Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Presidential election 2011

Labour landslide takes 

Presidency and wins 

Dublin West By-Election!

O’Higgins elected with over

1,000,000 votes!

Fianna Fáil lose only seat 

in Greater Dublin:

Presidential election turns on trust and statesmanship:

Labour Presidential candidate Michael D. O’Higgins swept to victory in last Thursday’s
Presidential election in Ireland scoring the highest ever individual vote for the office and a historic highest ever margin over other candidates since the office was established in the 1937
Constitution, Bunreacht Na hÉireann. Mr O’Higgins final count total was 1,007,104 and second placed Mr SeánGallagher’s was 628,114.

Mr O’Higgins (70) arrived at the count centre at Dublin Castle with his wife Sabina before the first count was announced. ''I'm very happy. I'm happy with the vote and the support," he said. "I'm very glad that it is so decisive, that the transfers also indicate that it will enable me to be a president for all of the people. I pay tribute to the other candidates for their very long, hard campaign, and they had many good ideas which I will incorporate.''

The President-elect returned in triumph to his home base in Galway city on Saturday where thousands of supporters and citizens turned out to welcome the new First Citizen in the city’s renowned Eyre Square. President-elect O'Higgins made another of his inspiring and cogent speeches promising to use his office to present a clear alternative to the philosophy of greed and selfish individualism which beset the so-called “Celtic Tiger” and brought the country to
financial ruin.

More than 5,000 people had gathered since early afternoon at Eyre Square to welcome back the 9th Irish President to his home city. He told the cheering crowd that he was unable to personally thank the one million-plus who had voted for him, but he was deeply grateful for their support. "I am delighted to be back home in Galway, the place I first came to as a 19-year-old in 1960 ... it's here where my heart is and will forever be," he said.

"I want to say a very sincere thank you for this welcome home - it is a wonderful welcome home. It is the place to where I return and where I will always return because it is of Galway that I am.
"I say to all of you that when I take my oath of office I will do my absolute best to use all of my abilities for all of the people of Ireland. "These abilities have been greatly enhanced by my time in Galway. I love Galway, this great city." He added: "I think that the important thing now for us is to have a celebration and then, with determination, to move into our common shared different future”.

"I hope that at the end of the seven years, people will say that I have been of some inspirational value to them at home in terms of inclusiveness and abroad, I look forward to representing Ireland."  The President-elect said he would shortly visit the Irish in Britain as he had done every year and promised to be their president also.

The sweeping support gained by Mr O’Higgins in all constituencies across the country was due to his qualities as a statesman and his long-time stance as an activist politician who stood for social justice, equality, and fairness and integrity in public life as epitomised by no other candidate in the election. He led in the opinion polls from the start of campaigning and the apparent rise of the “unofficial” Fianna Fáil candidate, Seán Gallagher proved a will o’ the wisp when eventually exposed to withering public scrutiny in the last week of the election.

Labour takes Dublin West, last bastion of Fianna Fáil in the Dublin area:

In a spectacular bonus on top of the presidential victory for Michael D. O’Higgins, Labour councilor Patrick Nulty achieved another  historic victory for the party by winning the Dublin West by-election and  depriving Fianna Fáil of its only seat in the Dublin area since the meltdown of the general election in March this year. Nulty’s final count reached 17,636 almost 6,000 ahead of Fianna Fáil candidate, David McGuinness at 11,590. The seat was the only one held by FF in the capital by former finance Minister, Brian Lenihan whose death from cancer created the vacancy. The strong showing of Socialist Party candidate, Ruth Coppinger, showed the growing strength of the left vote in Dublin and gave no room for complacency in the Labour Party.

The result was a further humiliation for Fianna Fáil, which dominated Irish government for 80 years, but is now a tired and demoralised rump in Dáil Éireann squabbling amongst themselves.

 Subterfuge and deceit backfire on Fianna Fáil

Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, who replaced Brian Cowen before this year’s general election in which the party’s ranks were devastated,, opposed attempts by the party backwoods to nominate a party candidate for President and rebuffed all attempts to do so. The FF banner was then attached to so-called “independent” candidate, Seán Gallagher, a businessman of quite arrogant demeanour who had acquired a “celeb” profile on television as one of the “Dragon’s Den” panel of business men assessing would-be entrepreneurs projects in RTÉ’s imitation of similar “reality” shows on British and US television.

Gallagher’s attempts to position himself in the “independent” Camp of Four at first seemed to bring success in the polls but, then crumbled and reversed under sustained media questioning which showed his deep roots in Fianna Fáil as the party’s youth leader for two years in the 1980’s; close associations with corrupt FF leader Charles J. Haughey and finally on the Monday before the election when Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuiness launched a cruise missile in his direction on the RTÉ Frontline presidential candidates debate, that he had collected a cheque for the party for €5,000 from convicted smuggler Hugh Morgan in County Louth. The disclosures over his ties to Fianna Fáil, culminating in the revelations initiated by McGuinness, prompted a big swing back to Mr O'Higgins, who ran a relatively low-profile but steady campaign.The results show Mr Gallagher failed to recover from the scandals that broke after a series of polls that at two weeks to go had given him a 15 point lead over Mr O'Higgins.

Mr Gallagher, who arrived at the results centre with his wife, Trish O'Connor, said Mr O'Higgins will have his full support as president. “He has given a lifetime of service to this country, and I know he will be an outstanding president,” Mr Gallagher said. Asked if he blamed Mr McGuinness – who had raised  the questions about his involvement in Fianna Fáil fundraising activities earlier in the week - for his drop from top of opinion polls to second in the vote, Mr Gallagher said: “Tonight is not a night for blame.” Drowning of sorrows no doubt followed in the nearest bar. A striking resemblance to "Lex Luthor" villainous enemy of "Superman" in movies and comic books didn't help either!


Martin McGuinness  finished third in the  presidential elections behind  
Michael D. O' Higgins and Sean Gallagher. Mr McGuinness, who stepped down as Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister to run, secured a huge boost for THE party by topping the poll in the Donegal North-East constituency.

Gerry Adams, the Sinn Féin party president, said the support would bring politics in Northern Ireland and the Republic closer. "I think what we have done is to narrow the gap between politics in the north and the south," Mr Adams said. Mr McGuinness phoned Mr O'Higgins to offer congratulations. "He will make a fine president and I wish him well for his seven years in the Áras," the Sinn Féin candidate said. "I am delighted with the strong vote I have received. My message of positive leadership, patriotism and commitment clearly was resonating with tens of thousands of ordinary Irish people. I believe that Irish people do want a new type of politics and a new Republic based upon equality and respect."

Sinn Féin vice president Mary Lou McDonald said Mr McGuinness's campaign had succeeded in raising issues that were important to Sinn Fein and broke new ground for the party. "For Sinn Féin this is a milestone election," she said. "There was a time - and it's not so long ago - when republicans would have been considered almost a marginal voice in southern politics and today we changed that. "Ms McDonald denied that the furore over Mr McGuinness's IRA past would damage the party in the Republic, noting that his chief critic, Fine Gael's Gay Mitchell, had polled poorly.

Sinn Féin and McGuinness managed to deflect the media inspired campaign to undermine his candidacy by constant dredging up of his participation in the IRA Provos bombing campaign in Northern Ireland 1969-94, and most damaging as far as a southern electorate was concerned, the murder of Limerick Garda, Jerry McCabe, in 1996 during an IRA Provo armed robbery. Despite this and the production of several aggrieved relatives of victims of IRA murders over the entire years of strife in Northern Ireland, Mc Guinness still managed to hold third place overall and top the poll in Donegal North-East constituency. Sinn Féin will be hoping that they have exorcised some of the ghosts of past troubles during this campaign and that it was worthwhile entering this contest in the Republic.

President Gay or Gay President?

The fight for fourth place was fought out by leading gay activist in Ireland, Senator David Norris, Joycean scholar and raconteur, and Gay Mitchell, candidate of Fine Gael, the major party in the current coalition government with Labour established after the general election in March this year.

Mitchell was selected 0n 09/07/11 as Fine Gael's candidate for the presidential election race. Amid internal party strife and backstabbing as the leadership tried to parachute former EU Parliament President and  ideologue Pat Cox of now defunct Progressive Democrat party of Harney and O’Malley Fianna Fáil defectors and other malcontents of the right wing, on an unwilling constituency base Mitchell succeeded in ousting Pox from the running and got the nomination in a firm rebuff of Dame Enda Kenny’s celeb politics.The Dublin MEP said he was honoured to be chosen ahead of other hopefuls former European Parliament president Pat Cox and MEP Mairead McGuinness. Mr Mitchell told party colleagues he had the heart to achieve an historic Fine Gael win in the race to succeed Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin.

"We will take this campaign to every corner of the country" he said. The former junior minister was proposed by Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald, and seconded by Limerick West TD Dan Neville. Mr Mitchell said he did not appeal to any one class but to all those who are striving to cope. All turned to dust, however, as Mitchell stumped and grumped his way through the constituencies, a pathetic figure of past absurdities as his favoured euro federalism came crashing to economic ruin. Half-hearted support from Fine Gael TDs and Mitchell’s failure to garner any significant public endorsement ensured inevitable defeat.

 An oddity of the campaign was that Mitchell escaped any serious question of his oft-expressed support for the ending of Irish Neutrality in international conflicts and the alignment of our country with the aggressive NATO bloc, the largest criminal organisation in the world. Mr Mitchell said he was a Fine Gael person to the bone but as president would be an Irish person to the bone. Obviously, Mitchell never read the document brought to London in 1921 by Micheal Collins, long-time Fine Gael hero, in 1921:

Proposals taken by Michael Collins to London for the treaty negotiations with Great Britainin 1921(emphasis added):

ARTICLE II. (For Draft B.)
Ireland agrees to become an external associate of the states of the British Commonwealth. As an associate Ireland's status shall be that of equality with the sovereign partner states of the Commonwealth now separately represented in the British Imperial Council _ Great Britain, Canada, Australia, etc, and shall be so recognised by these several states.

ARTICLE III. of Draft 'A' and ARTICLE V. of 'B'.
(1) Ireland consents to be a neutral State, and the British Commonwealth guarantees the perpetual neutrality of Ireland and the integrity and inviolability of Irish territory.
(2) Ireland undertakes, both in the interest of the Irish People and in friendly regard for the strategic interests of the British Commonwealth, to enter into no compact, and to take no action, nor permit any action to be taken, inconsistent with the obligation of preserving the neutrality, integrity and inviolability of Ireland, and to repel with force any attempt to violate Irish territory or to use Irish territorial waters for warlike purposes.

ARTICLE IV. of Draft A. and ARTICLE — of B.
Ireland will make, and his Britannic Majesty will support Ireland in making, a request to the respective Governments of the United States of America, and of all other States, not being members of the League of Nations, with whom his Britannic Majesty entertains diplomatic relations formally to recognise and guarantee the perpetual neutrality, integrity and inviolability of Ireland.

Ireland will request, and the several partner States of the British Commonwealth will support Ireland in requesting the Council and Assembly of the League of Nations formally to recognise and guarantee the perpetual neutrality as well as the integrity and inviolability of Ireland.

(Dept of Foreign Affairs IRL, archives,

This commitment of the first Dáil Éireann to perpetual neutrality for independent Ireland has long been reneged on by Fine Gael and particularly by Mitchell himself who was particularly vocal during the two Lisbon Treaty referendums in 2009 and 2010 in advocating the militarisation of the EU and Ireland joining the aggressive NATO bloc. Mitchell also supported the NATO aggressive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and the continued use of Shannon Airport by US military and “rendition” flights.

Asked if Fine Gael had chosen to run the wrong candidate, Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, said Mr Mitchell had been selected by party process and the party had to live with the decision. Fine Gael was still performing well in party polls and Enda Kenny remained a popular leader, he added.Fine Gael’s deputy director of election, Frank Flannery, acknowledged Mr Mitchell was not what the public was looking for this time around. “I think the reality of the election was that the public wanted a candidate in the office of president almost as similar as they could to the two recent ones who they see as people as stature and people of independence, with the presidency an office in its own right and not related to or not the property of any political party,” he said. “In a way the more closely a candidate was associated with a political party . . . the more difficult it was to fit that public profile.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny had said that the next presidency would be the most crucial since the foundation of the State. Thankfully, Fine Gael won’t be running it.

Áth Cliath/Dublin
02 Samhain/November 2011.

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