Updated: 02/01/18 : 05:50:26
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Fine Gael ‘n’ friends sound fresh and ‘on message’

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

TWO STORMS in 48 hours should be enough to warn our politicians to tread wary.

Fine Gael seemed to be coasting with a clear-cut margin over its rivals as we headed to the election just two years ago.

But February 2016 and those flooded homes and fields in storm after storm exacted a telling price.

Delivering Messages

Now however, it’s not  just Fine Gael itself but its partners seem more assured of their steps into the early days of 2018.

Leo Varadkar seemed to work more days than An Post over the Christmas Season delivering ‘messages.’

Not just he alone either: We got bolshie showings by Shane Ross and Finian McGrath in lengthy interviews they did this past week.

Accidental? Coincidental? Maybe but also remember there’s a new high-octane government communications unit now in play.

The trio reflect what the (current) opinion polls are telling them.....and that dynamic then converts to work vice versa too.

Take Down

The ‘bolshie’ part of the McGrath and Ross interviews was their beliefs that Fianna Fáil are not at the races.

Both believe that Fianna Fáil neither can — nor will — ‘take down’ this Government any time soon.

Most governments in modern Ireland take themselves down, if you look back.

That trend tracks back to the Fine Gael led National Coalition which made its ignominious exit stage left in June 1977.

Harold Macmillan most famously of all described it as ‘events, dear boy, events.’

But Finian McGrath especially seemed to hint that Fine Gael has (and will take) the option of having other independents in its fold to stay in government.

This is not as unworkable as some national media sometimes try to make it.

There are plenty of historical precedents in Fine Gael’s back pages for enfolding more independents.

Fianna Fáil needs to show evidence of any assiduous courting of independents.

Lagging, Limping

The party’s current leader has kept Bertie Ahern on the sidelines. 

But Meehawl could learn from Bertie a thing or two or three about how to treat independents and work with them.....and be in government.

The mathematics in all opinion polls in recent months suggest that Meehawl is lagging, even limping, in most of the country.

Munster is a solid success for Meehawl, Connacht is reasonably good, too.

But Dublin has neither forgotten nor forgiven the financial collapse.

Besides, most of that city’s electorate have NEVER cast a vote for a prospective Taoiseach from Cork, or living by the Lee.

Back when Fianna Fáil was last led by a Corkman his permanent abode was solidly Rathgar, Dublin.

Fatal Wounds

Albert Reynolds bought two homes in Dublin shortly after he entered the Dáil.

Arguably, a Fianna Fáil led by any Dublin based leader would have inflicted fatal wounds on Enda Kenny in Election 2016.

Whether fair or not, those are the hard and fast realities. They won’t change anytime soon.