Why a Gallagher victory means the end for Fianna Fáil

Gallagher giving it the full gun

The cliché goes that it ain’t over till the fat lady sings, even if in Dana’s case it was over as soon as she opened her mouth, but it’s not far off now.

Seán Gallagher will be Ireland’s next president, and his election will mark the end of Fianna Fáil.

Think about it.

Crushed in the general election, the party that destroyed the country decided not to openly run a candidate, leaving the way open for one of their own to run.

In their hysterical chasing of Norris and McGuinness, the media missed it completely, despite how obvious it was.

In short, if it talks like Fianna Fáil, walks like Fianna Fáil and looks like Fianna Fáil, it is Fianna Fáil. Gallagher is Fianna Fáil, through and through.

But by the time the electorate realised what had happened, Gallagher had streaked ahead in the polls, and it was too late for his unmasking to make any difference.

Freed from having the Fianna Fáil brand on his non-existent posters, Gallagher could take the ideology but not the burden of recent history. It was a stunning coup, with far-reaching consequences for Fianna Fáil.

Despite the role having no direct influence on either, Gallagher spoke about jobs and entrepreneurship; that he will be able to deliver neither is beside the point.

The voters- especially the younger ones- liked what they heard. And while we were watching Norris, the spectacularly inept Gay Maitchell and Dana implode, and Michael D was desperately trying to keep his trap shut, Gallagher snuck up behind him and hared off into the lead.

What this affirms is that the majority of Irish people still have Dev in the their DNA. In a blind political taste test, they cannot choose the left, the liberals or those more nationalist than themselves.

Like kids with their faces pressed to the Christmas windows in Clery’s, they are naturally drawn to the small-business, small-minded, Galway tent set- the possibility that, whatever happens, they will be looked after. And screw everyone else.

And that is also why Fianna Fáil in their current form are finished.

Gallagher has shown that the people have not fallen out of love with their politics, but  with their party.

The brand of Fianna Fáil is now so toxic that, if they have any political common sense at all, it will never again be put before the people.

Enda Kenny’s crown as hide-and-seek champion of Ireland is under serious threat from everyone in Fianna Fáil- none of them have been seen or heard from since the campaign began, lest they infect their last man standing- Gallagher.

In 1989 another overblown Irish institution was in a similar situation.

A couple of years of hubris and spectacular arrogance were coming to close, and on New Year’s Eve the acolytes gathered in the Point Depot, as the O2 was then known.

The leader of the gang closed the show with a promise to go and “dream it all up again”.

U2 transformed themselves and came back bigger than ever.

Fianna Fáil in their current form will never achieve that, but that is what is needed.

U2 kept the name and changed what they stood for. Fianna Fáil will do the opposite, keeping the same tired, discredited policies and practices, but ditching their name and with it, their recent past.

And why wouldn’t they?

It worked for Seán Gallagher.

8 responses to “Why a Gallagher victory means the end for Fianna Fáil

  1. Pingback: Why a Gallagher victory means the end for Fianna Fáil - Journalist.ie·

  2. Really enjoyed reading this article. I vowed last week that I would never return to Ireland if a Fianna Fáil property developer, after everything that has happened, was elected President of Ireland. Given that it is now a statistical reality I have since changed it to a more modest ‘never live in Ireland again’. And,this I wholeheartedly mean. There is a deep political malaise behind this and it can be traced to the heart of the Irish public sphere. I struggle with the fact that we have become a vicarious sitcom. Ireland Illinois.

  3. I love your optimism GerryMulvenna. I mean that. On we go. The real entrepreneur in the Race to the Áras is Michael D Higgins. He was instrumental in kick starting the Irish Film Industry which even in today’s climate is set to be worth over a billion in the next few years.

  4. One of the great failings of Irish political analysis in Ireland is to misunderstand that FF was not merely a political party but a political movement of like minded people. It was founded by the small farmers, the gaa members, and crucially ex-irregulars. FF was as much an identity as a collection of political principles. Pragmatic, nationalist (small n), chreid siad san priomh teanga (but only a few words), anti-British (except we followed their currency, sold them our beef and took in our exiles), neutral (though Shannon can be used and they signed us up to the EEC) and anti-establishment (despite winning all but 6 elections). It is a party of contradictions, and has maintained consistent support (FF always got above 39% – bar 1927 and 2011) from the people who have their dinner in the middle of the day, who could turn their eyes away from the whiff of sulphur, in good times and bad. The shock to certain FG/labour members as to how these people can let them down (again) says more about them than it does about the plain people of Ireland. Perhaps, in the wake of a Gallagher victory (he’s no relation and mdh is getting my effective vote) they should console themselves with what Freud said of our race, ie that psychoanalysis was of no use to us whatsoever.

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