Irish election thread

A thread for discussion of the Irish election, results from which should be through shortly. Commenter Oakeshott Country has passed on an exit poll which bears out expectations of an apocalyptic result for the ruling Fianna Fail party:

From Dublin:
An exit poll of 1200 nation wide – NOT RTE’s
Official Counting starts in 2 hours
Finn Gael – 29%
Labour – 22%
Sinn Fein – 15%
Fianna Fail – 11%
Ind – 10%
Green – 3%

The election is for Ireland’s lower house of parliament; its unelected upper house has only weak powers, similar to the House of Lords. Ireland’s head of state is an elected president whose functions are largely ceremonial – an election for this position will be held in October. The electoral system for Ireland’s lower house is similar to that for Australia’s Senate and most state upper houses. However, the country is broken up into regions which variously elect between three and five members, so while the system is a kind of proportional representation, it is difficult for small parties to win seats.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

149 comments on “Irish election thread”

  1. I know this is a modified form of Hare-Clarke, albeit with quotas less than 10K, but it seems crazy to me that only 1/3 of the results are available 48hrs after the polls closed. Apparently 50m euros was spent trying to introduce electronic voting 5 years ago but this was abandoned.

    I agree about Labour’s best hope being a majority FG government. I am sure the greens have been obliterated because they were part of the last government.

  2. Federal Labor in Australia might be interested in this one.

    ndrewSB49 RT @ElaineByrne: Story of #ge11 for Labour is not how well they did but that they reclaimed rural roots. Not just urban party. McNamara in Clare is big win. 38 seconds ago · reply

  3. Dail procedures enable the formation of coalitions in opposition. On current trends it is possible for SF/Socialists/Left independents/PBP to have more TDs than FF – Gerry Adams as LOTO?

  4. Thank you to all those that provided answers yesterday on the relevant standings of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. I particularly like the comment on Fianna Fail being like the “DLP with rifles”. Sums it all up.

  5. With reference to the PR system used for the election to the Dail.

    The PR system that we now use for the election – introduced in 1948 – was because Arthur Calwell was impressed with the Irish system. He also believed that it would give the ALP a permanent majority in the senate!

  6. Here’s “the only left wing property developer in the world outside of North Korea”, who topped the poll in Wexford:

    What makes his election is even more remarkable is that his “football” background is that of a “foreign game” ie not of the Gaelic variety.

    Then there is his penchant for wearing pink shirts.

    However Wexford has traditionally been a slight oddity – a big (5 member) largely rural constituency which returned Labour’s Corish family members for many years. at the top of the poll.

  7. The PR system that we now use for the election – introduced in 1948 – was because Arthur Calwell was impressed with the Irish system. He also believed that it would give the ALP a permanent majority in the senate!

    The great virtue of the method used for Dáil Éireann elections is that the number of TDs elected generally closely reflects the percentage of the vote gained. The prime example of this is how the Tullymander of 1977 was overcome by FF.

  8. The thrashing of FF is no less than they deserved after the way they handled the GFC in Ireland. Sadly though, the rest of the population will wake up tomorrow with a new government but still a large old debt. They are still broke. For this reason, I don’t think FG can count on a resurgence any time soon. The years it will take Ireland to recover will be a painful reminder for people.

    I liked this quote on the BBC website:
    [Fianna Fail’s defeat is like the aftermath of an earthquake except in an earthquake there are only innocent victims.]

  9. I don’t think FF should have all the blame for this – controlling a boom requires the control of the public’s baser characteristics.

    In the end we have found that the “Celtic Tiger” was really just Mick spending other people’s money

  10. What happens with over-quota in Ireland? Do they not distribute or are results simply showing what counts are now, with fully distributed recounts later?

  11. Over quota’s are distributed – but in general only those from the last parcel of votes that got the candidate over the quota. However my understanding is that this is done by a sampling method rather than recounting all the votes and creating a Gregory fraction.

  12. It has been said at previous elections that SF are preference averse – they don’t get a lot of 2nd preferences. As a result their % of seats is usually a lot less than the % of votes. This has not occurred this time and they have picked up a few seats on preferences. I think there are a couple of explanations.
    1. Their recent past history is being forgiven/forgotten and they are becoming respectable
    2. Its a case of anyone but FF in preferencing
    As FF have double the number of SFs votes but almost the same number of seats I think it is the 2nd.

  13. No chance that Irish Labour would forgo the opportunity of joining a coalition as a minor player with those to their right, I guess? Sounds like this is about as good as it has it got for them in recent times at least?

    So how similar are Irish “Labour” to the thing we call Australian “Labor” today? What about the other parties. A rose is a rose is a rose, but so is an apple after all.

  14. [The thrashing of FF is no less than they deserved after the way they handled the GFC in Ireland. Sadly though, the rest of the population will wake up tomorrow with a new government but still a large old debt. ]

    Would the Irish crash have happened anyway if it hadn’t been for the GFC, Soc? The Irish rise was something that I must confess i saw as a very fine thing, and the subsequent crash really saddens me. Not every country had as much of a chance to handle the GFC in the way Australia did given our position in the world as a massive raw material supplier coupled with our role as fairly high tech (though dumbed down by the Howard era, of course) western nation. I very much doubt that Ireland had much show at all when it came to strong Asian markets to keep ’em buoyant, for example. If we hadn’t had such things ourselves, we would be a lot worse off than we are now, I suspect.

    In reality, could any Irish government have done much to soften the blow given the circumstances?

  15. Their 20% of the vote is about the best they have ever got. They have been the whores of Irish politics in the past – extracting concessions and cabinet seats with whichever of the major parties needed them. In the mid 90s they were in coalition with FF until there was a major paedophile scandal involving priests and a government cover-up and they changed sides and the government.

    I think they are only slightly left – the real left: Socialist Party/Workers’ Party/SF/etc seems to have gradually increased their influence in the last few elections but I doubt if they would have anything to do with Labour and vice-versa.

  16. richieml @benmcredmond yes there r 2 methods of vote dist.the gregory method is exact(abandoned comp system),method in use more arbitrary #ge11 #dunl 42 seconds ago · reply

  17. It’s not just Pollbludgers…

    New technology to allow addicts get closer than ever before to the action as it unfolds

    I BECAME a politics and current affairs junkie at a very young age and ever since election count weekends have been my ultimate high.

    My first such memory was sitting for hours in front of a black-and-white television in June 1977 watching a grainy picture…

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2011/0226/1224290924463.html

  18. [Talk about the fighting Irish, check out this condemnation of Twiddle dumb Twiddle Dee politics.]

    Be nice to see some commentary as feisty as that about aspects of Australian politics at times, steve!

  19. [Talk about the fighting Irish, check out this condemnation of Twiddle dumb Twiddle Dee politics.]

    Be nice to see some commentary as feisty as that about aspects of Australian politics at times, steve!

  20. According to the ‘logic’ of the last few ‘commentators’ and that infamous self-important dingbat Gene Kerrigan, the failure of communism was because of……. Mussolini and Attila The Hun

  21. The female result.

    marloft RT @Claire_McGing: Only 3 women elected in 3-seaters, 14 in 4 and 6 in 5. 45% success rate for women running in 4-seaters, yet just 13% in 3 & 19% in 4. #ge11 53 seconds ago · reply

  22. Rod
    [Would the Irish crash have happened anyway if it hadn’t been for the GFC, Soc?

    In reality, could any Irish government have done much to soften the blow given the circumstances?]
    I am afraid I am a harsher marker of FF on both these respects. Every country in Europe has suffered under the GFC. But some have suffered more than others, and some governments have inflicted far more pain/austerity on people than others. FF scores badly on both measures.

    The Irish economy grew rapidly in the 1990s without becoming a debt-laden banking scam. That came in the post-2000 decade. It was hard to defend and, as I have mentioned from other sources I linked to previously, occurred under a government with serious conflicts and links to the banking industry. Make no mistake, some of what happened in Ireland involved fraud, not just fallout from the GFC.

  23. Final result (pending recount for 1 seat in Galway West
    FG 76 Primary 36.1%
    Lab 37 19.4%
    FF 20 17.4%
    SF 14 9.9%
    Soc 2 1.2%
    PBP 2 1.0%
    Ind 15 12.6%
    Gre 0 1.8%

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