How to manage a minority – the rules of engagement

As Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil edge closer to a deal on minority government the members of the 32nd Dáil are attempting to get their heads around how such an arrangement would work in practice. If agreed, the Framework Document will set out in detail the ground rules for how the government and the opposition must behave in order to allow this new political reality to function. It will require a massive shift in political culture. Our politicians have been …

Eventually, a government will emerge

Back in 2007, when I was a Political Correspondent for RTÉ News, my then six year old daughter made a poster to put up in the kitchen on the day of the General Election count. “Hurrah,” it said, “the election is over!” It was clear what she was thinking – trips to the playground! Going swimming! Maybe even ice-cream! It had been a long campaign. But as I looked at it, I was thinking that while the count might be …

The hat-trick – three EPP prime ministers struggle in post-bailout elections

So it’s a hat trick – three in a row. First Portugal, then Spain, now Ireland. Three post-bailout countries went to the polls over the past five months. All were led by prime ministers from the European Peoples Party (EPP), the mainstream conservative block in Europe. All three emerged from their elections as the biggest party in parliament. None of them could put together a new government. And nor could the opposition (with the heavily qualified exception of Portugal – …

#GE16 – The first real social media election here

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent The votes have been cast, tallied and counted (well almost). The party enumerations, machinations and recriminations are underway. In the coming weeks, when the dust has settled, the candidates and parties will be reflecting on what went right, and in many cases wrong, with their campaigns. As part of that post mortem they will no doubt ponder what role was played by social media, who used it to maximum value and what could …

Protracted political hiatus means bigger borrowing cost

Despite the inconclusive result of the General Election, Ireland’s borrowing costs remain very low at 0.8%. It is not surprising there has been little movement, because it frequently takes some weeks for the markets to digest an evolving situation. There are some reasons to believe that Ireland will be able to avoid ruffling the feathers of investors for some weeks – as long as a stable solid administration is formed. The main political parties stated in their manifestos that they …

Anything for Gov.

When they start using the wisdom of Meat Loaf, you know the campaign has taken its toll on politicians. With the spectre of a hung Dáil looming, a candidate told me this week that politicians will do anything to avoid a second general election. Does that include doing deals with sworn enemies I asked. ‘We’ll do anything to avoid another campaign, but we won’t do that’ was the emphatic reply and the nod was duly given to the Meat Loaf …

Burton fighting hard to weather storm

Joan Burton arrived in Shellybanks Educate Together National  School  in bright sunshine. Her smile was as sunny as the morning. By her side Kevin Humphreys looked chilled,  shooting the breeze with the dwindling number of reporters still turning up for these carefully choreographed press events. They perched awkwardly on little yellow chairs to chat with the senior infants who beamed when the Tánaiste told them she had heard they were ‘the best senior infant class in the whole world’ while …

General Election: How do the parties differ on housing?

Many politicians are on the receiving end of difficult questions from potential home buyers and those paying high-standard variable mortgages. Overhauled lending rules have made it more difficult to buy a home – although that is the price of a stable banking system, according to the Central Bank. The main political parties have made promises to property owners and first-time buyers. RTÉ Business Editor David Murphy takes a look at some of them. Fianna Fáil Fianna Fáil is proposing to give potential …

Limerick Leaders

I went wrong three times trying to find the hotel in Limerick where we would be staying on Monday night after the leaders’ debate. I could see the building I was trying to reach, but it took two spins around the roundabout and one wrong turn before I got there. It’s true to my form when I have lots on my mind – something has to give and in this instance it was my navigation skills. Having eventually checked in …

Bishop: voters should support candidates who support life

The Catholic Bishop of Elphin has said he finds it very difficult to see how any Catholic could, in good conscience, vote for a candidate or a political party whose policy it is to legalise abortion. In a pre-election statement, Bishop Kevin Doran recalls that, in 2013, the current Government introduced a law permitting direct abortion in certain circumstances. Writing from Sligo where he is based, Dr Doran says some political parties and individual candidates “have made no secret of …