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Irish By-Election results

by Frank Schnittger Sun Dec 1st, 2019 at 12:17:10 PM EST

Fine Gael, the Irish ruling government party, has just lost all four by-elections held to fill the seats of Dail members who resigned on winning seats in the European Parliament last June - making its already flimsy Dail majority even more precarious.

To be fair, it was defending only one of those seats, with the others previously held by Fianna Fail, Independent and Socialist TDs (Teachta Dála, or members of parliament). Governments rarely win mid-term by-elections in Ireland, with opposition party supporters more likely to turn out in low-turnout elections.

Fine Gael's problems were not helped by the widespread expectation that a General Election will be held by May in any case, which makes the election of TDs for a few months somewhat pointless, for many electors.

But their cause also wasn't helped by one of their candidates trying to raise the immigration dog-whistle, by claiming that the children of asylum seekers as young as 3 or 4 could be indoctrinated by ISIS ideology.

But their biggest problem is the ongoing crisis of accommodation in Ireland, with private rents soaring and too few new houses being built to meet the demands of a rising population.

The absence of public housing development and the reliance on private sector developers to meet market demand will probably be the biggest issue in the general election - together with the now seemingly eternal crisis in childcare and healthcare provision.

Hence my letter to the Editor

A Chara,
Fine Gael badly needs to review its candidate selection strategy with the electorate (or at least those that could be bothered to show up) adopting an "anybody but Fine Gael" attitude.

Only in Dublin West did the ruling party candidate, Emer Higgins, even come close to winning, while old-timers James O'Reilly and Colm Burke couldn't even make it to the final count. Meanwhile Wexford voters preferred the candidates of Fianna Fail and the ailing Labour party to xenophobia marketeer, Verona Murphy.

Fine Gael likes to present itself as a progressive party while pursuing the most right wing economic policies of any major party in Ireland and aligning itself with conservative forces throughout Europe. It will suffer the declining fate of centre right parties in Europe if it cannot find and select some more progressive and inclusive candidates who will address the real issues of the younger generation, in particular, affordable and accessible housing, child and healthcare.

The older, neo-liberal, market led, laissez-faire attitude to the provision of essential services and housing will no longer cut it. Either the Fine Gael government starts to address those problems directly, or it will be forced to vacate the stage to those that will.

Do you think Leo Varadkar understands the problem of economic conservatism in the face of obvious unmet social needs?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Dec 1st, 2019 at 04:21:43 PM EST
I suspect he thinks market mechanisms are more efficient than bureaucratic ones in allocating scarce resources, but if so he must be perplexed at how slow "the market" has been to respond to rising rents and house prices to increase supply.

Building industry capacity has been rising slowly from a low base but is still no where near "Celtic Tiger" peak levels of house production when Iro was building 90K new house P.a. at a time the whole of the UK was only producing 170K.

Independent economist estimate Ireland needs c. 35K new houses p.a. to replace old stock and provide for a rising population and last tme I checked we're not quite there yet and there is quite a backlog of unmet demand to be provided for.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 1st, 2019 at 07:29:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A too slow response could cost him his job, but at least he could cling to his ideology.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 2nd, 2019 at 02:48:07 AM EST
On my way to London ... staying a fortnight near London Bridge ... no problem ... in The Hague we had two security scares ... there are survivors 😉

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Mon Dec 2nd, 2019 at 02:56:25 PM EST

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