The European Liberal, Democratic and Reform Party have today launched an individual membership system for the European party. Now you no longer need to be a member of a National Party to be a member of the ELDR.
for €25 a year you can become an associate member and you will get the following benefits:
An Associate membership card,
Home delivery of the quarterly ELDR newspaper,
The ELDR electronic newsletter.
Personalised invitations for selected events.
Furthermore, associate members will be able to participate and be a candidate in online elections that will select the delegate(s) representing associate members at the yearly ELDR Congress.
“Direct participation is all about nourishing the quality of future democracy. And with this initiative ELDR would like to add flesh to the bones to what was introduced in 1992 by the Maastricht Treaty: the European citizenship” commented Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, President of the ELDR Party.
“Associate Membership for individuals – Neyts-Uyttebroeck added – is a sign of support to the European liberal values of freedom and individual responsibility, democracy and the rule of law, respect for human rights and tolerance”.
Of course to be a member you cannot be a member of any national political party that itself belongs to any other European political party other than the ELDR Party.
This is an interesting idea from the ELDR. It will do two things for them. One create a possible cash flow and secondly create a a grouping that will work for them outside of the framework of the national parties. I wonder will other European parties follow their lead.
One of the interesting parts of elections is trying to figure out who will replace outgoing TD’s as this represents the minimum number of new TD’s that will enter the Dáil this year. 39 new TD’s are guaranteed to be elected during this General Election Campaign.
Fianna Fáil has the highest number of retirees with 21 TD’s stepping down including some high profile names like Brian Cowen. Fine Gael have 8 TD’s stepping down and strangely in two constituencies, both TD’s are standing down. They are in Galway and Cork South West where the party will be running a new panel of candidates.
Labour have 4 TD’s stepping down, including Micheal D Higgins who wants to run for the Presidency. Sinn Fein have one TD stepping down, and that is Arthur Morgan and Gerry Adams (Baron??) will be attempting to hold that seat. Two independents will also be stepping down.
There are three vacant seats in the Dáil due to the resignations of George Lee (Fine Gael – Dublin South), Martin Cullen (Fianna Fáil – Waterford) and Dr James McDaid (Fianna Fáil – Donegal North-East).
There is a poll in tomorrows Sunday Business Post by Red C. The topline figures are as follows:
Fianna Fail 18 (-6),
Fine Gael 32 (+1),
Labour 27 (+4),
Sinn Fein 9 (-1),
Green 4 (+1),
Independent 10 (+1)
Last months polls are here. Fine Gael have gained back one point of support and Labour have recovered the four points of support they lost last month. Fianna Fail are back down, after stalling last month at 24.
Going by these figures, Fianna Fail will be wiped out at the next election and it will be a Fine Gael and Labour Coalition and they will be very close on seats leading to some interesting constituency campaigns!
UPDATE: Policalreform.ie have a seat analysis using the numbers from the poll and its has the parties on FF 32, FG 64, LAB 50, GP 0, SF 7, OTH 13. It would be an interesting Dáil!
Irish Minister for Europe, Dick Roche, has been re-elected as one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Liberal Democratic and Reform Party at its recent congress in Helsinki. He was originally elected last November at the ELDR’s congress in Barcelona.
He was elected with 67% of the vote. The other Vice Presidents Elected were Graham Watson, of the UK Liberal Democrats, former leader of the ALDE grouping of the European Parliament and Vesna Pusic of the Croatian People’s Party – Liberal Democrats (HNS-LD). Vesna is the Parliamentry Floor leader of the HNS-LD.
Enda Kenny yesterday announced his list of Deputy spokespersons. They are as follows:
Special Responsibilities Name
Food & Fisheries Shane McEntee TD
CAP Reform Noel Coonan TD
Forestry Tom Sheahan TD
Telecommunications Michael D’Arcy TD
Competition and Consumer Olivia Mitchell TD
Gaeltacht Dinny McGinley TD
Lifelong Learning Ulick Burke TD
& School Transport
Enterprise & Employment Kieran O’Donnell TD
Local & Community Development James Bannon TD
Housing Terence Flanagan TD
Public Expenditure Brian Hayes TD
Banking & Credit Damien English TD
European Affairs Michael Creed TD
Human Rights/ODA Pat Breen TD
Irish Diaspora Paul Connaughton TD
Primary Care & Disability Denis Naughten TD
Mental Health Dan Neville TD
Immigration, Integration Lucinda Creighton TD
Pension & Welfare Reform Billy Timmins TD
Road Safety Tom Hayes TD
Sport John O’Mahony TD
Assistant Whip (and Juvenile Joe Carey TD
North-South Cooperation Joe McHugh TD
It is good to see Dan Neville staying with Mental Health because his is doing amazing work in that area. It is interesting to see that Lucinda Creighton stays a spokesperson, moving to Immigration, but she will be missed in European Affairs! Michael Creed takes over on European Affairs, that one worries me slightly, I have never really heard him talk about Europe. Noel Coonan has been appointed spokesperson on CAP Reform which shows that FG is taking it seriously. Paul Connaughton gets Irish Diaspora, which is a bit of strange one to me.
So tonight we get the third poll in a week! This one if from the Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI. The headline figures are as follows:
Fianna Fail: 24+3.
Fine Gael 24-3.
Sinn Fein 8-2.
Others 9 nc.
In terms of leaders its:
Gilmore 49 +3.
This is compared with last Sundays Sunday Business Post/Red C Poll:
Fine Gael 31 (-2)
Fianna Fail 24,(nc)
Labour 23 (-4)
SinnFein 10 (+2)
Green 3 (+1)
Others 9 (+3)
You then have to compare it also to last weeks TV3/Milward Brown poll which had these results:
Fianna Fail: 22
Fine Gael: 30
Sinn Fein: 4
As you can see from the three polls, the only thing they agree on its Fianna Fail support in the 22-24% area. The Polls also agree on the level of support for the Green Party who seem to be stuck in the margin of error with support of around 2-3%.
Fine Gael vary from 24% in Ipsos MORI to 33% with Red C. Labour also vary from 23% in the Red C poll to 35% in the Milward Brown Poll. Sinn Fein’s support also varies but not as much. They are on 4% according to Milward Brown but on 10% according to Red C.
We can only assume that the actual figures are in between those results.
Red C is often seen by political activists (well the ones I have met) as being the one that is most accurate. Going by the results of the other two polls I am not sure if I go along with that theory.
To me all these polls show is that there is a lot of votes out there to be fought for. At the moment Labour are doing a better job of getting them, will that change as the Dáil session gets underway? The next set of polls should let us know that.
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!