Thursday 21 September 2017

Fine Gael's awkward truth: it's a rabbit in the headlights and will end up as electoral roadkill

Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Fine Gael (left) with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin
Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Fine Gael (left) with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin
Ivan Yates

Ivan Yates

The problem with sleepwalking is that you don't realise you're doing it until you crash into something solid. Fine Gael is sleepwalking. What is the party's strategy for the next general election? It has none. When Fianna Fáil pulls the plug on propping up the current feckless, fragile administration, Fine Gael will have so luxuriated in the moment of continued government that it will blind itself to obvious looming dangers of electoral disaster.

Talk to your average Fine Gael TD or senator about their life and prospects for 2017, and this is what you'll hear: 'Things are grand at the moment; the wipe-out of last election is forgotten; Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan (with unrivalled experience) are steady hands on the tiller of Brexit turmoil; Fianna Fáil doesn't want an election for the foreseeable future; new ministers (eg, Michael Creed and Eoghan Murphy) need time to gain experience by having their feet under the table; even if Shane Ross or John Halligan fall out of bed, there's lots of other Independents like Stephen Donnelly to take their place; why rock the boat just when things have settled down?; a leadership heave will only undermine my job security.'

This complacent denial ignores the impending brutal electoral realities.

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