Jim Carroll

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On The Polls: more people read On The Record than voted for Silvio’s soldiers

Here we go with our takeaways from Elections 2009 (note to self: maybe that should that be Elections 2009 – Part One?). The people have spoken and now, they will watch on in horror as what they’ve said is totally …

Mon, Jun 8, 2009, 09:19


Here we go with our takeaways from Elections 2009 (note to self: maybe that should that be Elections 2009 – Part One?). The people have spoken and now, they will watch on in horror as what they’ve said is totally ignored. Dermot Ahern and John Gormley, we’re looking at youse, buds.

(1) It was not the great Facebook leap forward. Fianna Fail flops Garret Tubridy and Ronan Callely probably have more friends on Facebook than people prepared to give them their number one preferences.

(2) What do Mairead McGuinness and Oxegen dance fans have in common? They have both felt hugely euphoric in the same big shed in Punchestown.

(3) This was probably Enda Kenny’s finest hour. When he took over Fine Gael in 2002, the party was as good as dead and buried after an appalling general election. Now, the man from Mayo leads the largest party in the land, has KO’d Fianna Fail and is probably bursting for another election. Does this mean that more people see him as Taoiseach-in-waiting?

(4) On the other hand, Brian Cowen probably felt like pulling the duvet over his head and staying in bed this morning such are Fianna Fail’s woes. Dismal, grotesque, disastrous, unprecedented – and that’s probably just how his jilted councillors are feeling as they fume and fumigate. Could it get worse for him? Well, there’s always the next general election and, as John Bowman pointed out in his speed-tally of what might happen then, they can expect to lose seats all over the shop. Sure, they always say that a spell in opppsition is good for the soul.

(5) Best count coverage: Irish Election and especially their liveblog. Long after RTE, Newstalk and TV3 had gone home for the night and put on their pyjamas, you could still find streams of count info, unfiltered data and interesting rumours here. In fact, as the counts go on, the micro-blogs and tweet-collations are still hopping. Sure, OK, there were probably only a hundred or so political junkies still hooked up on Saturday night/Sunday morning, but we really (really) appreciated the fix. Kudos to all involved.

(6) While pundits will obviously go on at great length about Fianna Fail and the Green Party’s bad day at the office in Dublin, the post-mortem at Sinn Fein HQ when it comes to their performance in the capital city may be well worth ear-wigging on. There was no need for the lads with the tricolours this time. The party lost three council seats in the city as votes were dropped, high profile candidate like Daithi Doolan were Mannixed and previous poll-toppers were displaced. Meanwhile, Mary Lou McDonald lost her seat as her first preference vote slid from just over 60,395 in 2004 to 47,928 this time out. Is this “Dublin says no” time? The boys and girls in the back-office should start the blame report by rewatching Gerry Adams’ interview on TV3 on Saturday evening – when it comes to the economy, dude really does not have a clue. No seriously, dude hasn’t a breeze. At a time when economic affairs matter more than the national question, blow-ins from up north won’t wash any more in the big smoke.

(7) And then, there are the new PDs. Did you see the puss on ex-Galway mayor Niall O’Brolcháin as he tried to analyse where it all went wrong? The milk in your fridge is probably sour after enduring that one. But O’Brolcháin is not alone in feeling dismayed about what just happened. Those peeved Greens obviously didn’t get the memo that unpopular government parties always get a collective wedgie from the electorate in mid-term elections. And they certainly didn’t read the second page where people who voted Green in 2007 said “we didn’t vote Green to put Fianna Fail back in”. The question now is do they stay or do they go. Watch out for much windy taking of the high ground and “reflection” by some of your favourite Greens in the coming months.

(8) Does Mary Fitzpatrick’s poll-topping in Cabra-Glasnevin mean she’s now entitled to the keys to St Luke’s? Or does Bertie get to keep the shop until the next general election?

(9) Around about 10pm last night, there was a thunderous clatter and, lo, a voice came on the radio from the south-west. Jackie Healy-Rae has not – I repeat, has not – had a dose of the jitters about supporting this beaten docket of a government. The independent TD from the Kingdom, who left listeners in no doubt that he is not a George Lee fan, is standing right behind Brian Cowen. The word from Michael Lowry, the other indie TD in the government camp, was a lot cuter: “with the election of four county councillors and three urban councillors, I have seven councillors. I am bigger than the Green Party nationally.”

(10) From the money-can’t-buy-you-love department (copyright RR). We’re going to miss Silvio and co, you know: the man, the legend, the hubris, the FCA, the 106 European seats which never materialised. In the capital, it turned out that most people prefered their old Triton shower (or at least wanted to go with a shower who didn’t suddenly turn up out of nowhere with loadsamoney) to the one Libertas were touting. The stories from thsi campaign are going to be only fabulous. Meanwhile, in the north-west, the fuming goes on. Best quote on the BallotBoxGate came from George Hook: “just how many ways can you open a ballot box?”

More election bits and pieces to come during ther day and I’ll post them below. Stay tuned.


(11) The next EU debate on copyright is going to be interesting. At least one dude from the Swedish Pirate Party is heading to parliament.

(12) Very good blog post from Deaglán about where the Greens might go from here