Irish Politics

Philip Ferguson plf13 at SPAMit.canterbury.ac.nz
Mon Feb 12 19:20:55 MST 2001


Brian,
thanks for your most informative post on where the DL TDs are now.

I got this just after posting an email in which I happened to mention Liz
McManus and how she was a snooty yuppie, so I had to laugh - indeed out
loud - when I read you saying the 'Phoenix' calls her Lady Wicklow.  It is
rather amusing to think that around 1972 she was with Bernadette Devlin  at
the Workers Party (at that time 'Official Sinn Fein') conference calling
for socialist revolution.


>De Rossa is now the Labour Party MEP in Dublin. He was officially chairman
>of the LP immediately after the merger, but that was a figurehead position
>and I don't think he even retains that. His political role is negligible


What happened to De Rossa's seat in Dublin North?


>Liz McManus is still a TD and still talks the same vacuous liberal
>nonsense. "Phoenix", the Dublin satirical magazine insists on calling her
>Lady Wicklow.

An acquaintance of mine used to edit the 'Phoenix', probably still does.
Paddy Prendiville.  I once wrote a few humorous/sarcastic pieces on the WP
for the mag.


>Pat Rabbitte was the big winner in the merger. He was already loved by the
>media

Was this when he was a bureaucrat at the Transport Workers Union, helping
to stop strikes?



>and now he's nearly guaranteed to be a Minister after the next
>election. He got in a very nasty row with the editor of the Sunday Business
>Post recently. He had referred to the SBP as the "Continuity Sunday
>Business Post" because of its republican line on the North. It turned out
>that the antipathy went back to squabbles in student politics, when
>Rabbitte was an arch-Stalinist and the soon to be editor of the SBP was in
>the International Socialists.


Is this Brian (forget last name)?



>I can't remember what happened to the rest of them.


What about Pat McCartan, the lawyer.  He earned more from legalc aid cases
than any other lawyer in Dublin  - £250,000 one year I was living there, I
heard.  He was the archetypal Workers Party, then Democratic Left, yuppie.
I always thought he would have quite a nice career by shifting over to Fine
Gael.



>> I think the next general election in the South will be quite interesting,
>> because the substantial growth in support for Sinn Fein - is likely to
>> result in a big increase in SF seats in Leinster House and a further
>> decline for the Labour Party.
>
>Sinn Fein's support will undoubtedly go up, but it's far from certain that
>they will gain seats. Ferris is in with a good chance in Kerry and Crowe is
>a possibility in Tallaght. Beyond that, I think they're probably looking at
>some good showings rather than wins. They could win anything from one to
>five seats, at the moment my money would be on two.

A while back I looked at the local body elections.  I was actually
surprised SF had done so well.  Places there was hardly any organisation
when I was a member now have SF local and county councillors.  If you look
at their showing in Monaghan and Cavan, I would think they have a
reasonable chance of picking up a second seat there.  Surely, they have
some chance of picking up the old Blaney vote in Donegal as well, although
the problem there is a three-seater.  What about Dublin Central?  Is that
still a five-seater?  If so, they must be in with a good chance there.
Jack Crowe, or Sean as he has become, looks very well-placed in Tallaght.
Martin Ferris has a good chance in Kerry, although the problem there is two
three-seaters, rather than a bigger electorate.  But also in places like
Sligo-Leitrim, Cork, and even Limerick, with the demise of Kemmy, they must
be well-placed.  Moreover, they have the advantage of a leadership which,
although I'm totally opposed politically to it now, has an immense amount
of respect - and it's respect based on the fact that for 25 years they did
stand up to everything the Brits could throw at them.  No offence to your
party's Joe Higgins, but being popular for resisting local water charges in
Dublin West hardly puts him in the same category.




>Another point is that a Sinn Fein rise in support won't necessarily hurt
>Labour. SF's two best seats (one in Cavan and one in Kerry) won't effect
>Labour. On the urban front, Labour might have more to worry about from them
>- - but even then outside of Tallaght they don't look like being able to take
>Labour seats directly and where they can't do that a strong showing by them
>(bringing out non-voters from sink estates) might actually help Labour a
>little in terms of second preferences. You might be right, but STV makes
>predictions very difficult sometimes.
>
>Labour certainly have something to worry about. Seamas Healy of the South
>Tipperary Workers and Unemployed Action Group (and formerly the Lambertist
>"League for a Workers Republic") took a seat from them in a recent
>byelection and he won't be moved.

What's happening with Tony Gregory and Nicky Kelly by the way? (Two
independent, republican-leftish TDs.)



>Similarly, the Socialist Party's Joe
>Higgins took a Dublin West seat from them and is safe in it. Clare Daly of
>the Socialist Party is in with a good shot of taking another seat off them
>in Dublin North.
>
>The outlook is less than bright for Labour on their left flank. The
>question is if they can take seats from the other right wing parties to
>compensate.


The fact that a whole series of left-wing candidates from very small
parties or no parties have managed to win seats in the last few elections
makes the South quite interesting politically.  If these left forces (whch
have the TDs but not  many troops on the ground) and SF (which has the
troops on the ground but only one TD) came to some electoral agreement, the
LP in the south could face a really major challenge.

Philip Ferguson







More information about the Marxism mailing list