The proverbial curate’s egg. There are times when Leo looks very much the dapper, well-educated modern young leader, and then he opens his mouth and comes out with some unbelievable stuff. It’s not a great trait to have with crucial and sensitive Brexit negotiations on the way. In fact, Simon Coveney looks an altogether safer pair of hands.
Fine Gael look set to be the biggest party once again after the next election, but they will be hoping to form a far more solid coalition Government. They may have to deal with the Greens in order to get back into power.
It remains to be seen whether or not Fianna Fáil will get a bounce for ‘wearing the green jersey’ over the past three years. In reality, they have been in a pretty impossible position. They can give out all they like about Fine Gael, but they won’t vote against them. They seem to be stuck at about 23% in the polls, which would see them behind Fine Gael. This will be Micheál Martin’s final hurrah. It looks like he will become the first ever FF leader not to be Taoiseach.
It’s very interesting to look at what’s happening to Sinn Féin. They were growing spectacularly for three or four years but that growth has stalled and has now gone into reverse. Since Mary Lou McDonald took over they have gone down in the polls, which is surprising. The fact that they are still out of Government in the North, and that they are seen to be very negative on most major issues here, is telling against them. It’s very unlikely that either of the main parties would go into Government with Sinn Féin, which is also a major problem for Mary Lou.
The Green Party
They are back with a bang and they will grow furher too. They could have as many as 10 TDs elected in the next election. They will be the kingmakers in the next Dáil. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing remains to be seen, but certainly the Green agenda is here to stay.
The end could be nigh for the Labour Party, which seems to have lost all direction. They are being squeezed by Sinn Féin and People Before Profit/Solidarity/‘the left’ on one side and by the Greens on the other. I would fear for them in the next election.
People Before Profit/Solidarity
There is always going to be a certain amount of support for the far left and well educated politicians like Paul Murphy, Richard Boyd Barrett and Ruth Coppinger (whethere you like them or not) look safe. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea but there is a vote out there for them.
The advent of ‘new politics’ saw the likes of Shane Ross, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran and Sean Canney assume ministerial office. They did well – but a lot of people would welcome any future Government being minus Ross…in particular! Many people in this area feel he is anti-rural.
Other high profile Independents like Michael Fitzmaurice and Denis Naughten will only be effective as part of a grouping that can challenge any sitting Government on the issues of the day.
Overall then, it looks like more of the same when the General Election votes are counted in early 2020, with no party making huge gains. The exception and unknown quantity are the Green Party who are certain to hold the balance of power when the next Government is being formed.
Here in this constituency I can see no change with Michael Fitzmaurice, Eugene Murphy and Denis Naughten holding on to their seats.