Pat Carey, outgoing Gaeltacht Minister
By Jasper Hamill
27 Feb 2011
The Irish electorate destroyed the incumbent party only months after the humiliating €85 billion (about £72bn) bail-out from the IMF and EU.
Exit polls suggest opposition party Fine Gael have won 36% of first-preference votes, just short of the majority needed to form a single-party government.
The polls indicate Fine Gael won 72 seats, while Fianna Fáil managed only 20, fewer than the resurgent Labour Party’s 38. Fine Gael is now expected to seek the backing of independents or Labour to form a coalition.
Fianna Fáil is estimated to have only 8% support in Dublin and may have failed to win a single seat in the capital.
Taoiseach-in-waiting Enda Kenny said the humbled Fianna Fáil party had lost touch with the Irish people.
“The lesson from this general election is that government should never remove themselves from the people,” he said. The people have voted with vigour and strength … This is a great day for the Fine Gael party.”
Senior figures in the centre-right party were bullish about their prospects and suggested a coalition government was far from inevitable.
According to an early count, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams won in Louth after giving up his Westminster seat north of the border to run in the Republic of Ireland’s election.
He said: “If Enda becomes Taoiseach, I wish him well.
“We will support him when he is doing things that we think are good and progressive, and we will oppose him tooth and nail when he is doing things that are not in the common good.”Conor Lenihan, a Fianna Fáil candidate who stood in Dublin South-West, was one of the first to admit defeat.“Clearly the tide was out for Fianna Fáil in Dublin,” he said.Pat Carey, outgoing Gaeltacht Minister, said: “There’s no shame in losing – the shame will be if we didn’t learn from it.”Fine Gael promised “Smaller, Better Government” during their campaign, promising to reduce the deficit by cutting waste rather than hiking up income tax.
Fianna Fáil has governed for 60 of the past 80 years and guided the country towards its Celtic Tiger economic successes. It has since been blamed for the subsequent recession which has gripped Ireland for three years.
Fine Gael promised “Smaller, Better Government” during their campaign, promising to reduce the deficit by cutting waste rather than hiking up income tax.
Well we will see, I expect an emergency Budget and tax hikes and wholesale selling off of state assets, further job losses and further cuts in health services and introduction of water charges, family home taxes, closing down of some of the Banks and job losses there too for starters and an increase in emigration. All this will be for nothing as I still expect us to default anyway. I will be betting that the government will last only tops 24 months any takers?