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Well the count is almost over in Ireland. While the election of a Fine Gael lead government is hardly a cause for great celebration, the election has nonetheless produced some excellent results.
That was Joe Higgins, MEP and Socialist Party member, delivering some truths about the Irish Bailout. And now he has been elected to serve as a voice of opposition in the next Irish Parliament, after beating the outgoing Finance minister in Dublin West. He will be one of five TD’s from the new United Left Alliance who have won seats in the Dail for the first time.
Meanwhile Sinn Fein, who ran on a radical programme of repudiating the Ireland EU/IMF debt more than doubled its representation in the Dail after winning over 10 per cent of the vote, with Gerry Adams coming first in the seat of Louth. This was in spite of a heavy going media campaign against his party from day one.
The big news is that governing party Fianna Fail – which has dominated Ireland from the right for decades – was pushed decisively into third place after gaining just 15 per cent of the vote. Labour came Second. It is to early to say whether this is the beginning of a historic realignment in Irish politics, but 7 decades for which the Republic has been dominated by two conservative parties might just be coming to an end.
The Government will be lead by Fine Gael, a centre right party who managed to pull out some vaguely egalitarian sounding rhetoric for this election and have promised, somewhat ambiguously to “renogotiate” the interest on Ireland huge debt – a debt many Irishmen rightly regard a illegitimate. Whether they get anywhere will depend on whether sufficient pressure emerges from the Irish street -and from the country’s new opposition – for the EU to be convinced that they ought to spare a few breadcrumbs from the banquet table, lest they end up facing something worse.
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