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« on: August 23, 2007, 12:11:49 pm »
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Decided that it would be good to have a thread on Irish politics. There aren't really enough major stories to merit a stream of threads, but the continuous and occasional can certainly sustain one (I hope), so let's see how it goes.



Anyway, today's big story is the surprise resignation of Labour party leader, Pat Rabbitte. Though a contest was probably to be expected when his leadership would have had to come up for a vote at next years party conference, this move was not anticipated. The party's performance in the election, though around the usual return for Labour, fell below expectations and it was immediately clear that there was significant dissatisfaction within elements of the party with the electoral strategy (i.e. the alliance with Fine Gael).

Deputy Leader Liz McManus will now act as leader until the leadership election which is (*I think*) currently timetabled for 8 weeks away. McManus will be an obvious contender, as will a few others. At this stage though, I'd imagine Eamon Gilmore is probably best placed. More as and when...

Irish Times piece; RTÉ story
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2007, 03:51:56 am »
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Whooaaahhh.... First I heard about this. You leave the country for a few weeks and the sh**t hits the fan.

Michael D for the leadership! Smiley

(Or Tommy Broughan, now that would be an interesting choice.)
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2007, 02:21:48 pm »
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Whooaaahhh.... First I heard about this.

Jas...first for breaking news!

Michael D for the leadership! Smiley

(Or Tommy Broughan, now that would be an interesting choice.)

Interesting would be the right word, alright Smiley

Anyhoo, as of yet, nobody has declared themselves officially in the race.
Three members though have declared an interest though...

Eamon Gilmore (Dún Laoighaire)
The early front-runner. Formerly-Democratic Left; formerly formerly Worker's Party; formerly formerly formerly associated with Official Sinn Féin. Was active in student politics - ex-President of my old college's Student Union and ex-President of the Union of Students of Ireland. Worked for a trade union (SIPTU) prior to becoming a TD in 1989. He has a safe seat in Dún Laoighaire. He was a Junior Minister during the Rainbow government (FG; Lab; DemLeft, 1994-97). Unsuccessfully contested for the Labour leadership in 2002 against Rabbitte.

Joan Burton (Dublin W)
An ex-lecturer, she was first elected in the 'Spring Tide' of 1992 (Labour's best ever election). An Old Labour (in the Irish as opp. UK sense) member, she was a Junior Minister during the Rainbow but lost her seat to Socialist Party candidate Joe Higgins in 1997. She was re-elected in 2002 and was a leadership candidate then also. Put in a very creditable performance, but obviously wasn't enough. Dublin West will amost certainly get an extra seat next time out, making her seat a safe one.

Tommy Broughan (Dublin NE)
Brougham is an ex-teacher and was also elected during the 1992 Spring Tide, Dublin NE representing a particularly remarkable 2 gains for Labour. His seat is not as safe as the previous two, but it would be a bad election for the party in this sort of seat disappeared for them. He has been strongly critical of the Labour election pact with FG - very openly so on election night. Not likely to get very far in a leadership contest. One pundit today suggested he'd do well to get someone to second his nomination.

Plenty of other potential candidates out there, even with a Dáil team of 20. (Liz McManus; Jan O'Sullivan; Brendan Howlin... ) Still a game of wait and see, the party executive will be meeting next Saturday. By then, we should have a clearer picture of who the contenders will be. It's likely that a new leader won't be in place until October.
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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2007, 01:22:20 pm »
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In the race for the Labour leadership, Eamon Gilmore formally announced his candidacy this morning. He is the strong favourite to win, especially following the announcement of former leadership hopeful Brendan Howlin (Lab-Wexford) that he would not be running.

We also have the first person who has officially entered the race for the Deputy Leadership position - Jan O'Sullivan (Lab-Limerick E).



In other news, a Sinn Féin town and county councillor based in Wexford, Jimmy Fleming, has announced that he's leaving the party for Fianna Fáil. This sort of move, i.e. defecting from one party to another, is actually very unusual in Irish politics -where the norm for persons leaving a party is usually to sit as an Independent, which is more viable politically here than in many other places. It is particularly unusual in that it is a Sinn Féin defection, and a Sinn Féin defection in the South, and further a SF defection to Fianna Fáil. It's as yet unclear what the reason for the move is.
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2007, 12:27:05 pm »
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It looks like Eamonn Gilmore... Gully = not happy, Thinks labour should try someone from that uncivilized backwater outside the pale. Or Tommy Broughan, someone who actually bring something new. Gilmore = Rabbite Part Deux. At least Burton and McManus have the "OMG A WOMAN!11!1" factor
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« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2007, 01:59:07 pm »
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It looks like Eamonn Gilmore... Gully = not happy, Thinks labour should try someone from that uncivilized backwater outside the pale.

The problem there being that Labour don't really have that many from outside the Pale and those that are aren't really suitable.

Or Tommy Broughan, someone who actually bring something new.

Something new, yes. For some reason, I'd be inclined to think that Brougham leadership would potentially result in very bad results for the party.

Gilmore is originally from the West so that might help.

Gilmore = Rabbite Part Deux.

True.
They have remarkably similar backgorunds. Both born in the West, involved in student politics in Galway and nationally, involved in the unions, ex-Workers Party and Democratic Left.

At least Burton and McManus have the "OMG A WOMAN!11!1" factor

Yeah, but listening to either of them makes me very uncomfortable and I've never been able to put a finger on why exactly that is.
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« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2007, 07:16:50 pm »
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I agree that Broughan would not do too well... he's way too North Dublin for any real success, but to be honest all I see is a field of mediocre in front of me.. Remember the most successful Labour leader ever was based in Kerry North, another Dublin Southite is not what the labour party needs. How about a long shot..... Brian O'Shea? Jack Wall (well.. outside Dublin)? Or actually coming to think of, Willie Penrose would be a good-ish choice.

Burton is too much like Teacher who thinks you have to speak at a rather simple level and constantly rehash the same point before it goes in - a point which often doesn't lead anywhere at all. Actually that's the problem with Irish politics... too many damn Teachers and lawyers. And Fianna Fail, obviously. And kids in Celtic hoodies who write up the 'Ra on walls, And the "Tiocfaidh ar la" crowd, and the Craggy Islanders and the Corruption and the Pariochalism, Localism and so on...
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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2007, 02:41:02 pm »
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Since last post Eamonn Gilmore (Lab; Dun Laoghaire) has been elected leader of the labour party in a non-contest. ;(

So thats yet another failure for the Labour party come 2012.. I can't really see what Gilmore brings to the table outside of Dun Laoghaire and Dublin South where I imagine they might gain seats from the Greens depending on how things turn out (Here in DS labour would have probably won a seat if not for the disaster which was running two candidates). Again consolidating Labour's image as a "Dublin" Party.

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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2007, 02:46:16 pm »
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He has said that they will fight the next election as an independent party not allying with anyone else and set the rather ambitious target of 30 seats.

Interesting that in England, Scotland, and now Ireland, the respective Labour parties have all changed leaders in non-contests. Rhodri Morgan and Mark Durkan watch out!
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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2007, 02:50:35 pm »
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He has said that they will fight the next election as an independent party not allying with anyone else and set the rather ambitious target of 30 seats.


... Which is five years away (even If the greens decide to catipulate Bertie still has enough of a majority; thus my ever growing conspiracy theory towards why the Greens are in goverment - Scape goats for new Enviormental taxes to be levied due to an increasing deficit - which is due to the decline in the Housing market.)

Of course what do Labour plan to do after 2012 even if they get 30 seats? I assume now Gilmore is going to take a "wait and see" approach. And It's hard to see where Labour could pick up an extra 10 - perhaps a barrier on 5 at most - and that is if no-one retires.
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« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2007, 03:11:28 pm »
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He has said that they will fight the next election as an independent party not allying with anyone else and set the rather ambitious target of 30 seats.


... Which is five years away (even If the greens decide to catipulate Bertie still has enough of a majority; thus my ever growing conspiracy theory towards why the Greens are in goverment - Scape goats for new Enviormental taxes to be levied due to an increasing deficit - which is due to the decline in the Housing market.)

Woah, woah, woah. No need to start talking about deficits. The Budget has been in surplus for about 10 years now, hasn't it? Though it's shrank considerably, I don't think we're likely to see a serious deficit issue unless there's a serious change in out economic fortunes in the near future.

The slowing housing market is certainly a huge concern but even with the Greens in government I don't think we'll see environmental taxes really being used to prop up the exchequer. Not yet anyway. Incentivisation is likely to remain the focus of envisonmental taxes for years to come.

I also think that Bertie took on the Greens because their demands were so low and they proved easy to dominate in the government formation negotiations, while the benefits of adding their 6 seats to the government total add hugely to  government stability and in effect his own safety as Taoiseach for years.

Of course what do Labour plan to do after 2012 even if they get 30 seats?

If you ask me, the same thing that Spring should have done in 1992. Force a FF-FG coalition and sit as opposition leader for 5 years heading into the next election.

I assume now Gilmore is going to take a "wait and see" approach. And It's hard to see where Labour could pick up an extra 10 - perhaps a barrier on 5 at most - and that is if no-one retires.

I think high 20s is doable, on a good day. Especially if we see the Green vote dissipate. Will also depend on how SF perform.

Their problem is getting the right candidates. The party is aging very fast and there is a real dearth of young electable talent.

30 seats is a big ask and Gilmore is no Dick Spring, but maybe...just maybe, if circumstances are right...
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« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2007, 03:14:25 pm »
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Interesting that in England, Scotland, and now Ireland, the respective Labour parties have all changed leaders in non-contests. Rhodri Morgan and Mark Durkan watch out!

It would be very surprising if there's no contest when Morgan retires (most likely in 2009). Rumoured candidates include:

Carwyn Jones (Bridgend)
Andrew Davies (Swansea West)
Edwina Hart  (Gower)
Huw Lewis (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Leighton Andrews (Rhondda)
Jane Davidson (Pontypridd)

It'd be very surprising if Lewis and Andrews both run, ditto some of the other "candidates".
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« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2007, 05:52:10 pm »
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Interesting that in England, Scotland, and now Ireland, the respective Labour parties have all changed leaders in non-contests. Rhodri Morgan and Mark Durkan watch out!

It would be very surprising if there's no contest when Morgan retires (most likely in 2009). Rumoured candidates include:

Carwyn Jones (Bridgend)
Andrew Davies (Swansea West)
Edwina Hart  (Gower)
Huw Lewis (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Leighton Andrews (Rhondda)
Jane Davidson (Pontypridd)

It'd be very surprising if Lewis and Andrews both run, ditto some of the other "candidates".

You had to ruin the Atmosphere, man....

In my mini-Conspiracy theory I should have also said "and make Fianna Fail an excuse to weasel out of their promise to cut the top rate of Income tax" but hey it's not like Fianna Fail to make Sh*t up in their manifesto, now is it? (Yes, Yes, I know all parties do it, but FF have a peculiar history..)

I'm still amazed that Dick Spring didn't decide to go for the FG + DL option immediatly, hell both Lab + DL got over 40 seats in that election. Now together they're only on 20... (and there are very few actual gains, a second seat in Wicklow, Dun Laoghaire - maybe, a seat in Dublin South, both Tipperary's, Kerry and Louth... Possible in level of likelyhood. They will probably lose Galway West if Michael D retires and Waterford if Brian O'Shea does likewise...)
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« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2007, 07:09:37 am »
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In my mini-Conspiracy theory I should have also said "and make Fianna Fail an excuse to weasel out of their promise to cut the top rate of Income tax" but hey it's not like Fianna Fail to make Sh*t up in their manifesto, now is it? (Yes, Yes, I know all parties do it, but FF have a peculiar history..)

More plausible ground here. Though I'll also agree that FF need no help in backing out of electoral promises.

I'm still amazed that Dick Spring didn't decide to go for the FG + DL option immediatly, hell both Lab + DL got over 40 seats in that election. Now together they're only on 20... (and there are very few actual gains, a second seat in Wicklow, Dun Laoghaire - maybe, a seat in Dublin South, both Tipperary's, Kerry and Louth... Possible in level of likelyhood. They will probably lose Galway West if Michael D retires and Waterford if Brian O'Shea does likewise...)

Yeah, the list of Labour targets make a sorry picture.

IMO, these are the most likely in order...

1st Tier
1. Dublin South Central: Byrne came very close against Ó Snodaigh.
2. Dublin North: Should be able to pick up anti-establishment Green votes
3. Meath West: Hannigan should be able to give this another good shot next time from his Senate seat. Shouldn't take a great deal to unseat FF here.

2nd Tier
4. Kerry North: O'Brien fell apart but there is a Labour vote here obviously.
5. Tipperary South: Probably dependent on Healy not running.
6. Dublin South: Would need a single strong candidate and would be dependent major gains into Ryan's support.

3rd Tier
7. Kerry South: Would be and should be doable except that O'Donoghue is now CC.

The 'We Live in Hope' Category
Wicklow; Carlow-Kilkenny; Dublin North Central; Louth; Dún Laoighaire; Tipperary North

There are leftist votes in all of them. But Labour would have to get lucky in terms of circumstances, candidates and other factors to pick off any of them next time out.
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« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2007, 07:28:34 am »
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Kerry is likely to be merged into one five-seat constituency and Louth is to gain a seat iirc. But the big problem for Labour here is that alot of their traditional vote has gone to SF. In Kerry also alot of that vote seemed to be personal; so what hope labour without Dick Spring or the Moyninhans?

Look at 1992 and where Labour gained, not just in the particular obvious places but Clare, Laois-Offaly, Sligo-Leitrim, Two seats in Dublin North East (Both gains).. they lost all but one of those (Broughan's seat in DNE) in 1997 and have never came close to getting them back, and almost certainly have no chance now.

Of course you are correct that alot of Labour's vote depend on how well the Greens do in Goverment (or rather; how well they do in Goverment in regards to satisfying their 'base'.)
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« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2007, 12:51:09 pm »
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Kerry is likely to be merged into one five-seat constituency and Louth is to gain a seat iirc.

Ah, true, I didn't consider any boundary changes there. Yes, those changes are definite possibiles, I wouldn't put it past the Commission though to retain two 3 seaters based in Kerry (probably by working in some of Limerick into the equation). They have an unnatural love of 3-seaters... Angry

But the big problem for Labour here is that alot of their traditional vote has gone to SF. In Kerry also alot of that vote seemed to be personal; so what hope labour without Dick Spring or the Moyninhans?

Yeah, not great. Ferris has done well in Kerry North, but a crucial point for Labour next time out will be how SF on the whole perform. Have SF peaked? Or was this election a temporary blip on their path to more seats?

Look at 1992 and where Labour gained, not just in the particular obvious places but Clare, Laois-Offaly, Sligo-Leitrim, Two seats in Dublin North East (Both gains).. they lost all but one of those (Broughan's seat in DNE) in 1997 and have never came close to getting them back, and almost certainly have no chance now.

Yep, but then nobody expected them to gain those seats in 1992, not even the Labour party themselves. You would have gotten fantastic odds on a Labour gain in Clare even on election day in 1992.

Of course you are correct that alot of Labour's vote depend on how well the Greens do in Goverment (or rather; how well they do in Goverment in regards to satisfying their 'base'.)

Yep, I think Labour's challenge will be to try and dominate all shades of the left. They need to eat into Green votes, SF votes as well as those ultra soft leftists who have voted with FF recently. Not an easy task though.
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« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2007, 03:41:41 pm »
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Sadly all we can say is wait and see (for another five years... Sad  ). The Greens may turn out to a success after all; or maybe they will get more transfers from FF but lose their labour-FG transfers.. who knows?

And yes there should be more five seaters. Especially in North Dublin which at times seems to be completely gerrymandered to benefit FF (and to a lesser extent; FG - who always do badly there, at least in recent election). Oh, and bring back six seaters too - One Donegal constituency, and one Roscommon-Sligo-Leitrim constituency would be good.
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« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2007, 10:21:54 am »
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Why don't you guys abolish gerrymandering?
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« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2007, 05:39:47 pm »
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Why don't you guys abolish gerrymandering?

Electoral constituencies are multi-member and decided upon by an independent panel. While these facts don't necessarily preclude the possibility of gerrymandering occuring, they do reduce it's likelihood and potential effectiveness. I wouldn't accept that gerrymandering (as practised in the US) is actually happening here.
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« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2007, 06:17:23 pm »
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Why don't you guys abolish gerrymandering?

Electoral constituencies are multi-member and decided upon by an independent panel. While these facts don't necessarily preclude the possibility of gerrymandering occuring, they do reduce it's likelihood and potential effectiveness. I wouldn't accept that gerrymandering (as practised in the US) is actually happening here.

Thus the "seems to be" in my original post. (Though you have to admit that alot of the current districts benefit FF, especially at SF's expense funnily enough.)
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« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2007, 06:30:16 pm »
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Why don't you guys abolish gerrymandering?

Electoral constituencies are multi-member and decided upon by an independent panel. While these facts don't necessarily preclude the possibility of gerrymandering occuring, they do reduce it's likelihood and potential effectiveness. I wouldn't accept that gerrymandering (as practised in the US) is actually happening here.

Thus the "seems to be" in my original post. (Though you have to admit that alot of the current districts benefit FF, especially at SF's expense funnily enough.)

Not so sure.

It would probably have taken a concerted effort at gerrymandering to increase the number of Dublin SF TDs on the last election numbers while still working with mainly 3-seater constituencies. Plus, II'd imagine it very difficult work gerrymandering Dublin to either the benefit or detriment of FF simply redrawing constituencies without actually changing the actual size of the seats (i.e. more 3 or 5 seaters or whatever).
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« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2007, 06:39:35 pm »
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Why don't you guys abolish gerrymandering?

Electoral constituencies are multi-member and decided upon by an independent panel. While these facts don't necessarily preclude the possibility of gerrymandering occuring, they do reduce it's likelihood and potential effectiveness. I wouldn't accept that gerrymandering (as practised in the US) is actually happening here.

Thus the "seems to be" in my original post. (Though you have to admit that alot of the current districts benefit FF, especially at SF's expense funnily enough.)

Not so sure.

It would probably have taken a concerted effort at gerrymandering to increase the number of Dublin SF TDs on the last election numbers while still working with mainly 3-seater constituencies. Plus, II'd imagine it very difficult work gerrymandering Dublin to either the benefit or detriment of FF simply redrawing constituencies without actually changing the actual size of the seats (i.e. more 3 or 5 seaters or whatever).

By my comment I was referring to the fact that in as far as North Dublin is concerned, the commission love of three seaters is screwing SF over (not that I actually thinks a bad thing in a results way; the process is bad though, obviously) - this may change as the commission is looking into uniting Dublin North Central and Dublin North East into a 5 seater 'Dublin East', with some of DNE being broken off to join Dublin North, which would then become 5 seats aswell. There is definetly one SF quota in "Dublin East". And if the constituency commission brought back six seaters than SF would odds on to gain at least one if not two in Donegal and possibly one in a united Sligo-Roscommon-Leitrim constituency. There is also a significant SF vote in Dublin North West and Dublin Central, with great SF potential in Dublin West (Though I suspect that Joe Higgins takes alot of their votes; but I cannae be sure of that) - Turn the Northside map from about 6-7 three\four seaters into a couple of five seaters and you'd get a couple of SF seats.

Most southside (well, south Eastside) constituencies that are five seaters would NEVER elect a Sinn Fein candidate, including my own.
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« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2007, 06:52:37 pm »
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By my comment I was referring to the fact that in as far as North Dublin is concerned, the commission love of three seaters is screwing SF over (not that I actually thinks a bad thing in a results way; the process is bad though, obviously) - this may change as the commission is looking into uniting Dublin North Central and Dublin North East into a 5 seater 'Dublin East', with some of DNE being broken off to join Dublin North, which would then become 5 seats aswell. There is definetly one SF quota in "Dublin East". And if the constituency commission brought back six seaters than SF would odds on to gain at least one if not two in Donegal and possibly one in a united Sligo-Roscommon-Leitrim constituency. There is also a significant SF vote in Dublin North West and Dublin Central, with great SF potential in Dublin West (Though I suspect that Joe Higgins takes alot of their votes; but I cannae be sure of that) - Turn the Northside map from about 6-7 three\four seaters into a couple of five seaters and you'd get a couple of SF seats.

Most southside (well, south Eastside) constituencies that are five seaters would NEVER elected a Sinn Fein candidate, including my own.

Yep, true.

It is though unfortunately beyond the powers of the commission to play with anything other than 3, 4 or 5-seaters.
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« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2007, 07:01:15 pm »
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By my comment I was referring to the fact that in as far as North Dublin is concerned, the commission love of three seaters is screwing SF over (not that I actually thinks a bad thing in a results way; the process is bad though, obviously) - this may change as the commission is looking into uniting Dublin North Central and Dublin North East into a 5 seater 'Dublin East', with some of DNE being broken off to join Dublin North, which would then become 5 seats aswell. There is definetly one SF quota in "Dublin East". And if the constituency commission brought back six seaters than SF would odds on to gain at least one if not two in Donegal and possibly one in a united Sligo-Roscommon-Leitrim constituency. There is also a significant SF vote in Dublin North West and Dublin Central, with great SF potential in Dublin West (Though I suspect that Joe Higgins takes alot of their votes; but I cannae be sure of that) - Turn the Northside map from about 6-7 three\four seaters into a couple of five seaters and you'd get a couple of SF seats.

Most southside (well, south Eastside) constituencies that are five seaters would NEVER elected a Sinn Fein candidate, including my own.

Yep, true.

It is though unfortunately beyond the powers of the commission to play with anything other than 3, 4 or 5-seaters.

Really? Must have been misinformed. Sad - I wonder when that was made into law (Tullymander? - though it seems to be alot earlier?) in the early days of the state there were eight seat constituencies in places like Dublin North. With PR-STV we don't need such a decentralized system as we have in the present.
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Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'

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« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2007, 07:10:14 pm »
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Really? Must have been misinformed. Sad - I wonder when that was made into law (Tullymander? - though it seems to be alot earlier?) in the early days of the state there were eight seat constituencies in places like Dublin North. With PR-STV we don't need such a decentralized system as we have in the present.

It's actually a legislative requirement, though for the life of me I can't think which Act it is at the moment. Will have to look up some stuff.

The record BTW is a 9-seater, which was Galway from the 4th to the 8th Dáil.
Since the 13th Dáil, all constituencies have been either 3,4 or 5-seaters.
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Funny 'cause it's true:
Very few people seriously allow facts to affect their opinions.

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