Pollwatch: Sunday Business Post/Red C 25th March 2012

There is an interesting poll in tomorrows Sunday Business Post by Red C on both Party support and the fiscal treaty referendum. It is worth nothing that the poll was taken before the announcement on a deal on the Promissory Note and the Mahon Tribunal Report .

The top-line figures for party support are as follows:

  • Fine Gael 34% (+4)
  • Labour 15% (-1)
  • Fianna Fail 16% (-1)
  • Sinn Fein 18% (nc)
  • Ind/others 17% (-2)

Fine Gael manage get to get a four point bump in the poll this month. I am not sure exactly why considering all the major developments happened after the respondents were polled! Of course with the Ard Fheis next weekend there has been some mention of that.  Labour and Fianna Fail both continue their slow slide, but of course the next poll will the most important one for Fianna Fail. If their move to kick Bertie Ahern and others mentioned in the Mahon Report  are the right moves to keep support from the voters. Also it shows the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis and the apology has not helped with the polls.

Labours as the junior coalition party seem to be the ones suffering from policies implemented as there voters do not seem to agree. Of course with their National Conference coming up they could manage to stake out their own course after that.

Sinn Fein hold on to their support level as they start their campaign against the Fiscal Compact Treaty. Independents and others are the ones who are down two points as can happen when a party gets a boost larger then 2 percentage points.

On the treaty referendum the poll found the following:

  • Yes 49% (+5)
  • No 33%(+4)
  • Undecided 18% (-9)

When the undecided’s are excluded it is

  • Yes 60%
  • No 40%

Which is no change from the polls earlier this month. The campaigns have yet to get under way, but with the undecided’s splitting evenly at the moment it might not be tight, but lets not get complacent!

The Race for the Aras

Presidential flag of Ireland.
Image via Wikipedia

This year sees one of the most hotly contested Presidential elections in years. With candidates declaring from all parties and none, it will be interesting to see who actually makes it on to the ballot paper. It is notoriously difficult to get a nomination as Dana found out in 2004 when she attempted to run against the current President Mary McAleese. To be nominated candidates need 20 Oireachtas members to nominate them or 4 city or county councils.

The Party Candidates:

Fine Gael and Labour have a number of candidates who have expressed interest in being their parties candidate in the Presidential election. Within Fianna Fail no one has expressed an interest yet and Sinn Fein have abandoned their plans have holding the presidency during the 1916 centenary.

For Fine Gael, Mairead McGuinness MEP is the only declared candidate while Sean Kelly MEP is widely known to have an interest in a run. With the withdrawal of John Bruton, my money would be on McGuinness being the Fine Gael candidate. This year Fine Gael will use an electoral college system to select their candidate with votes being distributed between the Parliamentary Party, Local Councillors and the Party Executive. Only those who turn up on the day of the Electoral College will have a vote, so location could play a major factor. Pat Cox has also been linked with a possible backing from Fine Gael, but I can’t see him getting widespread backing,

For Labour 3 names have emerged in the fight for their nomination. Former TD Michael D Higgins, former Chef De Cabinet and current Barnardos Chief Fergus Finlay and Former Senator Kathleen O’Meara. Michael D would traditionally have been the favourite among the Parliamentary Party but with the expanded party and many of Micheal D’s supporters having stood down at the last election, he may find it difficult. Kathleen O’Meara is a name that isnt well known, so I have doubts that Labour would pick her as their candidate. As childrens rights is major issue at the moment, and a referendum on it coming up, Fergus Finlay is in a prime poistion to get the nomination.

For Fianna Fail no one has official announced for the election. Current Ireland South MEP Brian Crowley has in the past been linked with the Presidency and he himself has said he is interested. A name mentioned in the past has also been Bertie Ahern, but I think that has been discounted as an idea for now. A number of Independents have also been linked to possible Fianna Fail backing, with maybe a number of Fianna Fail TD’s nominating along with Independent Oireachtas members to show they arent a Fianna Fail candidate.

The Independents

A number of independents have declared their interest in running. Senator David Norris of course is the most widely known candidate and has the backing of one council so far (As nominations aren’t open he hasn’t been nominated). He has also ran into a bit of trouble in relation to an interview he did back in 2002 for Magill has now emerged and could cause him damage.

Mary Davies the Special Olympics Organiser and Managing Director for EurAsia has also declared hher interest in running. She would be quite well known from her current role and could do well if she can get a nomination. She has been linked with a Fianna Fail in the past in realtion to being their candidate, but has decided to go the Independent root.

Sean Gallagher from Dragon’s Den has also decarled his interest in running for the Aras. Having been linked to Fianna Fail in the past and been mooted as a possible candidate in Louth. I think he has realised that running as a candidate with Fianna Fail backing would be a death knell at this point.

Pat Cox, who hasn’t offically announced, is sending out feelers to the possibility of a run. He has been linked with possible FG backing. He is a former PD/Independent MEP and is a former President of the European Parliament. He ran the Ireland for Europe Campaign during Lisbon II along with Brigid Laffin and recently advised Fine Gael in the run up to the election.

Who ever gets the nominations this will be a very interesting race. Candidates vary in their ability and their appeal, so I think we can expect a very interesting few weeks in October/November.

And we’re off!

It looks like campaigning for the Irish Presidency has gotten underway yesterday. Fergus Finlay has written to the Labour Party asking for its nomination. Bertie Ahern signalled on RTÉ Radio One that he is interested in the Aras.

Maman Poulet has the betting odds which are the ones to watch!

David Norris 5/2
Brian Crowley 11/4
Michael D Higgins 3/1
John Bruton 7/1
Fergus Finlay 10/1
Sean Kelly MEP 10/1
Bertie Ahern 14/1
Mary Davis 16/1
Mairead McGuinness 16/1
Mary White 18/1
Emily O’Reilly 20/1

I dont think I would vote for Bertie or Finlay as president. I wont be voting for Sean Kelly either if he gets the nomination!

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The Next Election

Irish President Mary McAleese's entourage
Image via Wikipedia

The next nationw-wide election we are due to have in Ireland is (barring a sudden General Election) is a Presidential Election. This is due at the latest October 2010 2011, but I have a feeling President Mary McAlees will finish out her term. To run for President you need to be a citizen of the states, over 35 and nominated in one of the following ways:

  • by 20 members of the Oireachtas
  • by four county or city councils
  • or if an incumbent or former president if you served one term, you can nominate yourself

Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, and Labour can each nominate on members of Oireachtas alone. There is a possibility of a Green/Ind candidate as they would have 21 members if they all backed one candidate.

Of course we hear many rumours about who will run and that, but here are what I have heard and a few predictions

Fianna Fail

There is no secret here that at Senator Mary White and MEP Brian Crowley both want the nomination. There is always talk of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern running but I don’t see him getting many votes outside of Dublin. I think Crowley will be the Fianna Fail Nominee.

Fine Gael

In contrast to Fianna Fail, the Fine Gael crowd dont seem to want to rock the boat. The names I have heard mentioned are Avril Doyle, Mairead McGuinness and Sean Kelly. All current or former MEP’s. I am not sure who the nominee could be. I’m thinking it could be Kelly vs McGuinness for the nomination.

Labour Party

Micheal D Higgins name normally features in these discussions, but age this time could work against him. Ruairi Quinn, who didnt get elected as Ceann Comhairle, could try and run for the presidency instead. Ivana Bacik also could be the nominee hoping to follow in Mary Robinsons footsteps. Of course Labour could try and get someone from the SDLP in the Noth to run, like Bríd Rogers. I’m putting my money on Bacik though.

Sinn Fein

As this term of office will include the centenary of 1916, Sinn Fein would love to hold the highest office in land. Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle Gildernew have all been mentioned as possible candidates. As there is a bit of rift in the party between North and South at the moment, the South might prefer to have Mary Lou as the nominee.

Green Party

Eamon Ryan wanted to run last time round, will he try to run again? Can’t really think of anyone else from the Green ranks.

Independents

Dana Rosemary Scanlon could try and run again for the Presidency. I wouldn’t put it past Kathy Sinnott to give it a run. David Norris probably wont run, but it would be great if he did. Mary Robinson could of course run again as she only served one term.

2010 2011 will be an interesting election. I wonder will I have gotten many right?

In the betting stakes according to Paddy Power, Bertie Ahern is favourite to be the Next Irish President at 2/1, he is followed by Brian Crowley at 4/1. Check out the rest!

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Some Contributions from the Third Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill

The Dáil resumed its Debate on the second reading of the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008. Some selected contributions.

Deputy John Perry (Fine Gael):

In resuming the debate on Second Stage of the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008 I reiterate my support for the provisions in the Lisbon reform treaty aimed at reinforcing the national parliamentary dimension in the European Union. In recognition of the growing importance of EU legislation and the need to hold the Government accountable for the negotiation of this legislation, the Oireachtas established the Joint Committee on European Scrutiny, the central task of which is to act as a watchdog, scrutinising all proposed EU legislation which, on average, amounts to more than 500 documents annually. It can decide to scrutinise in depth proposed EU legislation which it believes holds significant implications for Ireland.

The need to bring citizens closer to the decision making process has also been recognised by the European Commission which decided in 2006 to send all proposed EU legislation directly to the national parliaments at the same time as it is sent to governments and the European Parliament. The intention is to invite comments from national parliaments on proposals for EU legislation. The joint committee, through its scrutiny process, can prepare opinions on draft EU legislation. It, therefore, seeks to play its part in bridging the perceived divide between the citizen and their capacity to influence the EU decision-making process.

The work of the Joint Committee on European Scrutiny comes at a critical time as the country prepares to vote in a referendum to decide on the ratification of the Lisbon reform treaty. It is important to demonstrate efforts are being made both at national and EU level to listen to the citizens and respond to their concerns regarding the perceived lack of democratic accountability within the EU.

Any single national parliament will have the power to veto EU legislation in the field of family law. There is also a further safeguard whereby those national parliaments which submitted a negative opinion are free to bring an action against the Commission to the European Court of Justice on the grounds of an infringement of the subsidiarity principle. National parliaments would be represented by their governments in such proceedings.

An Taoiseach, Deputy Bertie Ahern (Fianna Fail):

We have the privilege of living in one of the most peaceful and prosperous regions of the world. It was not always that way and there is nothing written in stone saying it will always be. We have to work continuously to maintain and improve what we have and nobody with any sense believes we could have achieved what we have for our region by acting as individual member states. It would be foolish to believe we can sustain our shared success by pursuing it individually.

It is true this treaty does not contain a big ticket issue as others before it did. There is no Single European Act, no single currency to be launched on this occasion. Nor, in its structure, is it a thing of beauty. However, its focus on improving the functioning of the Union, rather than altering radically its area of competence, represents a level of maturity within a Union of 50 years standing. What we are doing now in Europe is getting our house in order; we are tending our tree.

In this regard, I see taxation features in the newspapers again today. Let me once again spell out the position: the treaty will change absolutely nothing here and decisions on taxation will continue to require the unanimous approval of all member states. Nothing could be clearer

When I signed the treaty on behalf of Ireland, I did so knowing that, as with the earlier constitutional treaty, we had achieved all our key goals during the negotiations. No country gets everything it wants in negotiations of this nature but we are extremely satisfied with a treaty which enables Europe to function much more effectively and efficiently and which does not adversely affect any of Ireland’s key interests.

Deputy Dan Neville (Fine Gael):

Ten or perhaps 20 years ago there were those who began to comment that there was a need to communicate with the people on what happened in the European Union and the benefits of membership thereof. Both the national parliament and the political system in general have failed to communicate this message to the public. However, some of the blame for this failure must be placed on the Union and its systems. In the next two months we will have an opportunity to debate the various issues involved. We have a duty to inform the people with regard to that in respect of which they are being asked to vote. We must ensure the treaty is passed in order to bring about a more effective and efficient Union and to allow it to develop in order that it might benefit all its citizens. We have had various communications with regard to criticisms of the treaty and the campaign to defeat it. Although we fully accept the right of people to campaign and express their views on the matter, some have introduced red herrings into the debate, which often cause confusion. I also experienced this in debates in Maastricht treaty referendum. I want to deal with some of these red herrings on which we have received information. Oireachtas Members have received documentation from several groups and individuals on the reasons we should vote “No”.

The treaty will not create a super-state, as has been claimed. It safeguards the sovereignty of Ireland and other EU countries. The “No” campaigners claim that the treaty is a grab for power by Brussels at the expense of the individual member states, including Ireland. In fact, the opposite is the case. The treaty sets out for the first time the European Union’s exact responsibilities and its limits in these areas. It outlines the parameters of the Union’s influence and decision making powers. There will be a clear division of powers in decision making and the influence of the Union over its members.

The previously rejected extension of the EU constitution has been discussed. We are told that the Lisbon treaty is the European constitution in another name and that a con-job is being perpetrated on the people by calling it the Lisbon treaty rather than the European constitution. The treaty is similar to the European constitution, but the elements that made that document a constitution rather than a treaty, including elements with which certain member states were uncomfortable, such as giving status to the EU flag, have been removed. We should vote on the substantive issues, not on the basis of words such as “treaty” and “constitution”. The European Union as a project is unprecedented and labels such as these do not do justice to the unique institutional arrangements put in place by the current 27 countries.

As other countries are not holding a referendum, it has been suggested we should use the opportunity to vote “No” to give these other countries a chance to have their say. That is one of the theories being peddled. We have our own Constitution that dictates that we must hold a referendum. No other European country has dictated to us that we should not hold a referendum or told us how to manage our affairs; therefore, why should we tell other sovereign nations how they should go about ratifying a treaty, whether it be an EU treaty or any other international treaty? How other countries decide whether they should sign up for the treaty cannot be dictated by Brussels or any other member state, including Ireland. This is basic international law and also common sense. It would be a dangerous precedent for us to try to dictate to other countries by insisting that they hold referendums. In fact, referendums are unconstitutional in some EU countries such as Germany where they were banned after being abused by Hitler in the 1930s.

We have seen posters of Deputy Creighton throughout the city implying that the treaty will force Ireland to join a European army, but this is absolutely not the case. The new arrangements for co-operation in the areas of security and defence fully respect the neutral position of Ireland and other member states. Ireland will not be subject to a mutual defence clause. European military activity is directed at peacekeeping and crisis intervention. Participation is the option of each member state and not obligatory. Since the 1950s we have been lauded throughout the world for our work with the United Nations. While we have and will continue to participate in peacekeeping missions, it will be on a case by case basis, subject to the triple lock principle, requiring the support of the Government, the Oireachtas and a United Nations mandate. Without these three criteria, the Army will not participate in any peacekeeping or crisis intervention duties.

The “No” campaigners have been forecasting the end of Irish neutrality for 36 years but they have always been wrong and still are on this occasion. There is a view that we should vote “No” to punish the Government’s poor level of performance. We agree that the Government has not performed well but we disagree with using a “No” vote to punish it in this respect. We are extremely concerned by the performance of the health service, about our inadequate education system, the mismanagement of the economy and crime. Coming from Limerick, I am very concerned about that issue, as are people from the mid-west and elsewhere. However, the people must not use these matters as excuses to vote “No” and punish the Government. That chance will come at the local and European elections next year. At that time they will be able to judge the Government’s policies, but to do so now would damage the country’s future role and influence in Europe. It would be the wrong thing to do. I will campaign actively in my area to ensure a “Yes” vote. We are having the first public meeting on this matter in Adare, in my constituency, on 21 April. The leader of Fine Gael, Deputy Kenny, will address the meeting.

Minister of State at the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform Deputy Conor Lenihan (Finna Fail):

This referendum is ample testament to the courage and dignity of the Taoiseach in his leadership of the country and Fianna Fáil. It is a benchmark of the singular importance of the referendum that he chose to put aside his own position and sacrifice himself politically in order that the referendum might be passed and that our national interests would be correctly served by a “Yes” vote. It is also a testament to the importance of the referendum and the treaty that the “Yes” vote for which I am calling is being echoed by the three major parties – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party. These three major parties command the hearts, minds and loyalties of the people when they go to the ballot box. It is important to note that these three major parties, which the electorate supported demonstrably in the recent election, are behind the treaty

The treaty will provide a voting system and administrative arrangements that will enhance the decision making process. Simultaneously, it carries the necessary changes and adaptations that will allow for democratic accountability, which is important.

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Deputy Michael Ahern (Fianna Fail):

Europe, including Ireland, cannot stand still, nor can we act alone. The world is becoming ever more interconnected and we need to exploit that interconnectedness to address new and emerging challenges, including globalisation, demographic shifts, climate change, the need for new sustainable energy sources and labour mobility. These are the issues facing Europe in the 21st century. Borders are meaningless in the face of such challenges and EU member states cannot meet them alone but, acting together, Europe can deliver results and respond to the concerns of its people.

Across Europe there is a consensus on the need to create a market for innovation and innovative ideas. The challenge for Europe is that competition for human resources in science and technology is now global. Europe is in direct competition with other major trading blocs for the best research resources. Researchers, for example, are moving more rapidly. We need to find ways to address these challenges.

Ireland supports openness and free trade. Our whole approach to globalisation is clearly linked to the improving competitiveness of the EU. This momentum must be maintained. The unambiguous connection between embracing globalisation and competitiveness, through national and EU programmes, must be maintained. The Lisbon reform treaty will provide the necessary cohesion to improve and drive our competitiveness.

The EU has played a critical role in the formation of our successful and vibrant economy. Yet, the benefits of EU membership go far beyond financial transfers. Almost no aspect of our public life has been untouched. The European Union has contributed to the modernisation of the Irish economy and society and the Union, under the Lisbon reform treaty, will continue to be a modernising influence in our move towards a knowledge economy.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins (Labour):

A “Yes” vote makes it possible for us to change the direction of Europe and defeat the Mandelson reductionist position and replace it with something that comes from the European tradition – a respect for intellectual life, values based on genuine humanity, respect for discourse, respect for diversity, respect for different models and hundreds of years of economic theory from Adam Smith through Marshall to Keynes that realised that the entire purpose of economic proposals was to serve a moral and social purpose. If we are living what I am saying, the case for a “Yes” vote need not be made in the context of illiteracy. It can be made from a standpoint of principle by social democrats and socialists who are anxious to develop a Europe that many future generations will respect as one that gave them a better prospect of intergenerational justice.

The Debate resumes later today.
—–
Source:
Parliamentary Debates (Offical Report) Dáil Debate Vol. 651 No. 2, Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Previous Posts:
Some Contributions from the Second Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill
Some Contributions from the First Day of Debate on the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill

Song: I Will Resign

To The Tune Of “I Will Survive”

Lyrics:

First I was afraid
I was petrified
Kept thinking Mahon would find out
About my takings on the side
And I spent so many nights
Thinking how I got it wrong
But I grew strong
When I learned how to play along

But then the banks
Those fecking guys
They went and showed the jaysis court
That I got cash from the UK
I shouldn’t have lodged that bloody sterling
I could’ve spent it on me holidays
If I had known for just one second
All the questions it would raise

So off I go, I’ll walk out the door
I’ll go to ground now
‘Cause I’m not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the ones who said it’s time to say goodbye?
Health service crumbled
Property market died

Oh no! Now I
I will resign
Now the shit has hit the fan
And the country’s in decline
I’ve done my share of theft
And no credibility left
So I’ll resign
I will resign

It took all the guile I had
To look the injured part
Keep trying to pretend
The public broke my heart
And I spend oh so many nights
Just looking sorry for myself
But I’m good at lyin’
Inside I’m laughing all the time

And you’ll soon see me
Somebody new
I’ll get my government pension
Hey I’m not done with screwing you
I know how to milk the state
I learned all yer tricks, Haughey
Now I’m saving all my backhanders
For an island off Kerry

Ho ho! Now I
I will resign
And I’ll get three hundred grand
Instead of doing any time
I’ve got an easy life to live
Two fucks I couldn’t give
About your cryin’
When I resign…

Latest Poll and the Bert

Well the Bert is down in the polls. hes down 5 points in the Sunday Independent telephone poll. woo!

Though FF/PD’s are up 2 points and FG/Lab are down 2 its still a long way to the elections. (Breakingnews)

And of course the government are dismissing this poll! what the hell like!!! (Breakingnews)

And the bert is helping himself he refused to answer questions on Friday in Youghal when they got too hard! The poor boy! (Irish Examiner)