Thursday, 14th December 2017
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General Election averted by Tánaiste’s resignation

The resignation of Frances Fitzgerald as Tánaiste has brought an end to a very unsavoury period of Irish politics and averted a General Election. The drip feed of information on emails concerning the Department of Justice and the Tánaiste about the McCabe saga is not acceptable by any standards of natural justice to Mr. McCabe.

In Waterford the general mood of the electorate is one of anger and frustration which is similar to the national opinion. A five minute poll conducted by the Joe Duffy Live Line programme on Monday evening found that of the 5,000 people who responded ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to a general election, 71% answered that they did not want a General Election just prior to the Christmas festive season.

In Waterford there is speculation that there will also be changes in the make-up of the four TD’s to represent the constituency. Of the four TD’s representing Waterford in Dail Eireann three have confirmed their intention to contest the general election. They are Mary Butler, F.F.; David Cullinane, S.F.; John Halligan, Independent Alliance. There is a degree of uncertainty about the future intentions of Fine Gael’s John Deasy, T.D. as he did not put his name forward to the Fine Gael Convention held in Dungarvan on Monday night. Two candidates were selected to contest the general election and these were Senator Paudie Coffey and Colr. John Cummins, former Mayor of Waterford.

The reason that John Deasy did not put his name forward was put down to the fact that he was on government business in the United States where he was appointed to look after the interests of the Irish Diaspora. It is also understood he is recuperating from a hip procedure and had notified senior party officials in Fine Gael HQ of this. It is quite possible that his name will be added to the list by the National Executive of Fine Gael but it would be helpful to the electorate to know his future political intentions.

Of the other candidates who are expected to contest are Senator Grace O’Sullivan, The Green Party; Lee Walsh, Renua; Brendan Byrne, Labour Party who is seeking the Party’s nomination on Thursday night next. This is without prejudice to Seamus Ryan who also might seek a nomination. Fianna Fail could very well put forward another candidate and a favourite for nomination could well be Colr. Eamon Quinlan who has a high profile.

As of yet there has been no declaration of intent by another Independent apart from John Halligan to contest. However, a candidate may be put forward by one of the groups agitating for a second cath lab for University Hospital Waterford. This issue has been running since the last general election and if anything has escalated. A single issue candidate could very well be the surprise in this constituency.

Given the volatility of the electorate nationally there is no guarantee that any existing member of the Dail is considered a ‘Safe Seat’. The issues in Waterford are without doubt focused on health and jobs. Even though Frances Fitzgerald has fallen on her sword the life span of this minority Fine Gael government has been seriously jeopardised.

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