following a High Court ruling that a delay of 18 months was “inordinate”. The High Court challenge was brought by Sinn Fein Senator Pearse Doherty, who is also a candidate in Donegal South-West. The other candidates are Fine Gael Cllr Barry O’Neill, Labour Cllr Frank McBrearty jnr and Independent Cllr Thomas Pringle.

    Ms Coughlan said voters who traditionally backed Fine Gael TD Dinny McGinley, who is from Bunbeg, and would probably opt to support Mr O’Neill in the by-election, would be most unlikely to give any preferences to Mr Doherty, from Gweedore.

    The meeting, one of a series of pre-Budget briefings by Ministers, was addressed by Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Minister for Social Protection Eamon O Cuiv and Donegal North-East TD Niall Blaney, as well as Ms Coughlan, who is a deputy for Donegal South-West.

    The Fianna Fail parliamentary party meeting, normally held on Tuesday evening, will this week take place tomorrow (Thursday) morning, and is likely to be dominated by the issue of whether or not the old age pension will be cut in the upcoming budget.

    Mr O Cuiv, who is Mr Ó Domhnaill’s director of elections, told the meeting Fianna Fail would be “going back to its roots” with the Donegal South-West campaign, according to a source at the meeting.

    “He said the campaign would be an eclectic mix of old-style, people-driven campaigning, combined with modern technology, but it would be all on a low budget,” the source said.

    Mr O Cuiv said the campaign would be led by Fianna Fail’s “army of ordinary party members in Donegal”. He insisted upon a huge effort in the constituency, with canvassers “knocking on every door in every valley and in every housing estate”.

    There was said to be a “huge response” from the party’s TDs and Senators willing to travel to Donegal this weekend and the following weekend to canvass for Mr Ó Domhnaill. Members of the parliamentary party were asked to indicate days on which they would be available to campaign and many put their names forward.

    “We are going to be given our patch to canvas. We don’t care about the weather. We’re to bring oil skins and wax coats and we’re to canvass until midnight every night,” one of those present said.

    • barbera says:

      Fair play to the FF canvassers.
      I heard/saw the candidates debate (Cllr Thomas Pringle was absent) on Tonight with Vincent Browne the other night and God between us and all harm, Deaglán, there is just no choice — Brian Ó Domhnaill (FF) has got to win in Donegal SW. The other candidates came across like characters out of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy.

      (PS Vincent Browne handled the debate in a very fair manner I thought — when he is good he is very very good but when he is bad………..!!)

    • robespierre says:

      barbera you have form as an apologist for the government that has destroyed this country.

      I genuinely believe that a vote for Zanu FF at this stage is an act of treason. My only problem is that I do not want Labour near government and FG are just as toxic as long as they are lead by a man who time and again proves himself incapable of grasping some fairly basic concepts and communicating in a remotely adequate manner.

    • Highway61 says:


      You are kidding, yes?

    • An Mailleach says:

      If FF could raise Neil Blaney from the dead, he could sort this thing out.

    • barbera, I watched that VinB debate and in all honesty the most articulate and fluid of the four in their presentation were Brian Ó Domhnaill and Pearse O’Doherty. But an articulate person with no case to make is still someone with no case to make.

      I suspect that the FG message on transfers in DSW will be above all else if you can’t bring yourself to transfer to SF then for the love of God don’t transfer to FF. Just stop at that point.

    • paul m says:

      we have no say in what happens in Donegal, its a matter for those there to make the decision by themselves If they vote for FF they are showing approval that they want this pathetic government to stay in power, and will only be delaying the innevitable. Either way if an election comes this victory will be shortlived for a constituency that should have had a representative long ago. Its disgusting that democratic politics in Ireland has been reduced to this.

      The political institution as a whole should hang their heads in shame. Dail Eireann you have become a circus of petty children fighting over toys and treating peoples lives as chips in poker game. Is it really going to take more sustained protests to do the job opposition politics cant do?

    • Rob says:

      Anti Fianna Fail c,ome on lads these clowns have ruined the country and are a cancer. They are Nazis are need to be put out power for good.

      Anybody but Fianna Fail – Fine Gael are a better bet, not sure how much better but they cannot possibly be worse

      The people of Donegal have the chance to fire the first shot in what could be the death of Fianna Fail

      Let’s hope they are not dumb enough to give them life and vote them in again.

    • barbera says:

      @ 2 – robespierre certainly comes across as a polite, and sometimes erudite, articulator for the sovereignty of the people and the common good, but we do know from history that ‘robespierres’ are quite partial to bringing about reigns of terror!

      I believe there are “good” and shall we say, “not so good” (to avoid binaries) politicians right across the political spectrum, as there are such types in all walks of life. Simply watching that debate on VinB, and taking the candidates at face value, if I lived in Donegal SW, I would consider that I had no option but to voter for Brian Ó Domhnaill, who came across as sincere, knowledgeable, articulate, passionate and above all did not resort to negative comment and personal-attack tactics – ‘attactics’, to coin a phrase.

    • howard says:

      i am absolutely amazed, that there is a single FF apologist out there, Barbs, you are living in cloud cuckoo land if you think that the FF candidate had anything worthwhile to say, Pearse Doherty was far and away the most articulate, FF came across as arrogant, labour came across as a bully, FG came across as shy and wimpish, if the folks in Donegal elect FF, may i make a suggestion, secede from the Republic, as this country does not need any more muppets

    • Michael says:

      If this is a FF/SF contest at the end one of the more fascinating aspects will be how the transfers play out, in particular the FG transfers. Maybe Pearse Doherty should make a special plea to FG voters along the lines of ‘I know you’re sceptical about us as you think we tried to destroy the State. However we’ve pulled back – unlike FF who have managed to do just that!!!’

    • mé féin says:

      Going on his initials, is Pearse Doherty in reality a PD………..!!

    • Long gone says:

      Oil skins and wax coats-it’s not exactly Siberia!
      However ,if you were to darken my door,rest assured the reception would be frosty.

    • cockneyrebel says:

      As someone once said (the jury’s still out on whether it was Albert or Roy..the smart money’s..well mine anyway…is on Albert)…
      ‘Insanity/Stupidity is repeatedly doiing the same thing and expecting a different result…’
      Now that SF are actually being allowed to articulate and demonstrate their political bona fides it seems they are not the bogeymen they are portrayed to be…
      The result in the High Court was a turning point for them which they must now capitalise on and use to their advantage…
      How ever much people wish to deny it… they have the hearts and minds of the younger voters…the sooner they get the issue of the enfranchisement of Co Diaspora…by far their largest constituency… resolved it is heartening to see that thay have finally begun to address this…without Pearse Doherty SW Donegal let alone Co Diaspora would still have be disenfranchised he must reap the benefit of his success…

    • war says:

      This is a big gamble for the Soldiers of Destiny which they could win.

    • Mark says:

      Fianna Fail are Nazis? Zanu FF? Come on folks, you can do better than that.
      Kick Fianna Fail all you like…or any other party for that matter, but a bit of intelligent debate would be welcome.

      And, secede from the Republic? It’s DSW’s right to vote for whichever candidate they wish. Why should DSW have to ‘secede’ for voting for a party that was given a mandate for goverment by the entire country? If you don’t like the government, you can have your say in your own constituency on election day.

    • Peers Dougherty says:

      SF wrap themselves in a cloth of green but they are more red in tooth and claw than the most rabid direct action types who walk the streets of London. Vote for FG if you hate FF – for the love of God dont give that SF’er that vote, even if it ends up being a vote for Labour in power.

    • DarraghO Neill says:

      people who vote for FF are simply not well in the head.

    • cockneyrebel says:


    • common sense says:

      The FF candidate is First and Foremost the best candidate for the job and the only rational contender.

      Be afraid, Donegal, be very afraid of — “the others”

    • paul m says:

      poor auld donegal, has anyone even stopped to think that they didnt give two figs about having a dail representative and were glad to see the back of any political inteference in their county?

      the logic being the west gets the scraps that dublin throws away and the northwest gets the bones to boil for soup if they’re lucky. 100% of nothing is still nothing, and with everything being axed and cut back over the last two years it isnt as if donegal would have seen a whole lot of relief coming its way. More chance of forming a county lotto syndicate than waiting for government funds. So besides being saddled with a new politician in the next few months, where’s the benefit they’ll see from this if an election is to be called in but a whiskers time.

      i wouldnt fancy canvassing now, no matter what party you’re from.

    • a muse bouche says:

      DONEGAL — FIANNA FAIL……………that rhymes therefore it is a portent of harmony to come……….!!

      DONEGAL — FINE GAEL………………sounds like GALE and that is an ill wind that blows………!!

      DONEGAL — LABOUR…………………”labour party”…………….oxymoron that……….!!

      DONEGAL — SINN FEIN……………….their selves alone………!!

    • paul m says:

      Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

    • tirchonaill says:

      Paul m above (comment 19) hits the nail on the head, and I suspect he’s one of the few if not the only poster of comments who’s actually from Donegal. Many people don’t understand the typical political mindset in Donegal, barely a part of this failed Republic since the beginning.

      Donegal SW is surely the most neglected constituency in the country, if such a thing could be realistically measured? Civil war politics is still alive and well in the constituency, particularly in the rural areas, and it’s locally focussed. The connection with Leinster House and national politics seems somewhat distant and irrelevant, and is coloured by deep cynicism regarding the overall relationship of the county with central Government, i.e., the periphery v. the centre.

      I think this explains why there was no pressure for a by-election in the county from the ordinary voters or constituents. The constituency has/had a huge loyal FF electorate (50%+), and that civil war-based loyalty has meant that absolutely nothing has been done for the constituency in terms of jobs, development etc. That’s the reality of the kind of politics that operates here.

      It’s also a reflection on FF of course, although the whole complex that essentially controls affairs in the county extends well beyond one party. Throw in politicians of all hues, old stock business people, the church, the gardaí. This machine runs the place according to it’s own rules. The Morris Tribunal briefly shed some light into this murky world. People know this, they just don’t understand that it’s not as bad elsewhere in the country, that things have been moving on over the last 20 years. And most importantly, they don’t make the connection between this state of affairs and their elected representatives, especially Dáil deputies, especially those from FF.

      If the typical Donegal voter mindset has collapsed somewhat, then FF will lose the seat. Young people would lead that change, but with the recent emigration surge, widespread disinterest/disillusionment, plus a Thursday election day, it’s still down to the old die-hards. I don’t bet, but I wouldn’t put money on Pearse Doherty without putting the same on O’Domhnaill.

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