Recent election results have provided us with much food for thought as the mainstream parties aim to negotiate a deal that will see sufficient Dail seats form the next government. But amidst the negotiations for power it is easy to forget the smaller parties and groups who partook in the democratic election process. What of those who stood and financed a campaign with ambitions equal to those of the mainstream parties, many who from the outset must have known in all reality that they were to fail in their quest for a seat?
The use of Shannon Airport by the US military was not one of the larger election issues. However it has become one of the contentious issues in the negotiations for the formation of the new government. By Aisling O'Rourke.
A General Election not only excites the media. The bookies and their customers love a competition. Irelands largest bookmaker Paddy Power this week predicted operating profits for 2007 of €58million. This forecast is based on current earnings from sporting events which have gone Paddy Powers way in the first 20 months of the year.
The prospect of Fianna Fail and the Green Party arriving at agreement with regard to the formation of the next Government will lead to the members of the Green Party passing a defining judgement as they cast their vote this weekend. Would a position in government dilute the party principles irrevocably or would it cement a central role for the party in any future Irish political landscape? Since its foundation in 1981 (as the ecology Party of Ireland) the Green Party has been vocal in what it stands against, can it now voice substantially what it stands for?
There remains a suspicion that the discussions with Fianna Fail and the Greens is a smokescreen. The areas of disagreement seem too great for there to be any prospect of agreement (for instance, co-location of private and public hospitals and the use of Shannon by US troops). But more critically, it is unlikely Fianna Fail will agree to be dependent on a party which is controlled by its volatile (from the Fianna Fail perspective) membership.
With the Labour Party meeting today to discuss the merits of forming the next government with Fianna Fail, Coleman Hudson ponders the political ramifications of Labour's strategy and performance in Election 2007.
It wasn't just the Progressive Democrats who fared dismally in Election 2007. So too did the Labour Party, which saw a fall in its share of the national vote and its worst electoral performance in 18 years. In 2002 it won 10.8 per cent of the national vote, this time it won just 10.1 per cent. No other party, aside from the Progressive Democrats, saw a fall in its vote share.
Announcing his retirement from politics yesterday evening after the loss his seat in Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats leader Michael McDowell said that the PDs must be a party that is 'radical or redundant'. With further losses for deputy leader, Liz O'Donnell, and party president, Tom Parlon, and with former Fianna Failer and Minister for Health, Mary Harney, the only PD elected to the 30th Dail at the time of writing, the disbandment of the party must surely be a possibility.
Fianna Fail are set to return to government, perhaps with an overall majority.