Wednesday 22 November 2017

Independents are backbone of Government - but ungrateful voters look set to ditch them

Communications Minister Denis Naughten. Photo: Tom Burke
Communications Minister Denis Naughten. Photo: Tom Burke
Mandy Johnston

Mandy Johnston

The result of last year's General Election saw more independent representatives elected to Dáil Éireann than at any other time in the history of the State. Exhausted by austerity and political tumult, the Irish electorate punished most mainstream parties and it quickly became clear that Independent TDs would be a crucial part of the make-up of the next administration.

Headline writers gleaned much mirth from juxtaposing the irony that in our centenary year of independence, it would be Independent TDs, and not the established Civil War parties, who would provide the fulcrum of power.

Politically speaking, no one covered themselves in glory in the aftermath of the election. Cobbling together the current Government configuration became a painstaking, 70-day-long protracted negotiation process. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil slugged it out to decide who wouldn't pay for water.

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