Now that a Platform for Government has been agreed between with Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party and a government will be formed with six ministries each going to FF and FG and three going to the GP……..I will cover the new government when it is actually formed, speculation should shift to the eleven nominations to Seanad Éireann.
Yes, it is Speculation but shure Speculation is great.
As it is a coalition …four of the new Senators will be from FF, four from FG, two from GP and one who could be seen as a “wild card”.
Senate nominations are something of a consolation prize. Some TDs who lost their seats in the General Election (February 2020) will get seats in An Seanad. Id expect Regina Doherty (FG) and Timmy Dooley (FF) to be nominated.
It is also seen as a reward for some up and coming Party members who almost made it to An Dáil.
The problem with a coalition is that there will be too many people chasing too few seats. A Taoiseach with a clear majority has the patronage to select eleven of his own people, with regard to the people who lost seats or narrowly failed to win a seat as well as trying for a geographical balance.
For Michéal Martin and Leo Varadkar will know that some of their senior members and party faithful in the country will be disappointed, even angry. Lobbying will have been intense.
For Eamonn Ryan selecting two people to represent the Green Party is a delicate balance. With 76% of his Party voting for the Programme for Government, he might feel it a good move to promote one of the 34% who were not enthusiastic. He might even take note that his own leadership is subject to a challenge and promote one of the folks who might vote against him.
And the “Wild Card”. Well northern unionist Ian Marshall, a previous nomination, lost his seat in the direct elections earlier this year, so might be saved by a nomination from Martin and Varadkar.
Will there be a northerner appointed? Maybe a northern Green. But it has become something of a tradition to appoint a northerner…Sam McAughtrey (socialist), Séamas Mallon (SDLP) and Bríd Rodgers (SDLP) have all been appointees to An Seanad. Possibly Mark Durkan (SDLP).
Possibly it will be someone from so-called Civic Society or one of our favourite LetsGetAlongerists.
Speculation is idle of course but Quintin Oliver, Trevor Ringland, Tina McKenzie or the latest Ecumenical voice. There is no limit to the talent in “Civic Society”.