Thursday, May 10, 2007


Party Profile - Fianna Fáil

Before I begin I'd like to tell this short story. I initially wrote this post out yesterday evening but Internet Explorer shut down on me, the result being I ended up losing the whole damn thing. Oh well, these things happen.

So anyway I sat down a few hours ago and figured, 'What the hell I'll write it out again' and lo and behold, I lost the damn thing again. That's right folks, I lost the same bloody post. TWICE.

I'm starting to wonder if Bertie Ahern has got some securocrats on my case because he doesn't like me talking about him. Anyway I just thought I'd share all that with you because when you read this post it will be the third draft and it has me feeling mightily PISSED OFF. (sigh) OK I feel better after that whinge. Alright then let's try this one more time...

This is the first in a series of posts I have decided to write on the General Election (didn't plan on doing this many admittedly) which will take a look at all the main parties fighting for votes. I think it might prove particularly interesting for readers outside these shores who might not be too familiar with the groups involved. As well as that it will give me a chance to go into detail with my thoughts on the lot of 'em. So then, let's begin by taking a look at Fianna Fáil.


Fianna Fáil, in English meaning the 'Soldiers of Destiny', are the largest political party in Ireland. They are currently in power in the Republic alongside their junior coalition partners the Progressive Democrats. They are led by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Party origins

The party traces its roots back to the huge split which occurred in Irish politics over the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which paved the way for the Irish Free State and which ultimately led to the Irish Civil War. Having initially refused to accept the legitimacy of the Free State, Eamon de Valera realised the public were willing to give it a chance and so he attempted to persuade Sinn Féin to abandon its policy of abstentionism and to take up seats in the Dáil. Sinn Féin refused and so in 1926 de Valera resigned from the party. Thus Fianna Fáil was born.

raison d'être

The party's chief goals upon its inception were the reunification of the country and the restoration of the language. While the party claims to feel strongly about both issues to this day, in truth the party has become more focused on the bread-and-butter issues of Irish politics.

Traditional outlook

The party has traditionally counted upon support from the working class community and has proven popular in both rural and urban parts of the country. The party has historically had quite a conservative outlook.

Notable achievements

Under de Valera the party transformed Ireland from a Dominion state into a republic in all but name. Under his leadership the country also managed to make it through the Second World War relatively unscathed.

The Lemass era opened Ireland up to Free Trade politics and moved it away from relying upon a protectionist agricultural policy (although Protectionism had initially been Fianna Fáil policy to begin with)

Fianna Fail has also presided over the Celtic Tiger boom which has resulted in the most prosperous years of the Irish state's existence.

Under Reynolds and Ahern the party was also involved substantially in advancing the peace process in the north of Ireland.

Present policies

Hmm, gangsterism? Well their election manifesto has been titled "The Next Steps" so I'll let them explain in their own words:

"Ireland has achieved an incredible amount in the last 10 years and the NEXT STEPS are all about protecting our success and your future."

I find this quite funny actually because when you look at it closely it almost sounds like a threat. Protect their success? Protect your future? I'm a little concerned. Seriously though it seems their campaign will centre around economic issues which is smart because economically the country has done well under them. The first paragraphs of their manifesto highlight the emphasis they are placing on their economic record:

"Fianna Fáil in government has led the transformation of Ireland's economy. We have moved from being a high-unemployment, high-tax and low public investment country to having the lowest unemployment, lowest taxes on workers and highest rate of public investment in Europe.

"We reject the shallow ideologies of right and left, believing that a strong economy, the promotion of individual enterprise and increasing investment in public services are fundamentally-linked objectives. The record of the last ten years shows that this approach works."

Given that the Taoiseach has had to answer questions on his own finances, it will be interesting to see how the financial debates pan out over the next fortnight.

My thoughts

I like the ideology of Fianna Fáil a great deal and I have spoken many times on United Irelander about my admiration for Eamon de Valera. I also have respect for later Fianna Fáil Prime Ministers who followed such as Sean Lemass and Jack Lynch. Sadly, the corrupt years of Charles Haughey (the man de Valera remarked would ruin the party) and several corrupt Ministers have brought shame on this once proud party.

I reckon De Valera must be spinning in his grave at the behaviour of these chancers. Bertie Ahern is now facing big questions about his own finances and I must say I don't trust the man one bit. There is a culture of corruption in the party now.
It's rife.

I am also sick and tired of the broken promises offered by FF (remember that new national stadium we were promised last time?) and I'm angry at the Ireland I see around me. Every week I read reports of stabbings and shootings and it's becoming apparent that the current shower are losing the battle on crime. Add to that the health crisis and people being left on trolleys or sent home when they shouldn't be and you've got one great big mess. A mess I don't think Fianna Fáil can clean up.

So to summarise, will Fianna Fáil be getting my vote? Not a chance. As far as I'm concerned the 'Next Steps' they can take are the steps leading out of Dáil Eireann!


Current polls have Fianna Fáil and the PDs neck and neck right now with Fine Gael and Labour. This election will be very close indeed. I've read a lot of predictions on how many seats each party will take. To achieve an overall majority a party needs 84 seats. That won't happen this time around we can say with a fair degree of certainty. Last time Fianna Fáil managed 81 seats and the Progressive Democrats made up the rest.

I hope to go into greater detail on seat tallies at a later date but my prediction is that Fianna Fáil will lose a lot of seats this time and from my own calculations I have them taking just 68 seats which would be a loss of 13. Now I'll concede there might be quite a bit of wishful thinking there on my part but we'll see how things go.

I do think the time is ripe to send Fianna Fáil a message and I hope the electorate do precisely that later this month. This party has needed a wake-up call for a long, long time now and I for one will be giving it to them at the ballot box.

The steps are that way, boys...


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