The first weekend of the campaign
A short update, following another long day in the pre-campaign phase. The fall-out from the RedC opinion poll published in today’s Sunday Business Post has filled that portion of the political media space not occupied by David McWilliams and Fintan O’Toole’s decisions not to put their money whether their mouths are stand for election.
For the Greens the poll was a blow, no doubt about it. We never expected to be coasting into the campaign with high numbers, but we will have to at least double our current percentage to be in with a shot of holding our six seats and breaking through into Louth, Galway and Cork.
The result isn’t much good for any of the parties, least of all Labour; the vaunted Gilmore gale has apparently run out of puff. But what is certain is that the unedifying FF-driven collapse of the Government has irked the public. The passage of the Finance Bill, while finally realising the Green Party’s long-held aim of reaching consensus amongst the political parties, and living up to the expectations of the ECB and IMF, has hardly helped to improve the mood of the electorate.
Dan Boyle was obviously onto something when he said in the Seanad on Friday that:
“We can describe the Finance Bill 2011 as probably the longest death wish in Irish political history. Unlike previous Finance Acts that were passed before the 2002 and 2007 elections, this is hardly an election Bill.“
While all of the green TDs and senators were out on the doors on Saturday, Eamon Ryan’s team were putting the final touches to his campaign launch, which was held in the Mill Theatre in Dundrum on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking to a crowd of nearly 200, which included babies, mothers and fathers, general election candidates both confirmed and putative, wives, members of the Dublin South Greens, members of the media and John Gormley, Eamon talked for 40 minutes in front of a projected image of a globe. There were all sorts of cameras and video recording devices going, so I’ll link into that when it goes online, but for the moment, there are also some photos and (an abridged) version of his speech.
Dealing with the poll, Eamon said:
"The Greens have always been fighting for the last seat, but now the stakes are much higher. This election there is a possibility that there will not be a green party in the Dail for the first time in two decades. We will be asking people: do you want to elect a second Labour TD, a second Fine Gael TD, or a Fianna Fail TD – or do you want to keep green ideas alive in our Parliament?
"The campaign is about to start and we will be doing everything we can to get out our ideas about renewing Ireland both on the doors and on the airwaves. It is clear that we have a huge amount of work to do over the next four weeks to keep the Greens in the next Dail.”
One of the journalists there was Harry McGee from the Irish Times, who writes about the launch here - Green Party may be left with no TDs, says Ryan.
Let's hope that possibility doesn't pan out.