Tag Archives: General Election 2020

From top: Red C poll results in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post; Ireland Thinks poll results in yesterday’s Irish Mail on Sunday; newspaper panel on RTÉ’s Weekend on One;


On RTÉ Radio One’s Weekend on One.

Brendan O’Connor was after speaking to the show’s newspaper panel about yesterday’s most recent general election poll results when he referred to a “narrative” of the election that “this country is not doing well”.

During the newspaper panel section, Mr O’Connor spoke to the former leader of Fine Gael and former chairman of IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, Alan Dukes; political scientist at UCC Theresa Reidy; political reporter at The Irish Times Jennifer Bray; director of the ESRI Alan Barrett and Anna Marie McHugh, of the National Ploughing Association.

During their conversation, Mr O’Connor referred to an article by Richard Colwell, the CEO of Red C Research, in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post entitled ‘Youthquake a possibility as younger voters flock to Sinn Féin’.

He then had the following exchange with Mr Barrett.

Alan Barrett: “Very often, it’s digging down into the poll is as interesting as the poll itself and just to distil a number of themes. I suppose, as an economist, it won’t surprise you that I sort of, you know, focus on the economics bit on this and let me explain what I’m thinking the following way.

“Do you remember the phrase ‘it’s the economy, stupid’? And this was a mantra I think a lot of political people thought was a pretty sound way of running elections. This is really, really interesting.

“Because what we have in Ireland at the moment is, we have and economy that’s doing extremely well and we also have a poll which is telling us that the people actually trust the governing party, in this case, Fine Gael, most on the economy.

“And I think, and I’m looking at Theresa [Reidy] now, as the political scientist, in most countries in the world, if you have those sorts of numbers. There’d be a very high probability that the governing party was going to be re-elected. But in Ireland, we’re in this situation now that it looks like this will not be the case…”

Brendan O’Connor:A narrative has emerged here…”

Barrett: “It has…absolutely…”

O’Connor:That this country is not doing well. And a lot of people in the country are not doing well and that’s been the narrative of this election.”

Barrett:It has and obviously it’s getting traction, ok? But if you look at things like, you know, the standard things we look at, in terms of employment and wage growth – they, very, very often, those are really sort of the main drivers in this sort of situation.”


Barrett: “Let me come back to what I was saying, for fear there was a misunderstanding. All I was saying is, across the globe, ok, it tends to be the case, when the economies are going well, governing parties get elected.”

O’Connor: “But that’s what I’m asking. What’s the disconnect here?”

Barrett: “Well, clearly, clearly we do have major challenges in the area of health and housing, there’s absolutely no doubt about that, the childcare issue I think has been…you know, I think we all understand it and we all know that these issues are in play and they’re very, very challenging.

“And clearly then the way, the narrative of the election is sort of unfolding is that people are attracted to the parties whom they feel over more hope in these areas and that’s a perfectly reasonable and understandable thing.”


Alan Dukes: “First of all on the childcare issue, yes there are problems, yes there are problems of cost and availability. The fact remains…”

O’Connor: “It’s a problem of childcare, commuting and housing, it’s those three things coming together.”

Dukes: “Yes and when you look at the current state of provision and compare it with what was in 2011, for example, the improvement is huge. It’s certainly not at the point that suits everybody but the improvement is huge…”


O’Connor: “Why have Fine Gael lost control of the narrative then? Why are they not able to get the narrative you’re just talking about there?”

Dukes: “Because I think…”

O’Connor: “Longer life expectancy, lots of good health outcomes, unemployment way down. Where has that got lost in all of this?”

Dukes: “Because I think there’s a natural tendency in all of us to take the progress that’s been made for granted and to want more.”

Listen back in full here

This afternoon.

Fine Gael Election HQ, Dublin

Scenes from the launch of Fine Gael’s General Election 2020 manifesto in which party leader Leo Varadkar promises to:

Increase current health funding by €5bn over next five years.

Recruit 5,000 nurses and 3,840 primary care workers and to provide free GP care for under 18s.

Increase the point at which a single person pays the higher rate of tax to €50,000 euro and €100,000 for a couple.

Expand the Help-to-Buy scheme to help more people to buy their first home.

Increase the State pension by €25 a week, over five years.

Pledges on health, USC and help-to-buy in Fine Gael manifesto (RTÉ)


This morning/afternoon.

Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin.

Fianna Fáil Party Leader Micheál Martin launching the Fianna Fáil General Election 2020 manifesto

Among the pledges:

FF would lengthen maternity benefit to 30 weeks and bring in new childcare tax credits.

It would also double child benefit payments for the first month after the birth of a child.

Fianna Fáil also promises to reduce classroom sizes to a class size of 20 to 1 if in the next government.

The party will also reduce income taxes and cut capital gains tax to 25%.

On housing, the party will introduce a first-time buyers top SSIA-type scheme, capped at €10,000, and expand the current help to buy grant measures.

It also promises to build 50,000 affordable homes for prices below €250,000.

FF election manifesto promises €168m homeless fund and doubled child benefit payments (Irish Examiner)

Leah Farrell/RollingNews

Social Democrat co-leader Catherine Murphy and Social Democrat candidate for Dublin Fingal, Paul Mulvihill

This morning.

Round Room, Rotunda Hospital, Dublin

Social Democrats launch a policy document called Honest Politics – Restoring trust in politics and public life’. aiming to “tackle corruption in Irish political and public life”.

Policy proposals include:

A commitment to establishing an Independent Anti-Corruption unit with significant wide-ranging detection and prosecution powers

The establishment of an Electoral Commission, the introduction of an Oireachtas Commission vetting procedure for all senior appointments to public bodies,

Reform of the Ministers and Secretaries Act to make senior public servants accountable for their actions,

And a commitment to poverty-proof all legislative, policy, and budgetary decisions.

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said:

“Too often there is little if any accountability when wrongdoing is uncovered and that is why we believe that an Independent Anti-Corruption unit – with wide-ranging powers to investigate and prosecute is a necessary step which can not only help restore much-needed trust but also to put an end to the need for expensive and lengthy tribunals and commissions of investigation.”


This morning/afternoon.

Parnell Square, Dublin 1

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty talking to the media as he published Sinn Féin’s proposals to ‘put money back in the pockets of workers and families’ including a €1.2bn pledge to exempt anyone earning under €30,000 from paying Universal Social Charge.

Via The Irish Independent:

The party is also proposing to reduce the retirement age from 66 to 65 and increase the State pension by €20.

Combined these two measures will cost over €1.1bn. Sinn Féin is also again pledging to abolish the local property tax in this general election at a cost of nearly €500m.

“That shows the quantum of money that we’re talking about putting back into people’s pockets, but there’s other measures as well,” he said.

Mr Doherty also highlighted Sinn Féiin’s plan to abolish levies on non-life insurance policies at a cost of €630m per year. The party claims this will reduce premiums by around 5pc….

‘It’s up to them to do that’ – Sinn Féin won’t ask retiring TDs to give back some of their pension pots (Independent.ie)

Leah Farrell/Rollingnews

RTÉ’s Claire Byrne

Next Monday night.

On RTÉ One, at 9.35pm.

Claire Byrne Live Leaders’ Debate.

Laura Fitzgerald writes:

“Next Monday night (27th January) Claire Byrne will host the biggest Election 2020 leaders debate of the campaign so far.

“For the very first time RTÉ will broadcast a special leaders’ debate live from Galway.

“The seven political parties leaders joining Claire on stage for the major two-hour live debate will be: Mary Lou McDonald (Sinn Féin), Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael), Brendan Howlin (Labour), Micheál Martin (Fianna Fáil), Richard Boyd Barrett (Solidarity/People Before Profit), Eamon Ryan (Green Party) and Roísín Shortall (Social Democrats).

“The leaders will also face questions from an audience of over 300 people independently selected by RED C Research polling company.”


Thanks Laura


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the hustings in Cork.

Seems to be going quite well.

Earlier: A Limerick A Day


This afternoon.

Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2.

A traditional arrival to Sinn Féin’s General Election candidate launch in the Round Room of the Mansion House on the 101st anniversary of the meeting of the First Dáil.

Top from left:  Connor Murphy, Sinn Féin politician from Northern Ireland, Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin Leader, actress Fionnula Flanagan, Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Fein leader in Northern  Ireland and Pearse Doherty TD for Donegal.

Earlier: “If All [Sinn Féin Candidates] Were Elected They Still Wouldn’t Be In Government”