Sunday 25 September 2016

Six things to expect this week: St Patrick's Day trips, Joan's future and what Gerry will do next

Published 28/02/2016 | 22:04

Enda Kenny in Castlebar. Picture; Gerry Mooney 27/2/16
Enda Kenny in Castlebar. Picture; Gerry Mooney 27/2/16
Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams,Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin

The counting is (almost) done and dusted - and the outcome is not very clear. Here are the six things we can expect to hear about in the week ahead

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* Cabinet meeting

The new Taoiseach Enda Kenny (front right) with his new top table during the first Cabinet meeting
The new Taoiseach Enda Kenny (front right) with his new top table during the first Cabinet meeting

The Cabinet are due to meet on Tuesday - this will include outgoing ministers James Reilly (Minister for Children) and Alex White (Minister for Communications). Both lost their seats over the weekend. The Cabinet will discuss how they will carry out their duties in a caretaker capacity as well as reassign Reilly and White's responsibilities. The caretaker role for the outgoing government is due to come to an end on March 10th when the Dail will meet and and the election of Taoiseach will take place.

However, if no Taoiseach is deemed elected, President Michael D Higgins can request the 'caretaker' period to be extended.

 

* We need to talk about Joan....

Labour Leader Joan Burton arriving at Phibblestown Community Hall in Dublin 15.
Pic Steve Humphreys
27th February 2016
Labour Leader Joan Burton arriving at Phibblestown Community Hall in Dublin 15. Pic Steve Humphreys 27th February 2016
'Joan Burton (pictured and Alan Kelly barely survived, but many senior Labour colleagues have suffered the same fate as the Progressive Democrats and Greens in earlier coalitions'

Publicly Labour Party members have been somewhat reticent talking about Joan Burton's future as leader of the Labour Party. Joan herself has said it is a matter for the party members and it is something that will be discussed after the final results are in, the caretaker role is over, and a new government has been elected.

However, it would be somewhat naive of us to think that Joan's future won't be discussed further in the days ahead and movement made ahead of a second election....

Sein Fein leader, Gerry Adams points the way at the RDS count centre. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 26/2/2016
Sein Fein leader, Gerry Adams points the way at the RDS count centre. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 26/2/2016
Sein Fein deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, Sein Fein leader, Gerry Adams and Denise Mitchell, candidate in Dublin bay north speak to journalists at the RDS count centre. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 26/2/2016
The gains for Sinn Féin have been considerable, but it has fallen far short of the 24pc approval ratings it was registering one year ago. Photo: Collins Dublin
Sein Fein leader, Gerry Adams with Denise Mitchell, candidate in Dublin bay north and clr, Larry O'Toole checking the voting numbers at the RDS count centre. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 26/2/2016

 

*... You read that right - a second election

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said earlier today he put his party on "continuous election standby" two days before polling took place last week. He said he told party members to remove all their election posters this weekend and put them into storage in preparation for a second election.

The prospect of a second election happening later this year is being discussed within all political parties - Fine Gael's Jimmy Deenihan said it to reporters after losing his seat in Kerry, and Labour's Joanna Tuffy said she will be putting her posters in storage in the event of an election happening soon.

Activists and reporters at count centres across the country were hearing the same thing - and May is being pitched as to the likely time it will happen.

 

Party leaders Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin
Party leaders Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin

* It's good to talk - Enda is going to have to reach out to Micheal

Once the final results are in, speculation about whom is talking to whom is going to reach fever pitch. Enda Kenny will have to reach out to Fianna Fail and have meaningful discussions. It's clear that neither party really want to go in together - but a deal can still be struck. This is politics and power after all.

 

* Expect Gerry Adams to do the same with the left

Gerry Adams has said his party are not prepared to be junior partners in a coalition with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail. He definitively ruled this out earlier on while at the RDS.

He also refused to comment on whether he would put himself forward as a nominee for taoiseach. However, his deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said yesterday that the party would be putting Adams forward.

Adams did say that if they have the numbers with Right 2 Change and other candidates, they will make a meaningful attempt to form a government. Expect to hear speculation over the coming days about Gerry's conversations.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama (right) and Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny speak to reporters after their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington on March 17, 2015. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Barack Obama (right) and Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny speak to reporters after their meeting in the Oval Office as part of a St. Patrick's Day visit at the White House in Washington on March 17, 2015. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Barack Obama checks his watch during the visit with Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny on St. Patrick's Day at the White House (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

* What are we going to do about St Patrick's Day trips?

For years, successive governments have dispatched ministers to locations across the globe for St Patrick's Day celebrations. The trips are often criticised - but the government always say these trips are central to the promotion of our brand abroad and attracting investment.

The election of taoiseach is due to take place on March 10th - seven days before St Patrick's Day and not much time to organise who goes where. If they are going to go ahead, we think the 'caretaker' government will have to look after it.

It's also unclear at this stage as to whether St Patrick's Day festivities will take place in the White House - if we have no elected government in place, then President Barack Obama might opt not to go ahead with it.

 

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