28/02/2016 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Mark Carruthers presents the Irish election results, with coverage of the counts and a range of politicians and commentators.

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Hello, welcome to a special edition of Sunday Politics, live in Dublin


to bring to you the latest on the Irish election results. What a story


it is. Huge setback for Fine Gael and near wipe-out for the Labour


Party with an unexpected recovery from Fianna Fail. Sinn Fein has made


gains and it has been a big weekend for the smaller parties, which means


we are in a new era for Irish politics with uncertainty about how


and when a Government can be formed. We will bring you all those stories


and the results as they stand right now, as well as political guest and


analysis over the next hour and a quarter.


So let's have a look at those results.


Welcome this monitor our political editor Mark Devenport, Mary Minihan


from the Irish Times and Dr Muiris MacCarthaigh from Queens University,


thank you for being with us. 95 seats have been sold so far out of


158, and it looks like this: Remember there are eight fewer Dail


seats than there were in 2011, so an exact like-for-like


comparison isn't possible. Fine Gael are on 28,


neck-and-neck with Fianna Fail Sinn Fein are now the third-largest


party in the Dail, currently on 13, with Labour trailing on four


and the independents and smaller Now this is the share of the first


preference vote for each party Fine Gael on 25.5%, still the main


party in terms of the popular vote. Labour trailing again on 6.6%


and the independents and others And we can see how that


has changed since 2011, Labour, down 12.8%,


with the independents Political earthquake is the headline


on the Sunday Independent this morning, no question about that.


Mark, wattage or overall perspective of where we are this morning? I


don't think anybody quite wrote the script in advance. You have got to


be famous American political cliche that there is only ever one issue,


it is the economy, stupid, but in this election it was not just the


economy, because the outgoing coalition had the wind in their


sales of overseeing an economic recovery and it was assumed that


disgruntled voters particularly would take out their concerns on


Labour, the junior partner, but not necessarily on Fine Gael, which is


why Ende Kenny seemed comfortable that he could pick and collection


more or less whenever he chose. It seems that he maybe went to late,


and that argument from his critics, that it wasn't just the economic


recovery but how fair the recovery was and how it was affecting some of


the disadvantaged groups in society, that that had resonance and it has


undercut his main selling point and resulted, I suppose, in a Fianna


Fail comeback that at Michael Martin did well in selling that in the


debate and also the growth of the left is probably the most organised


group within that sector, protesting about how things have been shared


out. The political landscape has changed and change dramatically. To


pick up on what Mark was talking about, the message of steady as she


goes, which is effectively what Ende was talking about, and Kenny, the


Taoiseach, the man with a steady hand on the tiller, trust me to keep


things going, I have got the best interests of the nation at heart,


but people did not buy that? Not at all, the message was echoed., you


will see it around on posters this morning, let's keep the recovery


going, and never have I seen a message become so stale and


redundant in such a short time, in a three-week campaign, said the


strategy did not work for them at all. I think maybe halfway through


the campaign Fine Gael realised, we have got this wrong, and try to


backtrack a bit, saying they understood the recovery had not been


felt by everyone, there were some legacy issues handing over from the


economic crash, but it was too late to turn the ship around at that


stage. The me, the story of this election has been the researchers of


Vienna foil, the party was mercilessly booted out of power in


2011, and many people thought they would go the way of the dodo --


Fianna Fail. We are going to see them up in the 40s, and Fine Gael


probably settling in the early 50s, so it has been an extraordinary


resurgence, and I suppose Fianna Fail is ingrained in the DNA of a


lot of Irish people, particularly older rural voters, and I think we


have seen them tiptoeing back to the party that they were always loyal to


previously. It seems to have been a surprise to so many people because


there were those in the media, particularly in and around the


metropolitan media, let's say, in Dublin, who was suggesting three


short weeks ago that Enda Kenny could conceivably come back as


Taoiseach of a single party Government, but in the wake Cameron


did in 2014, he was able to manage without his minority coalition


partner. I don't know if you went on record suggesting that or not, but


those who did got it dramatically wrong. Yes, and there has been a lot


of commentary that it was a middle-class, leafy, South Dublin


attitude, and in some constituencies they booked the trend, Dun Laoghaire


for instance which was a very middle-class liberal constituency,


and Fine Gael brought home two TDs, which is unusual if you look around


the country, but it shows there are areas where people have genuinely


felt the recovery and have rewarded the Government, but the majority of


people have not accepted that at all and you see the coalition partners,


the Labour Party, being very severely punished in this election,


and the possibility that a party, and outgoing party of Government,


could actually not even be entitled to speaking rights in the next oil,


they could be so low, they have four seat at the moment and you need


seven to be a party, to get those rights in the house, said the Labour


Party is a much reduced force now. Muiris, it is another fascinating


story as this situation unfolds, the near wipe-out of the Labour Party?


It is an extraordinary election in so far as two days after the poll it


is still, by this stage we would normally expect some shape to be


formed around whom the Government is, and it is not clear at all, talk


about re-elections, party leaders having to go, talk about realignment


of Irish Parliamentary politics insofar as we consider how some of


the viewers will be more familiar with some form of power-sharing as


opposed to the Westminster adversarial format we to, but at


this stage, taking a longer term perspective on it, you might say


that some features, like the classic Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, the two big


parties slugging it out, neither of them are breaching the 30% mark,


whereby one of them is coming out on top and will be a natural leader of


a Coalition Government, so it is an unusual situation that the parties


find themselves in. That is what is so fascinating about this, the


individual stories which are intriguing in themselves, but there


is no overall picture which you can say, this is exactly how things will


unfold? It will make negotiations on forming the Government really


difficult, because if you have a party which is very much the biggest


party, the dominant party, then it can, to some extent, call the shots


in terms of whichever junior partner it fixes on, but if you have a party


that, like Fianna Fail, just is a hair's-breadth behind, they will be


thinking, shall we do a deal, shall be hanged out for a future election


well be could emerge as the biggest player? And also they have this


concerned that if they were to bury their historic differences and enter


some kind of grand coalition with Fine Gael, it could create a


realignment in politics and it will become more left right and some


groups like Sinn Fein would be able to prosper in the space that would


be created in opposition. Mary, how do you see that developing? We have


had lots of parties in the last three days of campaigning saying who


they would or would not go into coalition with, and nobody else


frankly wants to go into Government with Sinn Fein. Fianna Fail, Fine


Gael, very uncomfortable bedfellows, it has never happened before, they


have always been in opposition to each other, I don't know if anyone


thinks that is workable, but they are Progressive Democrats who were a


natural bedfellows together in Northern Ireland, so anything is


possible, is anything possible here? The difficult with the two parties


is the grassroots. Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are traditional enemies,


it would be a huge moment for those two parties to coalesce,


particularly when Fianna Fail is emboldened because the more honest


of the party strategists for Fianna Fail would have said the rebuilding


process they embarked on in 2011 was a two election strategy. I don't


think if they were honest they would they be expected to be doing so well


just five years on from the last election, but they have done bury


well, and they are in a position now to engage in talks with Fine Gael,


whether or not that is wise for the party remains to be seen. I don't


know if it is something that the Fianna Fail grassroots would wear,


and I think innovatively there would be splits in the ranks if that was


to take place. I think a more likely possibility is that Fianna Fail


would act in the national interest, as it is sometimes said in politics,


and would support, or at least not oppose, and minority Fine Gael


Government from the opposition benches. But certainly that


introduces the prospect of Sinn Fein being the key opposition voice in


the next Dail, and that means that, in another five years, if the


Government would go that long, that that party could be in pole position


then to take on a leadership role in the Government. Muiris, do you see


some sort of confidence and supply arrangement, the Westminster model,


support for a minority Government on an individual case-by-case basis? Is


that the only option? Is that stuff that -- is that sustainable in the


long term? Usually when you have a single or dual party coalition that


is just shy of an overall majority, but even that doesn't seem to be


appropriate. To the outside observer traditionally Fianna Fail and Fine


Gael in terms of policy, some areas are very similar, they are as much


defined by the other as anything else. So the parties must take a


longer term view of what the ramifications would be of such a


coalition. But it is still a little bit early because the parties will


have to see what sort of relative electoral strengths they had in


terms of what the final seats are going to be. We could be some way


from that. Bertie Ahern predicting there is no chance of a Government


before St Patrick's Cavan, which was, again, quite unusual, not so


unusual if you are in Germany, where they take their time forming a


Government, or Belgium, why they don't have one for a year or so, but


in an Irish context this happens very quickly, but this could be a


very, very important, strategic election for the future of the


traditional large parties in Irish politics. Mark, you were talking on


the radio yesterday about the Belgian example... 541 days of


negotiations! That is long by any standards! People were saying that


Fianna Fail and Fine Gael will have to see if they can give it a go!


Bertie Ahern giving a realistic prospect that essentially ended


Keddie will go in and continue his role as Taoiseach -- -- Kenny, over


the traditional festive it is of St Patrick's Cavan, with the title of


Taoiseach but not the majority that normally goes with it. It will be a


strange scenario. We will hear from some politicians shortly on the


programme but for now thank you all very much indeed. That is the


picture this morning but how precisely did we get here?


Here's our political correspondent Gareth Gorden with his reflections


If you want to know what is happening in an Irish election, ass


gay Kalimantan is to long before a result was officially announced, the


ruling party knew it would be a difficult day -- Aske pay Cali man.


We have had some disappointing results, several colleagues will


lose their seats, and that is a sad day for them, their families and


supporters. Downbeat, but Martin McGuinness was upbeat. I don't know


what the final tally will be, 15 or 16%, but it is a dramatic increase


on the eight or 9% we got in the 2011 election. In terms of my


contribution to politics, Gerry Adams' contribution to politics, I


think the people of Ireland recognised that we have been at the


heart of the peace process and our party has driven the peace process,


but I think also because people are coming increasingly to support our


party as they have done in this election that is, I think,


absolutely down to the leadership provided by Gerry Adams, by Pearse


Doherty and many others of our leaders here in this part of


Ireland. There was a rare public appearance on the Sinn Fein


supporters from former British heiress turned IRA member Rose


Dugdale, along with Jim McMahon. Something to celebrate as MacDonald


topped the poll. What are you more interested in, the election or the


rugby? The rugby. Why? Because the players do was proud, whereas our


politicians do not. We need to take a good hard look at who we are


electing and who we want to put into serving our country. I'm delighted


that end Kenny has got his just deserts and after that and saying


nothing else. Can I as quite you voted for Fianna


Fail when they were blamed for the mess we were in in the first phase?


Well, the world was going through trouble at that time, regardless of


whatever Government was in the economy would have been into anyway.


Enjoyed the game. Not many did. The one result of the


day we could all agree on. Symbolic of Fianna Fail's revival, back in


the Dail after the former Taoiseach's son lost his seat last


time around. Family gives me motivation but having said that the


electorate are very concerned about the future, and not that concerned


about the past. And the future now is what concerns the Taoiseach of


the country. Clearly the option of a majority Government has gone, the


option of the Fine Gael Labour Government has gone, so we don't


know the results for the other parties yet. I need to know those


before I decide what is the best thing to do, given my responsibility


and my duty as Taoiseach and head of Government, I consider that very


carefully over the next 36, 48 hours as those results become clear. Could


there even be an historic coalition with Fianna Fail? A lot will depend


on the destination of the last seats in many constituencies, and in


particular the four seats, where those last seats are going to go. It


is a bit too early yet to be definitive about that but it is


clear we are going to have a good day. Watching all this was an


unlikely onlooker. I'm studying in Dublin, I'm from an evangelical


background, I'm a member of the Orange order, I'm from a strong


unionist background, and the reason I'm here is because I think it is


wonderful that in the Republic of Ireland they are able to have a


voluntary coalition and in opposition, something we are denied


in the United Kingdom, in Northern Ireland, and I think that there are


many parties in the Republic who will not go into Government with


Sinn Fein, get the DUP props Sinn Fein up, and I think it is for us to


look to the south and tried to push in Northern Ireland for these


fundamentals of democracy. Right now the Republic does not have any kind


of coalition and unless it gets one in the next week and a half, voters


could be doing this all over again rather soon.


Let's hear more from my studio guests.


We have been joined by Conor Lenihan from Fianna Fail and were no Brin


the new Sinn Fein TD. Congratulations. You top the poll.


Yes. I do not suppose you are surprised that you were returned,


but were used to price that you did as well as you did? I have to say we


have an exceptionally good campaign team and we have been flat out since


2011. We were hopeful to win a seat. We were more or less on target. Why


do you think the people who voted for Sinn Fein, especially in terms


of first preferences did? Were they voting for something specific or


against something else? They were voting for something specific. One


of the big themes, particularly in the last two or three weeks was


whether you were talking to working families or families out of work,


there was a sense that there was no recovery for them, whether there was


the macroeconomic statistics or the people at the top, for ordinary


families, things have not gotten better, in terms of jobs, wages and


front line public services and while at the start of the campaign it was


clear they were not point to vote for Fianna Fail and Labour, they


were looking around for something else. I think a mixture of the core


message, that we were saying a fair recovery was possible, but only if


there was a change in policy and a good ground campaign was the reason


we did well. You cut your teeth in Belfast and I am sure many of our


viewers will remember you and then you went to Europe. You have


experience politics in a number of places. The political landscape here


has been completely changed, well on the front of the table -- paper


today, political as quick, people are saying things will never be the


same again, is that over egging the pudding? I think it will take some


time before we are clear as to what the impact of the weekenders. What


you are seeing is the beginnings of a realignment of Southern Irish


politics around the centre left and centre right lines, whether or not


Fianna Fail and Fine Gael enter into a collision and whether those on the


left can cooperate to provide a clear and strong alternatives to


those communities, we will have to wait and see. There are a lot of


encouraging signs although I have to say there is more work for all of us


to do. You stepped aside from front line


politics in 2011 and I wonder with the renaissance of Fianna Fail do


you regret not being involved? I have been working in Moscow. Having


a very active involvement in a electoral sense was not likely but I


came back to be part of their campaign for some of my friends.


Some people wrote of their Dutch mag your party but it has bounced back


well, did you think it would manage to come back so strongly in such a


relatively short period of time or did you think that we were talking


about a two election strategy at least? I am an optimist, I believed


it six months after the last election that the party would come


back. Because what happened within six months of the last election was


that the current government voted in in an empty Dail that my late


brother put through, it was controversial and lost votes and I


think an awful lot of voters switched and that was reflected in


the local election results where Fianna Fail became the biggest party


in the country and generally speaking in our system of


proportional representation, a strong local electoral outing is


reflected in the seats in the Dail the next time around. That is very


much the case in terms of the levels of support for Sinn Fein and Fianna


Fail. If one aggregate their representation in the Dail and local


election performance it is the biggest organisation that kind in


this country. In membership terms and this is often forgotten, while


Fianna Fail had a different experience in a two election


scenario to get back into power, it is a bigger organisation on the


ground in terms of local authority members and also actual members who


go out and canvas and knocked on doors. That is often forgotten by


some people who wrote of the party. Here is the question that everyone


will be wanting to hear the answer to, do you think it is possible for


Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to work together in a formal Coalition? Of


course it is possible. What I would caution in terms of expectations is


that the public in this General Election have voted very


definitively to vote out Fine Gael and Labour out of power. There is


nowhere party like Fianna Fail can ignore that message from the


electorate. The seat losses that Fine Gael and Labour have incurred


are of the same magnitude in numbers terms than we experienced in 2011,


we were very definitively -- definitively booted out of power and


the same numbers apply to the government. It will be difficult for


Micheal Martin to convince ordinary Fianna Fail activists who have been


campaigning to remove this government from power to say that we


are going to put a very significant element of it, namely Fine Gael back


into power. This will not be easy and could take a month or two months


before it works itself out and the first priority for Micheal Martin


and he has indicated already in terms of injuries that he has given


would be to sit down and talk to all of the opposition parties who have


opposed this government and give them the opportunity to be part of a


Fianna Fail led Administration. That is his first priority because the


public have become cynical if the vote in a definitive fashion against


two sets of parties, the -- Fine Gael and Labour and they found that


the system conspires to deny their rightful choice. There is no getting


away from this, it will be very awkward and difficult, as difficult


and awkward as it was for the Labour Party to change sides back in 1992


and move from a Fine Gael led administration and a Fianna Fail led


government. To think you should talk to the parties on the left? It is up


to Micheal Martin to decide how to carry this out but he has given some


hints that that is his plan. His plan is to talk to those who are


part of the opposition. The people in Ireland have voted very


definitively, not in an ambiguous manner, against the current or


incumbent governments. This is not going to be work that simply. It is


anything but straightforward because while you say... It is


straightforward. The people have voted definitively against this


current government and the seat losses are Ken... It is like me


saying in 2011 they did not vote against Fianna Fail. When you look


at the raw figures... It is also the case if Enda Kenny was here he would


say that is the case up to a point but still more people have given


their first preferences to Fianna Fail than they have -- Fine Gael


than they have to Fianna Fail. It is perhaps one percentage point. There


are still more people supporting Fine Gael and I am sure he would


take a different view. It is important that Enda Kenny understand


he has lost the election. The question is what happens next! You


seem to have adamant that Sinn Fein does not want to be involved in a


government led by either Fianna Fail or Fine Gael. Not just me but the


whole Sinn Fein organisation. Is there any point in having


negotiations? We made clear at the start that the government led by


those two parties would not be in the interests of the vast majority


of people here. We said that before the election and we are not winter


break that promise. Micheal Martin said he would not do business with


anyone before the election. He was ruling out everyone else bar his own


backbench. The idea that would be a great surprise if after the election


Fianna Fail come out and do something different, it will not


suppose anyone. Our view is clear, in order for this country to have


the kind of their recovery that we believe is necessary, we need to put


an end to the centre-right government is whether led by Fianna


Fail or Fine Gael I'm I do not see how Fianna Fail could propose


anything close to the kind of policy change we think is necessary to get


this country back on track. It is a bizarre situation where a lot of the


parties are lining up to be oppositional rather than to be in


government. It is hard to see how he can get an opposition out of this. I


do not think that is what is happening. Whereas in addition fame


were being straight with the electorate to say we would not do a


deal as a minority partner, inside Fianna Fail at senior levels, he has


been in Russia and would not know this, they are looking at this as


one of the scenarios and they were clearly hedging their bets. Wiley


were telling the electorate they would not do a deal, there were


strategists in the party working to see on what terms and those people


are meeting and thinking and talking about whether they will do a deal


with Fine Gael. Here is the big question, will it make any


difference to those huge numbers of people who voted against Fine Gael


and Labour and I do not think it will. I will not support a


government led by Micheal Martin. There is hypocrisy going on here.


Sinn Fein like all of those other parties contesting the election put


themselves forward on the basis they would go into government and I think


it is an comment on everyone who is elected to the Dail to take the


election to the Dail seriously to the point that you would consider


forming and providing the stability and the government that the country


rightly expect would be an outcome from the election. It is


irresponsible to say that we campaigned in this fashion and we


will have nothing to do with the post-election scenario. I think most


parties were judged an kindly when they would walk away in the


aftermath of an election and there is a contradiction in Sinn Fein and


the other parties who say they want Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to get


together but they think it is the worst outcome for the country.


Someone from the left said that last night on a panel show. Somehow they


want us to come together, but it would be the worst outcome for the


country! It would be a challenge! I know this idea is novel for a Fianna


Fail but it is incumbent on parties keep their election promises. The


primary responsibility on me and my colleagues in Sinn Fein is to honour


those promises. I have to say, I do not want Fianna Fail or Fine Gael to


coalesce, I think it would be a disaster. I campaigned against it


but we are faced with the numbers as they currently stand and all I am


saying is if we are going to have the kinds of changes that are going


to improve the quality in people's lives, we need something other than


the failed consensus politics. Is there any difference in emphasis


between yourself and others within Sinn Fein? I saw Marylou McDonald as


good as they may do not want to prop up either party but it would be a


matter for the ard fheis. It is a matter for the ard fheis, none of us


are going to go against that. I want to ask you one thing about the Sinn


Fein performance. As we respect in, you're on about 13 seats, what do


you think your final tally will be? We are in contention for probably


another 11 or so, a lot of them will come down to the final counts. We


are well placed in a lot of the constituencies because there were a


good number of left of centre candidates coming in behind us,


there are about 11 or 12 are but some of them are going to be very


late counts, but it could be early tomorrow. Did the party do as well


as it ought to have done in your view? Could it have done better? Is


there a debate or discussion, which you may want to have behind closed


doors, but I have to ask the question, or could the party have


performed better with a different kind of blue to ship? There has been


a lot of criticism of Gerry Adams in the television debates. We will sit


down and have those discussions and do it constituency by constituency.


In some constituencies we did exceptionally well and others we did


not perform as well. Donegal is an example. I am thinking of Dublin


West and Paul Donnelly not taking the seat even though I think he


could have and should have. Any party that is significantly


increasing its Seatech is having a good day. That is a good day for the


party. Look at the make or, you pushed for a third seat and ended up


with one! There is always a risk. I know this from my own days in north


Belfast. When you are contending for significant seed increases you have


to take risks and the good thing about Sinn Fein is rather than


putting individuals ahead of the party we try and take the risks to


maximise the seat. This is a good election for Sinn Fein and I think


it clearly marks the trajectory of the growth of the party. Gerry Adams


was enormously helpful to me in Dublin midwest. It caused no


difficulties there and what that shows is when you have a good


campaign on the airwaves and a good ground campaign, Sinn Fein can do


exceptionally well. There is no doubt Sinn Fein have had


a fantastic campaign. The historical political significance of this, Sinn


Fein have replaced the Labour Party in every sense of the word, not just


numerically in terms of seats in the Dail but also on the ground and many


of the larger parties have ignored, deserted or not been active in local


authority housing estate in the Republic. This party is heavily


involved and reaping the benefits. The Labour Party is now fully


replaced in the Irish political scene. It would be extremely


difficult, however difficult it was for us, it will be extremely


difficult for the Labour Party to comeback ever again in Irish


politics because this is an active party on the ground. I will come


back to you, because it is fascinating to hear what you have to


say, but we are going to cross to our correspondent Shane Harrison who


is at the RDS count centre. Are there some tired heads?


It is a lot less busy here today than it was yesterday. A short time


ago in Dublin Bay South, a constituency in which there were


high hopes that the nephew of David Andrews, the Minister for Fianna


Fail at the signing of the Good Friday agreement, would take a seat


but he has just been eliminated and there are now five candidates


fighting for four seats and counting will begin again in a short time in


Dublin South Central in which there are 52 votes between the people


looking for the last seat, and also counting going on in Dublin North


West where two candidates are fighting for the last seats, that is


between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. How close is it between the two of


you? Extraordinarily close, I will be down to the wire with Fianna


Fail. We have Labour elimination to come in the final round so we would


hope it will see me over the line and be the first TD for the area in


24 years. Quite an achievement if it happens, but you must be keeping an


eye on what is happening across the country. Naturally, this


constituency is a rare bright spot for us on an otherwise cloudy day.


It seems we will come up short of meeting our expectations in terms of


the number of seats and it seems we will have a fractured Dail so the


concern is over the weeks ahead, forming a Government, exploring the


options, trying to see if a Fine Gael minority Government will work,


if Fianna Fail will work, or if we have to go back to the people. Do


you think there is public appetite for another general election this


year? I don't think so, it has been consistently coming up for me for


the last three months, people didn't want to go back to the 80s with


multiple elections. It seems as though this is the verdict they have


delivered and we have to try to make that work first ball. If we can't


after trying our best we go back to the people -- to make that work


first ball. You spoke about the national picture, that it was a bad


result, you were, or maybe, one of the few bright spots. In terms of


Enda Kenny's future, what do you see happening? It will depend on where


the final seats go. In my case, it could be a Fine Gael seat or a


Fianna Fail seats. Seats like that will predict whether this is a very


bad day for a Fine Gael or just a disappointing day. We could go from


47 to 52, 53 seats, it really depends on those final seats. I


remember a previous bad electoral defeat, he managed to save the


situation, getting a deal with the Labour Party. Do you see that he may


have to hang bug if there are to be negotiations with the Fianna Fail


leader? I would see that to be the case, he has been our leader for 14


years now, there is no doubt that he will be leading the negotiations. I


would not say no to a bit of EU money at this point in time! But it


remains to see what the future will hold for Ireland. The business


markets have got to be shaken by this. We need to be very clear that


we are open to negotiation. Other countries have also had problems


forming a Government, how long do you think it will be before the


markets deliver their verdict, and what might they say? It is difficult


to say at this point on a Sunday morning. We need to emphasise that


Ireland is stable, it is still a good place to invest, we will not


lurch from one election to another if we can help it. Hopefully the


markets can keep their confidence because they have been confident in


Ireland for the last 18 months and we had to keep it that way.


Thank you very much. As you can see, still all to play for in many


constituencies here in the RDS, and who knows, it may be the middle of


the week before we know what the final results are given the amount


of constituencies that have had recounts.


Thanks very much. Joining us from the count centre


there, just a throw from the ITE studio where we are broadcasting


this morning. I imagine you are not doing a great deal of smiling today.


Conor Lenihan was writing the political epitaph pew moments ago, I


think you might have caught the end of that. It sounded very like it!


The significant thing, we although in Dublin, it is hard to dislodge


Sinn Fein, so when they get into a position where they have replaced


the Labour Party, it will be hard to dislodge them. It has been a


difficult 48 hours, Maria? It has been a disappointing 48 hours, there


is no way of getting away from that and I will not spin the result, but


there are a number of seats still in contention. We are normally sitting


at around 10%, we are down about 4% from what the traditional vote would


be. It is disappointing, we have lost very many good people in the


last couple of days, people have lost seats and staff members have


lost seats, constituency offices have gone, but having said that we


will take stock, have a look and we will be rebuilding, collar, so don't


write us off just yet. There is a big irony in all of this that the


Labour Party, a left of centre party, at a time posterity where


anti-austerity parties and parties of the left and independence are


doing so well, your party should have done so catastrophically badly.


You had 37 seats this time five years ago, at the moment you are


sitting at four. I don't know what you think the final number will be.


We are in contention for another four. In terms of speaking red and


party funding we would be looking at seven and above. The last election,


for the Labour Party, was a very significant election, and I think we


took votes from constituencies which have probably swung back to Fianna


Fail and leaking votes towards the independents and other parties.


There was no way we would match the vote of 2011, it wasn't possible, we


knew that we would drop significantly from that and we have


done so, and really it is about looking at what happened and trying


to rebuild from there. There is a lesson, the same lesson that Nick


Clegg, I suppose, got with the Lib Dems, you get involved as a minority


party in Government, in a coalition, and you are likely to get a kick in,


and that is exactly what has happened. Traditionally any smaller


party in a coalition, but remember in 2011 the country was a dire place


and we have less than 40% and did not know if people would be able to


implement and I think history will look kindly on the Labour Party for


being able to turn the country round. 100,000 people back into work


and it is doubtful that if we have not gone in at that point the


country would be not in the position it is now. Do you feel a bit sorry


for the Labour Party? At a personal level because I had friends who are


members of the Labour Party, some of the unsuccessful candidates, so I


have a personal commiseration, but there is a lesson for all others,


particularly smaller parties, from what has happened this weekend. It


is not just that smaller parties traditionally do badly, smaller


parties make strong promises to the electorate to get elected and then


break many of those promises once they are in office, get punished by


the electorate. The vote collapsed two and half thousand from 13,000 in


2011, and two people that I know well, they said they would not cut


child benefit, they did, they said they would not cut basic social


welfare rates, and they did, they said they would stand up for working


families, and I am not making this up, if you vote for working families


who voted for Robert and Joanna in 2011 there is a visible anger


because they feel let down. When the economy is turned around at that


macro level, things have not got better for many people, particularly


those families that are homeless, and that is the reason why, and I


suppose for those of us who are committed to real change, who want


to see a better quality society, and many people in the Labour Party I


don't do believe in a better society, you cannot achieve that if


you are in a Government led by a centre-right partly with a different


social and economic policy, and that for me is the lesson of this


weekend. I don't want to overplay this but the


question I want to ask, and I know a lot of commentators have touched on


it on other programmes, are we possibly looking at some kind of


fundamental political realignment or recalibration at the moment where


politics in the Republic of Ireland moves from the old divisions to a


completely new arrangement where people actually vote and stand for


votes based on a left- right split? Is that beginning to happen now, 70,


80, 100 years on from where this date was founded? I studied


political science and history just up the road from here, scientists


were talking about this when I was in college and it has never


happened. There is a strong centrifugal element to Irish


politics, Ireland is different from Britain, it is different from


continental Europe and from America, so I think this kind of solution


that everything would be better off if we had a crude left- right


divide, politics would almost be easy to explain to people looking


in, but I don't think it is going to happen. Our system is much more akin


to what you might call the Australian political system, which


is very similar to Ireland, with nuanced differences between two big


parties, and I don't think we will ever go into a very straight


left/right division. But you are seeing realignment in people and


voters' requirements, they are looking for parties to redeem their


promises. I feel sorry for Joan Burton in this election because most


of the promises made by the Labour Party before the last election were


made by her predecessor, not by her, so she had the unenviable task of


picking up the pieces from a series of very significant promises which


actually Fine Gael and Labour, but particularly Labour, they had


absolutely no need to make those promises. It was well before the


election happened in 2011 and it was wrong and foolish in my view Fine


Gael and Labour to make some of the outlandish promises that they made


in 2011. Let that stand as a warning to everybody in politics, not


picking on the Labour Party year, but you make promises that are out


of your power, the public remember these and can breed a certain havoc


revenge because of it. We all remember the statement that it would


be Frankfurt's way or Labour's way, it was a gravity defying statement


because frankly Islanders in the middle of the European currency zone


and cannot act unilaterally against the interests of pretty much


everybody else in that currency zone. That is the core of the


problem for Labour and the reason it has collapsed. I don't wish this


position on them, Fianna Fail had a very happy if somewhat contentious


coalition with Labour in the past. So you are clear on that, you think


it is an oversimplification in understanding what is happening. Do


you think that is what is happening, or do you think that is what ought


to happen? That was the Labour Party manifesto


going into government and once it got there and it had to agree to a


programme of government and was a negotiation and we punched above our


weight in relation to the programme for government and we delivered --


delivered on many things. Where the failure came in was the


communication between the manifesto and the programme for government.


There is a lesson in terms of the discussion around the current Fine


Gael and Fianna Fail Coalition and I think Fianna Fail would be in a


worse position to go into government with Fine Gael because it would


leave Sinn Fein as the largest opposition party. Sinn Fein could


then potentially up its vote and I do not think and I have a good


respect for him and I am happy you got your seat but I think you would


probably accept that you have gone below the level of what you expected


to get in their selection as have Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. It has


not been a great election for anyone, it has been disappointing


for us but across the board, bad for anyone. It has been good for the


independence of the smaller parties. It has not been bad, but by any


standards, the increase is impressive, but it is not anything


like some of the wilder claims made by other members of the party six


months ago. Not by some members of the party but by some pollsters and


columnist. The best way for a political party to grow is solidly


unsteadily because then people come to vote positively for what you are


doing. We did not want a spring tide because what comes in the quickly


goes out quickly. I prefer to be here with a 60% increase and talking


about 40 seats, of course I would, but you cannot doubt that the party


has had a good election in terms of potentially 11 extra seats and


whatever about government formation, Sinn Fein will continue to do what


we were doing up until now which is campaigning on the ground in


communities that are disadvantaged and arguing clearly that if we want


that crucial recovery and investment in good quality jobs and public


services we need to have an end to government led by either Fianna Fail


or Fine Gael and government about delivering a different society and


that is what motivated the two get involved in politics in Belfast and


motivated me to stand here and I think we have had a good election


and we will a good period of time ahead.


Not going to be in government North and South on the occasion of the


100th anniversary of the 1960 rising and some people thought that was a


possibility. We would have wanted to achieve that. There is no point


being in government are particularly as a junior part -- Michael Partner


to prop up the policies you do not agree with. I would much prefer to


be in government in two or three years' time in the right kind of


government than be in a bad government now not delivering for


the people who I am honoured to have been elected by yesterday. I am


going to pause for a second or two. The election has been a disaster for


Fine Gael. In an interview with RTE, even


McGraw refused to be drawn on the possible idea of a grand Coalition


with Fianna Fail. It can be really disappointing to lose a seat,


democracy can be mercilessly kicks zone -- Enda Kenny. You can argue


about the decision of the people, but you cannot argue with that. The


government of Fine Gael and Labour will not be returned to office and


obviously one has to wait until all of the counts are in right across


the country to see what the options that must be considered are. In the


last week we had four polls with 20 or 30% coming from where we had to


travel in the last five years with our sovereignty gone, there are a


difficult choices to be made. Elections are about choices and we


have to accept the verdict of the people, but that the boat is now


history except for the counting and clearly when the results are in from


every constituency, we have a duty to consider how best to proceed


ahead for the future -- vote. As Taoiseach I have a duty and response


ability as head of government and to continue in this role to see best


how we might be able to put together a government for the future because


clearly the government needs a government and must have one.


Clearly the option of a majority government has gone, clearly the


option of a Fine Gael and Labour government has gone, we do not know


the figures for all the other parties yet, I need to know those


before I decide what is the best thing to do given my responsibility


and my duty as Taoiseach. I consider that very carefully, obviously over


the next 36 or 48 hours as those results become clear. Enda Kenny,


the Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael speaking on RTE last night. My


guests have rejoined me. Welcome back. Some interesting thoughts from


my political guests. Let us pick up on Enda Kenny. Do you think he can


continue as Taoiseach in the short-term in an acting capacity? Do


you think he will continue in the longer term to lead Fine Gael? In my


look extraordinary from outside because no matter what happens or


how bad this election has been for the government, his waltz to be the


biggest party in Parliament. From hearing comments from his party


colleagues this morning, I am not hearing them rushing towards him,


endorsing his leadership. There is a bit of a tiptoeing away from that


position which strikes me as something that is happening very


quickly. I dare say when you and I meet again there could be someone


else in charge and that is not the only party that could experience a


change of leadership. He would have to look at what will happen to


Labour, the Tanaiste did retain her seat in very tricky conditions last


night, but with the party so drastically reduced, that party went


in to the last Dail with 37 seats and is now sitting on four, it will


probably claw back a bit but its support has been so badly eating


into that there will be questions asked about the leadership. The Sinn


Fein leadership is a constant topic of conversation in the Republic and


Gerry Adams had a few very weak media performances. I do not think


he is known as a man with a grasp of detail. On the ground, he is hugely


popular. That is absolutely the case and his boat getting rid of it is


remain undiminished, look how well he has done in his own constituency


of Louth where he is set to bring in the first female TD, Imelda Munster.


I think the party grassroots do not have a problem with him in that


regard. Do you think that we will see political change in terms of


leadership, is that inevitable in the weeks and months ahead. It is


very difficult at the moment. A lot of the party leaders, possibly with


the exception of Joel Burton can point to a mixed bag. There are good


and bad things happening, even for Fine Gael, though vote is down but


they can point to constituencies like Dun Laoghaire with they won


three out of four seats. For the party leaders, it could be some time


and there will be a lot of analysis for the second and third


preferences, the transfers, how the two government parties, where their


votes went to and for those parties who are gaining, why did they not


gain more. Did they have bad strategies? How much blame can be


laid at the door of the leaders. I wonder what you made of Conor


Lenihan, he was determined that if we can take one thing out of this


set of election results, it is that people voted against the government


led by Fine Gael and the Labour Party. In one respect, you can see


exactly where he is coming from, but the point I was making is that it is


still the case that Fine Gael is likely to be the biggest party and


also the biggest party in terms of seats. For the first time in its


history. It is anything but straightforward. Many of your


viewers are thinking, what is the problem with this concept of a grand


Coalition because I heard an outgoing Fine Gael TD who was a real


stall word of the party saying yesterday that there is a cigarette


paper between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael idea logically. If you were to


look at their manifestos and policies, there is not a massive


amount of difference, one party is vaguely centre-left and the other


party is vaguely centre-right, but if you are just thinking ideology,


it is difficult to understand why they cannot form a Coalition. I hope


we have tried to explain the historical difficulties. A thought?


I took his remarks to be mainly positioning. I was not using the


term about censoring, but in terms of the party, because they want to


resist any orientation toward left or right politics because they would


see themselves soon and into a big position where they have positioned


themselves slightly more to the centre-left. They're not giving up


on left-wing votes. They do not want to push them towards Sinn Fein or


other groups. I would be interested on Mary's thoughts on if Enda Kenny


goes, who would take its place? Some of the people have talked about the


Justice Minister, is he the only one would be others you would fancy more


than that? There certainly is the Justice Minister, but she had a


wobbly campaign, there were number of gangland shootings, an unexpected


factor in this campaign. There are too young bucks as well, their


Health Minister the Agriculture Minister, one in Dublin and one in


Cork and they would be considered to be the contenders for a new leader


of Fine Gael if that were to happen. I do not think anything will happen


suddenly. What we have to think about is the fact that the country


needs a government, a Coalition is about compromise, not about cosy


consensus, what you're hearing from Sinn Fein is that they have learned


the lessons and mistakes of the Labour Party. You see that


everywhere, in Britain, how the Liberal Democrats were so severely


punished for going into Coalition with the Conservatives and rolling


back on promises even though they would argue that they had such a


small amount of power to wield. There might be people with a wry


sense of humour back home in Northern Ireland thinking there is a


lot to be said for a mandatory Coalition, because it gets rid of


all this confusion! I will speak to you in a moment. For Sinn Fein,...


For Sinn Fein, the constituency of Louth has proved to be very


successful with Gerry Adams topping the poll and Imelda Munster set


to be the first woman TD for the area.


The constituency had also seen key battles between Fianna Fail,


Our Political Correspondent Stephen Walker reports from the count


Even before any of the results were declared, it was obvious from


unofficial tallies which party was going to steal the headlines. In


County Louth. One of the stories here was the performance of Sinn


Fein with the party President Gerry Adams topping the poll and party


activists are also thrilled with the performance of Imelda Munster. I


take immense pride in the fact that the first day I will be the first


woman ever elected in County Louth but I would be the first Sinn Fein


woman ever elected as TD year. What was the campaign like? It was very


positive, great response at the doors, people were up for a change,


that was very evident. We had an excellent campaign, right the way


through and you can see the results today are looking extremely helpful.


Sinn Fein party President Gerry Adams said the vote across Ireland


showed that people had rejected the political establishment. One thing


is for certain, this change is going to continue. There is not a


progressive government elected this time, that it is only matter time


before one is elected. No, it is our position and I am bound by that I


happen to agree with itself we do have a proposition to go into


government, we will go to the party and they will make the decision.


While it was a good day for Sinn Fein, other parties clearly suffered


at the hands of the electorate. For the Labour Party, there is big


disappointment here and the drop in support mirrors the difficulties the


party is facing in other areas of the country. For Fianna Fail and


Fine Gael there were nervous moments at the count centre as both camps


waited to see if the candidates were successful. As the votes were


analysed, certain patterns became clear. Louth is like a microcosm in


reflecting what the people have reflected and that is that they are


looking for a change. It is clear that Fianna Fail will be part of the


change. I think we will deliver 40 seats or more. For those in Fine


Gael the results across the country did not make pleasant reading.


Nationally, very disappointed, but we must listen to the people and act


on that. Can you see Fine Gael still been in power? The most of thing is


that the people have spoken and we will wait and see what way the votes


work out for each party and it will take another day to look at that. 16


candidates stood here and battle for five seats. The political landscape


of Louth has changed and so too has the Dail.


Let's hear more from Shane Harrison at the count centre. Painter picked


up what is happening there. -- paint a picture. There are a


number of recounts going on, and number of cans are continuing. In


Dublin Bay South, five candidates battling for four seats, two Fine


Gael candidates, the leader of the Green Party, the Fianna Fail


candidate, whose brother is a well-known ITE presenter, and Kevin


Humphreys from the Labour Party. In Dublin north-west, as we heard


earlier, it is between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, and in Dublin Bay


South, Dublin South Central, rather, you have two candidates, fighting


for the last seat. So this will continue all day, possibly into


tomorrow. Thank you very much indeed. Let's


hear more from my guests. A word about the independents because we


have not talked about that in any great detail. In percentage terms,


and indeed in terms of the seat is that that block, if you can think of


it as a block, will hold in the 32nd broil, it is not insignificant? --


the 32nd Dail. So many people have turned their back on what they


considered the establishment parties, increasingly Sinn Fein


being that in there, much to their disgust, I imagine, but they have


said, a plague on all your houses, we don't want to go back to the old


ways and vote along party lines, people saying, I will vote for my


local man or woman who will get things done for me, so definitely


that was very clear in all of the opinion polls in the run-up to the


selection and indeed in the exit follows that the independents would


do well. What that means for Government formation and the make-up


of the next Dail is anyone's guest, we are in uncharted territory


because people in the Republic have tended to be very conservative,


voting along Family Lives, in the traditional way they have always


voted -- voting along Family Lives. So this move is fresh and new. The


history of the state is that parish boundaries were very important and


those individual TDs were very powerful people in their own


constituencies. I just wonder what power do they bring in terms of


Government or opposition to the business of running the country? It


is a complicating factor, isn't it, Muiris? It is, and in 2011 the Irish


Parliament and the lower house, which is what we're talking about,


produced proportionally one of the highest grouping of independents in


the world so there is already a president, but it is set to grow. It


goes all sorts of constitutional questions in terms if you are


relying on a large of independents, can and independent ever have a


Cabinet seat? Independents in Northern Ireland, there is a


perception that they lead to stability but the record shows that


governments that have relied on small numbers of independents are


extremely reliable. The trouble comes from party backbenchers and so


on, those you have agreed deals with love and early on have statistically


proved to be very reliable voters in the chamber, as it were -- those who


have agreed deals with governments early on. Because the numbers are so


big, neither Fianna Fail or Fine Gael, or any combination, could


depend on two or three independents to make the difference, the maths is


so complicated. You could do two or three deals but if it comes to doing


20 or 30 local deals, it becomes extremely difficult, and that is why


it'll be an extra complicating factor in the negotiations we are


talking about with the formation of Government. And the independents are


doing well in general Ireland, which would not have been traditional,


into the rarer, a few seats have gone to independents. There is the


issue in respect of gender quotas and so on, could the independents


form a party, what would the consequences be for the voters and


so on, but they are possibly less fragmented than one might think. In


this other grouping we have the social Democrats, who have popped up


recently as a party, a loose amalgamation of disaffected party


members. Their three leaders have won three seats. They are doing


extremely well. They have eaten into the Labour but possibly quite a lot.


Another small party has taken off. So this other pillar in Irish


politics is extremely important. Explain the Healy Rae phenomenon for


us? Two have been enacted in the same constituency and it is a name


people might be familiar with and there are all sorts of social media


jokes, people wearing flat caps and so on, but joking aside they are a


phenomenal political force in that part of the country. They are a


political dynasty to be reckoned with, their father Jackie Healy Rae


would have propped up the vote he is -- the voting. He did well on behalf


of his constituents, would have bought a lot of money and work and


building and so on into the constituency, so the legacy


continues, if you like, and one of his sons was a TD last time around


and there was much consternation when an independent TD called Tom


Fleming, at the last minute, seems to drop out of the race all of a


sudden and then the other brother, the other Healy Rae, was brought on


board and they seemed to be romping home, they seemed to be doing very,


very well, but as Mark has said, back in the Bertie Ahern days it was


feasible to have a small number of independents propping up a Fianna


Fail Administration, plenty of money washing around, that was the keeping


to stress. The state does not have the kind of funds now to supply


motorways and hospitals and so on in far-flung constituencies around the


country. We will talk about gender quotas in a moment but before that,


we need to talk about the Labour Party and their leader, Joan Burton,


did hold onto her seat but for many colleagues lose out in the selection


and also saw her party's vote slumped dramatically. She says they


will consider where they went wrong. I think in Irish elections there is


a combination of two factors. There is a general national factor and


then the ground war of the constituency on the ground. People


often say that you are talking about a whole series of different


elections. In the constituency here in particular we have made a huge


amount of progress in areas like providing new schools and


refurbishing and rebuilding all schools, investing into the health


services and primary care centres, getting people back to work. We have


a lot of other issues to address, which we are working on at the


moment, housing in particular and obviously general health issues. I


suppose people see me as I have always been, a worker, in so far as


I can, on their behalf. I'm very, very disappointed that so many very


fine public representatives will not be returning under the Labour Party


banner. I have had an opportunity today to talk by phone to quite a


lot of people who lost out, and I know how hard they, their families,


the Labour Party member ship and the support teams worked to return them,


it didn't happen this time. Obviously we will have to reflect in


the coming days on what we do now as we go forward. The Labour Party


stands for progressive politics, the Labour Party stands also not just


for a good economy and better employment and working conditions


for people, but also for social progress. We will be talking about


that next week. I was asked to take over the leadership under very


difficult conditions, together with my colleagues I have worked as hard


as possible to bring Labour Party values, Labour Party principles into


the heart of Irish politics, about getting people jobs and employment,


and about improving people's lives and making social conditions better.


They remain at the heart of what Labour wants to do in Ireland, and


we will continue with that even though today we have had a setback.


The Labour leader Joan Burton. Let's talk about gender quotas. It has


been an issue, Mary, talk about the significance. What parties had to do


under a new law was ensured 30% of their candidates going into this


election were female and if they did not hit the target then a very


significant funding cut would be faced, 50% of their state funding,


which is millions for some of the bigger parties. It has caused


difficulties for parties around the country because particularly "party


of out" Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have had to tag on some extra women


-- particularly parties like. I'm not entirely convinced it has had a


huge impact as yet, though it is early days. Let's just take a quick


look at the state of the parties. A few changes while we have been on


air. This is now with 98 out of 158 seats, 29 for Fianna Fail, four for


Labour, 28 for Fine Gael, 13 for Sinn Fein and 24 for the


independents and others. We hear that Gerry Adams is likely to be


returned in County Down, likely to be returned within the next few


minutes. That is about it, thank you all very much indeed from this


special edition of Sunday Politics. It will be intriguing to see how


things unfold here in the next few weeks.


Join me for Stormont Today on Monday night at 11.15pm on BBC Two.


And no doubt we'll touch on the significance of what's been


happening here over the weekend in Thursday's View,


For now, though, from everyone on the programme,


clearly the Government of Fine Gael and Labour are not going to be


returned to office.


A live Sunday Politics special on the Irish election results presented by Mark Carruthers, featuring coverage of the counts and a range of politicians and commentators.

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