Epochal election results from Ireland. This from today’s Irish Times.
FIANNA FÁIL has suffered the worst defeat in its history, and Irish politics will never be the same again. How a Government that has taken such a drubbing can continue to govern and take the decisions necessary to restore the economy to health is now the critical issue facing the political system.
The decision of Fine Gael to table a motion of no confidence in the Government was the obvious move, given its historic breakthrough as the biggest party in the country. More importantly, it is an attempt to focus minds on the profound implications of the election results.
Probably the most striking symbol of the reversal suffered by Fianna Fáil was the fate of Maurice Ahern, brother of the former Taoiseach, who was beaten into a humiliating fifth place in the Dublin Central byelection with just 12 per cent of the first preference vote.
Just two years after Bertie Ahern led Fianna Fáil to an amazing three-in-a-row general election victorysh Times, his inability to deliver even a modestly respectable vote for his brother showed how the mighty have fallen. To rub salt into the wound, Maurice Ahern lost his city council seat to party colleague Mary Fitzpatrick, who had been so cruelly stitched up by the Ahern machine two years ago.
My sister sent me this lovely Death Announcement:
“Fianna Fail. The Soldiers of Disaster (formerly the Soldiers of Destiny*), 1926-2009. Savaged to death at local and European elections. Deeply regretted by builders, developers, bankers and cowboys everywhere.** Remains reposing in large tent on Galway Racecourse. Funeral Mass in Church of St Bertie the Chancer. Burial afterwards in the Golden Circle Cemetery. No flowers, please. Brown envelopes only!”
* Fianna Fail is the Irish for soldiers of destiny
** Fianna Fail was once memorably described as “the political wing of the construction industry”.