Friday 9 December 2016

The centre still holds - so FF should make hay

More than half of Irish voters place themselves in the centre - putting FF in a strong position, says Eoin O'Malley

Eoin O'Malley

Published 13/03/2016 | 02:30

Fresh start: The newly elected Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail of Fianna Fail addresses the chamber during the first sitting of the 32nd Dail, which took place last week. Photo: Maxwells
Fresh start: The newly elected Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail of Fianna Fail addresses the chamber during the first sitting of the 32nd Dail, which took place last week. Photo: Maxwells

Some elections are easy to read. In 2011 there was a clear rejection of Fianna Fail. Fine Gael and Labour were in a lucky position to benefit from that rejection. Other elections are harder to interpret. This election was one of them, and the failure to elect a new government on Thursday confirms that. This did not stop many in the Dail - and many commentators - claiming with great certainty that election 2016 was a victory for their own pet position.

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It was variously described as a victory for social democracy, a victory for pro-lifers, a victory for women, a victory for the water charges protests, a victory for the radical left; it was a victory for whatever you're having yourself.

But just because election results aren't clear doesn't mean some conclusions can't be drawn: It was a rejection of the government, and in the RTE exit poll there was some consensus that the Government made a mistake in focusing more on tax cuts than restoring public services.

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