Special Features

No Irish names, no pack drill

O Cuiv, Maloney, O Snodaigh, Deenihan, Halligan, O'Brien...

But no Serafinovicz, no Obayomi, no De Lesseps or Staglioni...

The Irish parliament is a very traditionally Irish place. The alleged multiculturalism that came with economic prosperity might never have happened. Ireland is a white, largely male, place, and everyone speaks with an Irish accent, be it Kerry, Donegal or Dublin.

That, at least, is the impression given by the Dáil after the election results flowed in.

Fine Gael for office with a few capitalist cheerleaders

Labour lost its way before and if it goes into coalition with Fine Gael, it's likely to lose its way again, writes Vincent Browne.

If Fine Gael and Labour have problems in agreeing a programme, the problems are ones of personality and perception. There are no incompatibilities of principle or ideology.

Secret negotiations undermine democracy

This week, two democratic political parties, run on democratic lines, are negotiating a programme for a democratic government... in secret. Colin Murphy peers through the smoke and mirrors.


We take it for granted that the wheeling and dealing of close-quarter political negotiations should take place in private. Since the 1980s, secret negotiations have dominated our politics: social partnership (since 1987), coalition deals (every government since 1989), the peace process (since the early 1990s).

It wasn't the papers wot won it

In a way, there was no choice in this election, not a lot for the media to exploit, in traditional fashion. Fine Gael was going to dominate the result, and this was clear from early on.

So the adversarial party battle which newspapers and other media exploit (whatever the regulations say) was missing from the coverage.

The best angles, for attention, that could be taken were about the phoney war between Eamon Gilmore and Enda Kenny, or perhaps some scare-mongering about the rise of the left and the Sinn Fein surge.

Great achievement for Kenny, but little will change

The election outcome is quite an achievement for Enda Kenny, writes Vincent Browne.

Of course, Fine Gael was assisted generously by Fianna Fáil's self-destruction. The scale of the Fine Gael achievement now is magnified by Michael Noonan's self-destruction of 2002. Fine Gael has also been assisted ably by the infantile conceit of the 'Gilmore for Taoiseach' ruse. But even more so by the decrepitude of the Left.

But all that aside Enda's achievement is considerable.

Politico calls the election!

Malachy Browne's internal tipping machine has come out with the composition of the 31st Dail at: Fine Gael 79 seats, Labour 31, Independents 21, Fianna Fail 22, Sinn Fein 12, and one lonely Green - Eamon Ryan in Dublin South. 

And so Election Day has arrived. Some two million people will cast their vote today, and if polls are right, 800,000 of us will choose a Fine Gael candidate over any other. Below, an overview of the campaign, and Politico's predictions. Argument is welcome!

Future group spotlights Dublin South Central

It's the economy, stupid!

Candidates in the Dublin South Central constituency faced voters on Monday at a public meeting dominated by economic discussion. Reform group Claiming Our Future, (their profile here) held the event so local voters had a chance to size up the candidates ahead of Friday's general election. Philip Connolly reports.

Question marks over the future of Sinn Fein

AFTER decades in the political wilderness, Sinn Féin seems to be on the verge of a political breakthrough in the Republic. If the polls are to be believed, it should win anything from 10 to 15 seats. By Peter Mooney.

A healthy nation hangs in the balance

How we vote on Friday will impact on Ireland's health system for years to come. Fianna Fáil is promising more of the same – in its seven-page 'policy' paper the party commits to the continuation of 'reform', of the Health Service Executive, and of the two-tier system with a focus on quality and reorganising services. The only change is a rejection of Mary Harney's plan to co-locate private hospitals on the grounds of public hospitals.