I’m working on an article for The Citizen at the moment, on the general theme of ‘Is Fianna Fáil Dead?’
It’s more of a reflective piece on the development of the party since its inception 85 years ago this week, and on the contradictions between its position as a populist party with a strong working-class base, yet one that is funded by and directed towards the interests of the bankers, stockbrokers and property speculators who make up the core of Ireland’s indigenous business class.
The 2008 banking crisis brought those contradictions to a head. The party was faced with the dilemma of choosing sides – it couldn’t protect both the State’s citizens and the speculators – and so it went for the latter, and got wiped out in the polls as a result.
Yet the scale of the collapse which Fianna Fáil suffered in the 2011 election is dramatic to say the least.
Here are some figures I’ve been playing around with.
It topped the poll in only one constituency – Cork South Central – and returned more than one candidate in only two constituencies: Cork South Central and Laoighis-Offaly.
Almost 1.7 million voters in 25 constituencies have no Fianna Fáil representation in the Dáil. This accounts for around 53 per cent of the electorate.
In Dublin, however, the party has only one seat. It means that 92 per cent of voters in the capital have no Fianna Fáil representation in the Dáil.
This really is incredible. The scale of the meltdown is unprecedented. It cannot be explained purely in terms of the 2008 banking crisis. The rot set in years before.
And because of that, the ability of the party to bounce back is undermined by the same deep-rooted problems which pushed Fianna Fáil into free-fall.
How will it fund its fight-back now that the moneyed classes have left it for Fine Gael and Labour? what favours can it possibly offer when it’s all but certain that Micheal Martin will never be Taoiseach?
Having spent years ignoring its grassroots in favour of paying millions to advisers and image consultants, what is there to rally that doesn’t have a bus-pass?
Latest posts by Conor McCabe (see all)
- Ireland and the Shadow Banking System - November 7, 2013
- Financialization, Housing and Dublin: Protest Outside Arthur Cox - October 18, 2013
- Explaining the Double Irish with a Map and a Pile of Euro Coins - June 18, 2013
- Tax Haven Ireland : 70 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay - June 18, 2013
- Padriac White and the Establishment of the IFSC - April 8, 2013