Updated: 28/11/16 : 04:51:32
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Fianna Fáil option drifts out.....again

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

THE WEEKEND opinion poll seemed to offer little or no movement among the big movers, the big parties.

Opinion polls, it is easy to forget, firstly measure changes in voter sentiment.

Then their opinions translate into how they 'see' the parties in percentage terms.

The big story from yesterday's Red C poll for The Sunday Business Post was not even presented as a story.

Namely, the two biggest parties in the land now command, when combined, LESS than 50% of public support . See below.

Fianna Fáil is coming up to the sixth anniversary of being swept from power in February 2011.

February 2016 (increasingly) looks like a false dawn for the Fianna Fáil faithful.

Promised Land

Already, for the first time in ninety years Fianna Fáil has failed to emerge as winners from two successive general elections.

It now looks no nearer a return to the Promised Land this Monday morning,

Credibility and consistency, as much as anything else, lies at the heart of the current mini crisis for Fianna Fáil.

Pointed Out

The party also manages to get itself 'into' silly and even ridiculous places.

Yesterday, we saw the party, at spokesman level, criticise President Higgins over some remarks in his tribute to Fidel Castro.

Former party leader Albert Reynolds -- more than once, too -- told Cabinet colleagues that the President of the day (Mary Robinson) was the peoples choice.

That should be acknowledged in 2016, too. In other words, current leadership 'please copy.'

Sky Watchers

After all, Fianna Fáil is the party which freely permitted America to parade assorted paraphernalia at Shannon before recent wars.

Keen sky watchers also noted rendition flights passed through Ireland.

Yesterday and indeed last week in the Dail Fianna Fáil was inaudible on 900,000 citizens disenfranchised by the latest version of the 'Citizens Assembly.'

It seems only a half handful of independents see anything amiss in such maths.

Indeed, Red C itself yesterday attributed Sinn Fein's three percent rise in its poll as arising from recent Dail activity on the issue.

Neutrality may NOT then be the dead issue Fianna Fáil and its friends in American chambers of commerce around the globe would have us believe.

New Party

Maybe, maybe not. One website commentator looking at yesterday's poll even postulated that we are wide open for a major new party.

Again maybe, maybe not. It was exactly this time 31 years ago when the Progressive Democrats emerged on the scene.

They were expected to 'damage' Fianna Fáil. The total opposite happened.

The PDs eat into Fine Gael's broader support base and FG never did well in any general election in PD lifetime.

Even worse, the PDs seat numbers facilitated Fianna Fáil to form several governments.

But the big challenges in the years from 2017 could lie on the Left in the Dail.

Worth reading is an analysis earlier this month by Michael Taft, the Research Officer of my own union, Unite. See link.

The challenge for the Left to stay relevant and hold onto public support will come into sharper focus as more and more return to work, his argument highlights.

RED C/ The Sunday Business Post 27/11/2016

Fine Gael 25% (no change)

Fianna Fáil 24% (-2)

Sinn Féin 16% (+3)

Independents 12% (+2)

Labour 5% (no change)

AAA-PBP 5% (-4)

Independent Alliance 4% (-2)

Social Democrats 4% (+1)

Green Party 3% (no change)

Others, including Renua 1% (+1).

Link: http://notesonthefront.typepad.com/politicaleconomy/2016/11/the-slow-steady-rise-of-irish-conservatives.html