Party of Aspiration




Gresham Hotel, Dublin 1

Scenes from the third Social Democrats National Conference.

In a joint statement, co leaders Catherine Murphy and Roisin Shorthall said:

“People are increasingly asking the question – where is Fine Gael taking us and is it really where we want to go?

We had many doorstep conversations at last months’ local elections about overspends on the Children’s Hospital and the National Broadband plan and people were dismayed at the laissez-faire attitude of Fine Gael to such colossal cost overruns while basic services are starved of critical investment.

People are seeing, more clearly than ever, the disparity between the politics of privilege and the lives of ordinary working people. The flathúleach approach of the spin-perfect glossy privilege of Fine Gael is at odds with the daily lives of those working to stand still.

Fine Gael pay lip-service to a so-called squeezed middle but they never put any squeeze on those at the very top of the tree. And, for most people who are not at the top of that tree, the current government has failed.”

Fine Gael failing people who feel their ordinary aspirations are a pipe-dream (Social Democrats)


35 thoughts on “Party of Aspiration

  1. bisted

    …heard there was a split…are these the real soc dems or the continuity soc dems…the one question that Broadsheet will have an inside track on…

  2. Jonickal

    They didn’t make the breakthrough they were hoping for in the local elections. Hard to see them take more than 2 seats in the next general election. Maybe Gary Gannon will win them a 3rd seat.

    1. Liam

      they trebled their local representation, that’s pretty good. It was overshadowed by the Green’s success.

      1. Jonickal

        They did treble their council seats, but 19 seats from 949 is not a good breakthrough.

  3. Qwerty123

    Best case scenario for socdems is coalition government, with Greens and FF/FG and a bunch of indos.

    Then they will change everything for the better for the squeezed middle for sure….

    1. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane


      In fact there was no reason for them not to participate in this Government

      Roisin Shortall was a brilliant Junior Minister – Zappone shouldn’t have got a lookin if the Socdems made themselves available
      And I sincerely think Catherine Murphy could have played a blinder in Communications Climate Action etc and in Finance

      They missed their moment
      And Donnelly recognised this and ran

      What a waste
      Because if they were part of this Government instead of the Alliance we wouldn’t be looking at a General of another couple of years

      Additionally, if they’d a seat or three at the table they’d have faired way better in the locals

      1. Ciuncainteach

        Respectfully disagree Frilly.

        Catherine Murphy has played a blinder in opposition because there’s arguably nobody better to hold the Executive’s feet to the fire. Having her in the Cabinet, as a representative of the (significantly) junior party, would negate her effectiveness in my opinion.

        1. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

          That’s not a disagreement C, but I appreciate your manners,

          Its not a disagreement because it is a fact
          No way would Catherine Murphy be allowed contribute from the Government side of the house with the passion, determination, eloquence and effort, skill and independence she can from the Opposition Pews,
          She would be required to provide the Dept / Government response to everything

          The Social Democrats missed an opportunity to get their party out of the ground by not making themselves available to the FG team during the formation talks
          So instead we got Ross, Zappone, Naughton the ex, Groucho and Boxer

          It was a major strategic error by them
          And now they are a party with a major imbalance
          Losing Stephen Donnelly, and I know I picked on him before via the FK column, was a huge blow that they have not recovered from
          Or even made any attempt to rectify
          So its no surprise to note (via Bisto above) that there may be a split

          I also think that Summer School aka event for their recently elected Councillor Tara Deacy was another bad wide

          Don’t be fooled by a swing in the Locals; they were starting out with very little presence anyway, so any addition is going to show +%

      2. Qwerty123

        @Vanessa – I agree apart from the what a waste bit. Shortall has the experience, granted, but ask North Kildare people what Murphy has ever done. It ain’t much

        1. Joe Small

          Roisin Shorthall was regarded as difficult to deal with in government.
          Its telling that they held their conference in Dublin City Centre – makes them look even more the urban-centred fringe party.
          People assumed that they would take Labour’s matle as a moderate left-wing party but, even with Labour floundering with Howlin at the helm, their poor showing of 5.7% is ore than double of the Soc Dems (2.3%) and Labour have three times as many seats as them.
          Its desperately difficult for a new party to sustain itself in this country and victory by joining government will be met with crushing defeat by a disillusioned electorate.

        2. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

          I’m particularly offay with Kildare – North and South politics
          although South is now redrawn and will present as a four-seater the next time it goes in-front of the people

          I promise you
          an extraordinary event – Boris Johnson stuff, permitting
          That Catherine Murphy will top the poll there again
          I’m personally disappointed she doesn’t try to a least come to a voting arrangement locally to make use of her surplus
          The way Danny HR does
          But that’s Politics
          Ask Michael Lowry

          1. Qwerty123

            She topped last time, but, anecdotally, I am hearing people are not happy, especially Maynooth (huge town, 20k+ growing rapidly, no library, police station, swimming pool etc etc)

            She has been about there for a long time, since the DL days, I can see her slipping down, but still elected alright.

          2. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

            Catherine is a very visible TD
            Her constituents appreciate that
            Even if they’ve never voted in Kildare North before
            She’ll get a scratch

            She could run in any Constituency
            In fact
            If she’d ah’ run in Dublin EU she would have got through
            Then run Anne Marie McNally in the By-election In Kildare North
            You’d have to wonder where their heads are at
            It’ll be interesting to see how Anne Marie gets on in Frances’ former Dáil Constituency
            Dublin Midwest
            I think the landscape there is very different now than when she ran there in ’16

          3. Rob_G

            “She could run in any Constituency
            In fact
            If she’d ah’ run in Dublin EU she would have got through
            Then run Anne Marie McNally in the By-election In Kildare North”

            – I think you might be overestimating the popularity of the SocDems at all levels again, Frilly.

          4. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

            Of all the things I’ve been accused of here
            That overestimating the popularity of the SocDems
            Is definitely up there with the unicorns

            Catherine Murphy would have given Frances a right run
            As well as chipped a few off Cuffe’s and Boylan’s

            AM Mc’s chances in Kildare North are way more favourable in a Bye Election
            Than they are in Dublin West for Frances Fitz seat, and even there in the General she’s going to struggle again

            Over the last 12 months, Strategically, the Soc Dems can’t put a foot right for putting two wrong
            They’re always on the back foot over something

            And it’s a shame
            Because an alternative to Labour
            A soft left, with healthy generous liberal values, kinda
            Is exactly what the voter is looking for

            Ara’ lookit
            I dunno why I bother
            Ye don’t want to hear all this from me

            Night. V

          5. PaddyM

            It’ll be interesting to see how Anne Marie gets on in Frances’ former Dáil Constituency
            Dublin Midwest
            I think the landscape there is very different now than when she ran there in ’16

            Given that Anne-Marie failed to get elected to the county council last month, the omens aren’t good.

            (Actually, a lot of the SDs prospective Dáil candidates – Sinéad Gibney, Tracey Carey, Sarah Durcan, Sarah-Jane Hennelly – fell well short last month.)

          6. Rob_G

            @ Frilly – you predicted a couple of months ago that Gary Gannon would be an MEP by now; he didn’t even come close.

      3. Zaccone

        +1 to this. They could have done real good in government, its a shame they stayed out. Donnelly was right to quit over it I think.

        They’ll probably get another opportunity after the next election at least. Hopefully they take it this time, if they don’t I can only see them dying off once Murphy&Shortall retire.

        1. Surethatsthatnow.

          Maynooth has a library, has a Garda station (granted could have more Garda hours) and a swimming pool has been promised and should be delivered within the next two years…so dont know what you are on about there Qwery 123…

      4. PaddyM

        Because if they were part of this Government instead of the Alliance we wouldn’t be looking at a General of another couple of years

        Additionally, if they’d a seat or three at the table they’d have fared way better in the locals

        I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree with you – the last few years have shown that FG (certainly in their current incarnation) don’t play well with smaller children and the smaller children are the ones who get the rough end of the stick as a result. Go into government as a very small component and they would be obliterated.

        1. Al Bin Man

          that’s not actually true
          Halligan, Ross and Boxer have made out like bandits. I was shocked to discover Halligan is a Minister for something or other the other day. Lords save us

          1. Rob_G

            Halligan has just gotten €5m for an airport that no-one uses; Leo was even on with Brendan O’Connor defending this blatant parish pump-ism.

  4. Worlds Biggest Ranter

    Great hurlers on the ditch but under no circumstances should they be let set policy. They’d be lethal. Sweeties for the great unwashed and no way of paying for it. I admire their resolute conviction to their beliefs all the same but they have to accept their voter base is in the hand out section of society. Those hand outs have to come from somewhere!

  5. Dhaughton99

    Gannon needs to remove the 2 posters still up outside the Park West business park.

  6. eoin

    This is Mick Wallace and Clare Daly’s last week in the Dail, ahead of them having a fight in Brussels if they’re not allowed sit together.

    Now that Click has left the Dail, we will be depending on Roisin and Catherine x2, they’re both terrific politicians who can grasp detail and see the big picture.

    As the UK and US have shown us, outsiders can grow exponentially if they can get the right big message across. I thought the SocDems would do with anti-corruption, I really did. Maybe there’s still time.

  7. Gabby

    Two, maybe three, will win seats in the 2020 general election and it will be by force of personality. Social Democracy is not a ‘movement’ in Irish politics. Centrist inertia is the constant element in our politics. Motion like a mill is busy standing still.

    1. Al Bin Man

      Also they just don’t have the party discipline and organization – same with Shinners – when Gerry cult abated there was no one there to venerate

      Not like the Greens

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