Meath East

Yesterday’s by-election.

Fine Gael held on to the seat. Low turn out which causes the political overclass “too posh to voteTompkins think that None of the Above or Apathy won.

Alas it was Fine Gael…the Blueshirts. You couldn’t love them if you reared them.

Sinn Fein did no more than ok …no breakthrough…except they have now become the leading left wing party in the Republic of Ireland. They came third. And a credible day out for Direct Democracy Ireland…although they appear to be little more than anti-European and to the right. They came fourth.

But a good day out for Fianna Fáil who came a good second …just two years after the melt down of 2011. They are helped by three things…all of the worst elements of cute hopoloitics were culled in 2011..Micheal Martin is a patently decent man…and the working class have deserted Labour. Journalists who are of course great believers in their own moral superiority hate Fianna Fáil. To the cultured elite in Dublin 4…and there is nothing more cultured than a Dublin West Brit journo ….FF represents everything that is wrong with Ireland. So of course the Dublin media and bloggers will be mortified that the public are turning once again to the go been men. Fianna Fáil were supposed to be unelectable for generations.

But what about Labour? Well…I am a good socialist so I should LIKE Labour. On the other hand I am a good socialist and despise their Workers Party/Democratic Left/Official Sticky careerist entryist leadership like the obnoxious Gilmore and Rabbitte. All of a sudden it is Labour who face the wrath of their electorate who will go to Sinn Fein, Fianna Fáil or the maverick socialists. Labour finished fifth and they deserve the humiliation.

They brought it on themselves. They might like to think that their presence in coalition with red-fanged Blueshirts mitigates the pain of austerity for the working class. Actually they are seen as providing cover for the worst elements of unrestrained Fine Gael.

Lets be honest …Fine Gael will get no flak from their own core voters for acting like…Fine Gael. But Labour can expect flak for NOT acting like Labour. Except of course this is EXACTLY how Labour acts in government. Having gained strength on Opposition benches and making elaborate promises, they get to a junior coalition partner and get hammered at the next election.

They will take a hammering next time…and go back to the Dail as a rump. And in ten years time they will be back in government again …as a junior partner. Thats how they are.

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32 Responses to Meath East

  1. bangordub says:

    “he Dublin media and bloggers will be mortified that the public are turning once again to the go been men”
    Ahem. I beg to differ.

    • Auto correct is a nuisance.
      That should be GOMBEEN MEN.
      Oh I think I am right…the peerless Fintan O’Toole will be crying into his cappuccino latte mocha expresso.

      • bangordub says:

        Fintan, I agree. Poor lad will be most upset.
        I do take issue however, with the assumption that all us Dubs are of a similar mindset 😉
        Sinn Fein did well, no question, but I think mostly at the expense of Labour. The very low turnout makes it difficult to take any meaningful lessons from this election however.

      • Oh I’m not suggesting that the West Briton Media Elite is typical of Dubliners as a whole but it is a definite feature in Dublin …rather like the MetroTextuals of South East Belfast.
        And the boys and girls of the Ned Stapleton Cumann will be annoyed. Of course rather like the Official IRA…it never existed. Ahem.
        You’re right about turnout but I think that in general there is only limited knowledge we can get from by-elections.
        I am actually quite disturbed by the circumstances of this particular election. And I think there are some unspoken thoughts that a lot of people have.

      • factual says:

        Bangordub I think there is a big lesson from the by election, and that is that the rise of FF in the opinion polls is something real.

  2. factual says:

    Creditable result for Sinn Féin. The party has always adopted a “steady as she goes” policy. Overtaking Labour is a worthwhile roadmark.

    • bangordub says:

      Yes Factual,
      There is no denying that FF is staging a comeback, but the true extent of that comeback is very hard to gauge on a 30% turnout in a seat which returned a 41% FF vote in 2007

  3. sammymcnally says:

    The problem for parties of the (relative) ‘left’ e.g. Labour or Libdems in Britiain is that if you enter government as junior partner with a ‘right wing’ party during a period of austerity your own supporters will not like it very much. If it a time of plenty then they they have a chance to push through public sector pay and public expenditure and welfare increases.

    The ‘left’ wing parties not in government like SF (who would have expected to do much better in Meath) can sit on the sidelines and play the class card.

    …but in reality Ireland is tied to auisterity because it was/is bankrupt and economic soverignity rests elsewhere. SF need to stay out of government, even if they get the chance to enter it – until the good times are back – and that may be measured in decades rather than years.

    • factual says:

      SF adopt a “steady as she goes” approach to growth, Sammy. Better to have long steady sustainable growth, than here-today-gone-tomorrow growth.

      • sammymcnally says:

        facutal, with due respect that is self-serving ourselves alone nonsense. They have no other choice but to go for ‘long steady sustainable growth’ – if they could baloon overnight into the largest party and get into government they would bite your hand and any other available limb off.

        …they had no problem with the hunger strikes bringing them overnight success .

      • Realistically Sinn Fein will be disappointed but will be looking at the boxes in the Dublin commuter belt to see if they have done well in those areas. They could become the second biggest party in Dublin.

      • factual says:

        Sammy McNally SF took many elections to replace the SDLP north of the border and it will take many to do the same to FF south of the border. That is the plan.

      • There is such a thing as ups and downs. Don’t assume that Sinn Fein rise and rise is inevitable. It isn’t. They suffered reversals in north in 1980s.

      • factual says:

        FJH there will always be those in the establishment parties that seek to oppose or stop SF. But while there are ups and downs the underlying trend is upwardly.

      • Sinn Fein is establishment….surely.

      • factual says:


        An establishment party seeks to preserve privileges and vested interests of the rich.

        Sinn Féin representatives – from the highest minister in the six counties to the back bench TDs – all take home just the average industrial wage. That policy means SF reps face the same economic circumstances that people face up and down the country as we head into the recession caused by FF and perpetuated by FG. Sinn Féin represent and seeks to help the poorest people in Ireland. Those who struggle to make ends meet – those that are being (wrongly) made to pay for the mistakes of the bankers. Sinn Féin is not an establishment party, seeking to preserve vested interests; rather Sinn Féin is a campaigning party that seeks to change things to help those in poverty.

    • I think this is true.
      Sinn Fein are not in government in the south…and I’m not sure they ever will be…too soon for Fianna Fáil to court them???
      In the North it’s not a “real government” so they can claim that they are not implementing cuts…they are bound to suffer a little.

  4. hoboroad says:

    Who are these DDI guys? Are they some fly by night operation or a serious player?

  5. factual says:

    Sammymcnally: Sinn Féin’s approach is to build up core support – people who share Sinn Féin’s socialist values. This takes time. Rapid converts would not be true converts to socialism and progressive left wing values. That’s why Sinn Féin’s approach is that of slow, steady, sustainable steady-as-she-goes growth.

    • sammymcnally says:


      Do you honestly think SF are a socialist party? Last I heard they supported Irleland North and South having the lowest corporation tax in the EU?

      Socialism is badge of convenience picked up in the eighties when Marxism was un-debunked and Liberation theory was all the rage. There is little or no difference in pracftice between SF, FF, FG in terms of economic policy – they are all social democratic parties. SF are sitting comfortably in the North implementing Tory policy – the socialist malarkey is simply for marketing purposes.

      Parties that were/are really socialist like the workers party just get their arses kicked at the polls – that wouldnt suit SF attempt to get power North and South.

      • factual says:

        Sinn Féin if it stands for one idea it is that of equality – whether that be economic or social. The economic equality is very important, and that means in practice a real commitment to redistribution from rich to poor, progressive tax, more spending on public services such as healthcare, as well as higher minimum wages and a greater focus on taxation of wealth. Sinn Féin does not share FF or FG attitudes in this regard, and furthermore Sinn Féin opposes the EU’s increasing role in setting fiscal and monetary straightjackets on Dublin’s policies, and SF opposed entry to the Euro, making warnings about one-size-fits-all monetary and fiscal policies that turned out to be right. Sinn Féin believes more than the other parties in indigenous business, and in government ownership of key businesses such as banking.

  6. sammymcnally says:


    “The economic equality is very important, and that means in practice a real commitment to redistribution from rich to poor, progressive tax”

    Are they in favour of the lowest corpororation in the EU?

    That is not progressive taxation is it?

    A socialist party wouldnt sign up to that as policy which simply facilitates multinationals moving to low tax ecobomies like Ireland at the expense of workers elsewhere.

    • factual says:

      Sinn Féin believe in harmonising the corpo tax rate north and south in the first instance. Sinn Féin beileve that its important to target wealth and target high incomes; in the end people pay taxes not companies.

  7. As few of us Dublin bloggers come from solid “Fianna Fáil families” but most of us would rather cut our hands off than put a number against the name of an FF candidate. Now or in the future. I simply cannot understand why people are returning to the Fianna Fáil fold, except to express dissatisfaction with the Fine Oibre regime or because FF represents a sort of vague centre-right Republicanism/populist Nationalism that they can’t find in FG.

    Or maybe they are just “institutionalised” into voting for one or the other.

    Sinn Féin’s 1st preference vote was a case of good enough (if no more than that). Not the 15%+ some were predicting but not far off it at 13.02%. That’s an increase from 8.88% in 2011. Meath East is a growing part of the Dublin hinterland and shares the traditional commuter belt hostility to SF. The party has never done well there. On a good day, and if FF and FG fail to stand two candidates each in 2016, an SF seat looks possible.

    The vote for Direct Democracy represents many things. A good and actually fairly well-known local candidate in Ben Gilroy for a start with a reputation of taking on the banks and others. Voter unrest and anti-establishment feeling helped. But DD is very much a mixed bag in terms of members and policies. Not sure where they stand on the right/left divide. They would say it doesn’t apply to them.

    Overall I don’t think apathy won. I think emigration as form of social control won as it has always won during times of crisis in Irish democracy. To the benefit of the Irish political establishment.

  8. sammymcnally says:

    Séamas Ó Sionnaigh,

    re. “I think emigration as form of social control won as it has always won during times of crisis in Irish democracy.”

    That is certainly a factor – but the votes in Meath are more an indication of the current economic reality and a reflection of voter resignation – people dont believe there is any alternative to current austerity policies – so people vote for FF and FG.

    For all SF carping from the sidelines unless they are in favour of default then they must well know that the country will continue to be run by the Troika and after they leave by the money markets – Ireland’s debt levels have seen to that.


    If and when SF get anywhere near power socialist talk will disappear just as the old nonsense-talk about them being Marxist.

    .. and no ‘proper’ socialist worth his salt would argue for the lowest possible Corpo tax.

  9. oakleaf says:

    Irish people are a conservative bunch in general with some left wing elements thrown in there such as support for the welfare state etc. Outside of rich neo liberal socially liberal urban areas of course.

    Sinn Fein need to stop chasing the sticky vote of the labour party and go after the working class Fianna Fail vote and rural Fianna Fail vote if they are to suceed.

    They need to allow their members free votes on issues such as abortion as lots of their vote on this issue is conservative like me for example.

    Many people feel that Sinn Fein has been hijacked by a minority of latte drinking liberals who 30 years ago would of fitted in with the stickies.

    The whole Marie Stopes thing was handled badly. Even if the SDLP were trying to trip SF up before the Mid Ulster election it was still seen as cowardly by many to not declare their position until after the election.

    • factual says:

      Sinn Féin’s position has been clear on abortion and Cairtiona Ruane has been good at being up front in the media about it. As Caitriona asked: did the DUP or SDLP ask any of their female members their views before bringing their bill to the Assembly? I suspect not.

  10. oakleaf says:

    By the way the scale of emigration in the north is just as bad. Why no help with employers owed money by Patton but yet again farmers get help.

    Also SF is so scared to be seen as acting as sectarian that job loses in areas in Larne, East Belfast gets calls for action yet in Derry, Mid Ulster etc no action is taken.

    • factual says:

      Arrant nonsense. You miss the point: Sinn Féin isn’t sectarian.

      • oakleaf says:

        I know that but they go too far sometimes in proving that to the disadvantage of the people who elect them.

        They need to grow a back bone. They are going soft to chase the elusive liberal vote in the 26 counties.

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