Tag Archives: General Election

Slogans used by Social Democrats and Green Party resonated. Not so Fine Gael.

This afternoon

Dublin-based media monitors Truehawk Media tracked some of the key slogans (and variants) used by parties and their supporters during the General Election (part of a deep dive into the election at link below).

They write:

‘…We found 99% of results (from a cumulative 42.5k related media items) appeared on Twitter.

The Green Party’s ‘Want Green, Vote Green’ slogan won out, followed by the Social Democrat’s ‘Vote for better/Hope for better’ slogans (combined).

Use of hashtags/slogans also peaked for the Greens and the Social Democrats on voting day with 1,248 and 1,222 tweets respectively.

Away from Twitter, Sinn Féin’s messaging had stronger positioning in press and online, as their stance on a united Ireland and theme of ‘Change’ outranked all.

This was followed by Fianna Fáil’s ‘An Ireland for all’ and then by Fine Gael’s ‘A future to look forward to’.

While some attention had been paid to negative campaigning tactics, notably by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, these did not resonate strongly

…One critique of Sinn Féin’s campaigning could be attributed to the lack of clarity of party slogans which didn’t play out clearly on Twitter. However, their engagement levels were stronger than Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Meanwhile, the Green Party and Social Democrats are to be commended for the focused messaging they and their supporters communicated which saw them achieving gains at the polls

GE2020: A Tale of Two Mediums (Truehawk)

Earlier: 50 Ways To Form A Government

Thanks Derek Finnegan

Dublin estate agent advert

One hundred per cent.

On a war footing: How the biggest parties want to tackle the housing crisis (Sean Keyes, The Currency)

From top: RTÉ Prime Time studio, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan and David McCullough

Last night.

On RTÉ One’s Prime Time.

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald took part in the final TV leaders’ debate ahead of this Saturday’s general election.

Miriam O’Callaghan and David McCullough moderated the debate and there was no studio audience.

During a discussion about housing and homelessness, Mr Varadkar was asked about the homeless man who suffered life-changing injuries last month after he and his tent were scooped up while Dublin City Council and Waterways Ireland were clearing tents from along the Grand Canal near Leeson Street Bridge in Dublin.

Mr Varadkar claimed the man has asked for privacy and a housing plan is being put in place for him.

Ms McDonald raised Inner City Helping Homeless’ concerns about the latest official homeless figures, which showed a drop in the number of people living in emergency accommodation. However, at the moment she mentioned this, Ms O’Callaghan asked Ms McDonald to, instead, answer Mr Varadkar’s question about the number of people who are homeless in Northern Ireland.

The Fine Gael leader went on to claim there are 20,000 people homeless in Northern Ireland.

However, a fact check carried out by Caroline O’Doherty of the Irish Independent has proved his is false. She reports the “the actual homelessness figure in the North i.e. those in hostels or other emergency accommodation, is closer to 5,000 with the equivalent in the Republic being around 10,400”.

From the debate:

Leo Varadkar: “At the moment there are 6,000 social houses being built on 300 publicly owned sites at the moment across the country and we are starting to see results. According to Daft.ie today, rents have fallen for the first time in eight years, house prices are levelling off, homeless figures have, at long last, are starting to fall back to where they were in 2018…”

O’Callaghan: “Ok, let me come back in there, Leo Varadkar…”

Varadkar: “…according to charities like the Peter McVerry…”

O’Callaghan: “…let me come back there…”

Varadkar: “…Trust…”

O’Callaghan: “Because it’s an interview, just let me come back in there…”

Varadkar: “…that’s because of the increase in social housing being provided. We need to see this though.”


Varadkar: “Among my best days as Taoiseach has been going into new housing estates, seeing people who’ve been on the housing list or young couples who have bought their first home, getting the keys for their house and going into that house.”

O’Callaghan: “There’s not enough of them..”

Varadkar: “You’re going to see more and more of them, as time goes on because of the changes we’ve made. It’s taken two years of investment but we now see rents falling.

“We now see people who are homeless falling and we now see house prices levelling off. But there are some people who think that the housing crisis can’t get worse. It can. The rent freeze idea, tried in Berlin, made things worse. Just froze people. [Legislation for the rent freeze in Berlin just passed on January 30th and will reportedly come into effect mid-February]

“Reduced supply and froze people out of renting altogether. And also we have Micheál Martin here who can’t be trusted on this, he signed off on a Fianna Fáil manifesto, full of typos about housing and he signed a manifesto calling for a rent freeze which he didn’t agree with and then blamed on officials in HQ. That is not the kind of person you want to be Taoiseach of this country.”

O’Callaghan: “Leo Varadkar you’ve all mentioned homelessness and I suppose we’ve been talking about people who can’t afford to buy their own home, people who can’t afford to rent.

“But, I mean, there are people out there who literally do not have a roof over their heads.

“At the beginning of this campaign, Leo Varadkar, a homeless man in his tent was lifted, as you know, like a piece of rubbish. He ended up with life-changing injuries. Most people in Ireland, they were really shocked by that and, for them, it almost symbolised how your Government, led by you, treated the homeless.

“And then, very shortly after that, maybe unintentionally, but you just tried to make a political point by pointing the finger at the Fianna Fáil Lord Mayor.”

Varadkar: “Well, first of all, my only regret is that that incident happened and that poor man got injured in the way that he did. And my only concern was to find out how it happened and why and to make sure it didn’t happen again.

“We’ve been in touch with that gentleman, a housing plan is being put in place for him. Thankfully his condition, he is stable and he has asked for privacy and I don’t want to make him an issue in this debate. 

“But when it comes to rough sleeping, when it comes to rough sleeping, working with the Peter McVerry Trust, we fund a programme called Housing First and what it does is it gives people a roof over their head and then gives them all the wraparound supports that they often need to deal with addiction, mental health issues, other issues, so that they could hold on to that new apartment, that new tenancy. That is working.

“Rough sleeping is actually, on the most recent count, down to it’s lowest level of four or five years. But I know it’s not enough, I know we need to do more on all these housing issues and I want to do so.”


McDonald: “I have to say I’m struck listening to both the leader of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, that perhaps they’re not fully in touch with the reality out on the ground. I mean I hear you speak Leo about people getting house keys for their homes. It almost sounds patronising to people. I mean the reality is that people have a right to expect…”

O’Callaghan: “Staying on homelessness though, for the moment, the figures have dropped, as Leo Varadkar said earlier. The homelessness figures have dropped.”

Varadkar: “How many people are homeless in Northern Ireland, Deputy McDonald? How many people are homeless in Northern Ireland?”

McDonald: “The figures are nothing to crow about. And in fact I notice that Inner City Helping Homeless was scrutinising and questioning the figures…”

O’Callaghan: “Will you just answer the question Leo Varadkar put to you there.”

McDonald: “The reality is that the homeless figures have gone, skyrocketed in this jurisdiction, where this election is happening…”

Varadkar: “How many people are homeless in Northern Ireland?”

McDonald: “..you tell me how many people are?”

Varadkar: “Officially and these are the official stats from Northern Ireland, there are 20,000 people homeless in Northern Ireland, more than is the case here in this State. The waiting lists in Northern Ireland are the worst in the UK, they’re actually worse than they are here. Suicide rates are three times higher, the pension age is going up to 66 in Northern Ireland this year and the pension there is only £125 a week…”

Talk over each other

Varadkar: “And it would be lower if it wasn’t for all the money that was coming in from the Tories…Sinn Féin does not want to talk about their record in government…”

Talk over each other

McDonald: “So Miriam, I’m sure somebody will factcheck that figure and find that it’s wrong. Leo should be aware that the island is partitioned, the purse strings unfortunately, for the North of Ireland, are held in London. We’ve endured a decade of Tory austerity and that has brought great hardship.

“And do you know what you should do, Leo. Instead of trying to score a political point, the next time if you are Taoiseach or Micheál, or whoever is in office, challenge the British government on that point. Challenge them on funding. I don’t recall you ever doing that…”


Towards the end of the debate, Ms O’Callaghan had the following exchange with Ms McDonald about comments made 13 years ago by the current Sinn Féin Minister for Finance in the North Conor Murphy to the BBC about 21-year-old Paul Quinn who was murdered in 2007.

Earlier, Ms McDonald was asked about her view of the Special Criminal Court (see below).

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Mary Lou McDonald you know, of course, about Breege Quinn, the mother of Paul Quinn, the 21-year-old who was so horrifically beaten to death in November 2007. Now she is asking for an apology, from your Minister for Finance in the North Conor Murphy because he aligned her son to criminality. You were due to speak to Minister Murphy today. Did you speak to him, to clarify?”

Mary Lou McDonald: “I did, Miriam and you’re right, Paul Quinn had a horrific death and the only criminals, to be clear, involved in this scenario are the people who so cruelly and viciously took his life so I have spoken to Conor. He is aware that the comments that he made after the murder of Paul Quinn have caused hurt and that that hurt has endured so he apologises for those remarks, he withdraws those remarks and he’ll speak to Breege Quinn and the family directly. I mean I’ve had the view that he needs to speak to the family directly.”

O’Callaghan: “OK, Mary Lou, I was watching you last night being interviewed by Bryan Dobson and you said then, and this is a quote from you last night, ‘I’ve spoken to Conor Murphy about this issue before, he is very clear that he never said that, that that is not his view’.”

McDonald: “Yes.”

O’Callaghan: “So you’ve changed your position?”

McDonald: “Well, in a way Miriam, what matters is what the family have heard and what matters is that the family…”

O’Callaghan: “What matters is what he said. Because actually, we found the quote today.”

McDonald: “Yeah.”

O’Callaghan: “It was on BBC in November 2007, a month after Paul was murdered and what Minister Murphy said was and I’ll quote him again verbatim on the BBC ‘Paul Quinn was involved in smuggling and criminality. I think everyone accepts that. As I say, this is a very difficult situation as there is a family grieving and I don’t want to add to their grief’.”

McDonald: “So let me just say, those things should not have been said. Those things should not have been said. Conor withdraws them and apologies.”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “Last night you said they weren’t said.”

McDonald: “Pardon me?”

O’Callaghan: “Last night you said they weren’t said.”

McDonald: “My, my, to be honest with you, Miriam, my recollection was that he had not been as explicit as that. The remarks were wrong, they’re withdrawn correctly and will be apologised for, directly to Mrs Quinn and her family.”

O’Callaghan: “So your remarks, sorry, to Bryan last night were wrong too?”

McDonald: “Yes, well obviously, I was not, I, I, I remembered Conor being not quite as direct on this matter.”

O’Callaghan: “He had told you that he’s very clearly said he never said that and that is not his view. He told you he had never said that. Were you annoyed he’d said that?”

McDonald: “No, that’s not…my sole concern in this is that the family have been hurt and the remarks made need to be withdrawn and apologised for. That’s the correct thing to do.”

O’Callaghan: “So Conor Murphy is going to, Minister Murphy is going to apologise…”

McDonald: “Oh, absolutely that’s the correct and decent thing to do. A family that has lost their son in such brutal circumstances doesn’t need the additional hurt and grief.”

O’Callaghan: “And then, finally, Mary Lou, I heard Breege Quinn on Drivetime actually, talking to Mary Wilson and she also just said that she would like Minister Murphy to go to the PSNI, or the gardai, and just give the names of the men, the IRA men, in Cullyhanna, he spoke to. Would he do that now aswell do you think? Because Breege Quinn wants them to.”

McDonald: “What I am sure of and I’m sure of these facts, having spoken again to Conor is that he has in fact spoken to the PSNI and to the gardai. They have to investigate this matter. People with information need to bring it…”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “And give them the names of the men he spoke to…”

McDonald: “…need to bring it, that information forward.”

Earlier in the debate, Ms McDonald was also asked about the Special Criminal Court.

David McCullough: “Could I please ask you to answer the question about the Special Criminal Court?”

McDonald: “Let me just say, I support the judicial system, the gardai and all of the apparatus of the State. Let me say this: our manifesto sets out very clearly that we want increased resources from An Garda Síochána…”

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Mary Lou McDonald, can I just say David asked you a very straight question because we do want to move on to the issue that matter to people, like housing.”

McDonald: “Yes.”

O’Callaghan: “Are you for or against the Special Criminal Court?”

McDonald: “I’m for the courts.”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “That’s not the question.

Micheál Martin: “But you’re against the Special Criminal Court?”

O’Callaghan: “We’re asking the questions. Mary Lou?”

McDonald: “I am for the courts, the Special Criminal Court exists, I accept that we need mechanisms and special powers. What we have been calling for, for the last four years, is for a review, led by a High Court judge to ensure that the courts, the gardai, the DPP’s office have the full resources that they need to keep communities safe.”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “Do you personally believe the Special Criminal Court should remain, Mary Lou McDonald? Do you personally believe the Special Criminal Court should remain, yes or no?”

McDonald: “I believe that we need special powers to do…we’ve 21st…”

Talk over each other

O’Callaghan: “That’s not what I asked you…”

McDonald: “We have 21st century criminals, we need 21st century processes to deal with them.”

O’Callaghan: “Ok, we didn’t get an answer, I’m actually moving on to housing.”

McDonald: “I think that’s a very fair, a very, very fair answer.”

Leo Varadkar: “The leader of Sinn Féin will not give you a straight answer to a straight question because she doesn’t want you to hear the answer and we’re going to hear a lot of this tonight.”

O’Callaghan: “People at home will have heard that, we don’t need to dwell on that.”

McDonald: “Can I help by clarifying, can I clarify it this way perhaps. The abolition of the court is not in our manifesto. We’re not arguing for that.”

Micheál Martin: “No, but Sinn Féin have voted against the Offences Against the State Act, Sinn Féin have voted against the Offences Against the State Act every year since they came into the Dáil.”

O’Callaghan: “Ok.”

Martin: “Simple reason why, the IRA old comrades decided they could never vote for the Special Criminal Court or support it, that’s the reality of what happened.”

O’Callaghan: “Ok. We’re moving on, Micheál Martin. We’re moving on to an issue that is of immense importance. Housing and homelessness…”

More to follow

Watch back in full here



Stop that.

Screenshot from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s election campaign video which he launched on Twitter; the video was subsequently deleted


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar posted a video about himself – which included RTÉ footage of himself – to launch his general election campaign.

It following his announcement that the election will take place on Saturday, February 8.

The clip also confirmed that the party’s slogan is A Future To Look Forward To.


Last night.

Cormac McQuinn, on Independent.ie, reported the video was removed from his Twitter profile because it contained RTÉ News footage without permission.

Mr McQuinn reported:

…It opened with international news broadcasters saying his name and a caption that claims he “secured a deal to protect Ireland’s interests” in the Brexit talks.

It also included RTÉ News footage featuring news reader Eileen Dunne which was posted without the broadcaster’s permission.

….A Fine Gael spokesman said the issue was as a result of a “technical oversight”.

He added: “Our production company previously attempted to contact RTE several times regarding use of this footage.

“The two second clip has been re-edited,” he added.


‘Clip has been re-edited’ – Varadkar removes election video that used RTÉ News footage without permission (Cormac McQuinn, Independent.ie)

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin

This evening.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin spoke to Mary Wilson on RTÉ’s Drivetime ahead of a meeting he is expected to hold with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Thursday.

They discussed the confidence and supply agreement that his party shares with Fine Gael and which underpins the Government.

They had this exchange…

Mary Wilson: “If there’s a vote of no confidence put down in the Minister for Health, what will Fianna Fáil do?”

Micheál Martin: “Well, if there’s an agreement to Easter, in our view, there will be no need for such motions of confidence or no confidence.”

Wilson: “But if there is one?”

Martin: “If there’s an agreement, we’ll stand by the agreement…”

Wilson: “So you’ll abstain?”

Martin: “…as we have…”

Wilson: “You’ll abstain?”

Martin: “As we have with all other agreements.”

Wilson: “You’ll abstain?”

Martin: “But I think we’ll have to be in agreement in advance, in my view. Otherwise, everybody is vulnerable to the opportunism that such motions represent. We had one before Christmas, Mary. Everybody knew it was a pre-Christmas stunt. No-one wanted an election on the 28th of December. I’m talking about the motion of no confidence in [Housing Minister] Eoghan Murphy. So I’m not really, I’ve no interest in that type of political stunt-making.

“But what I am interested in is the way to avoid all of that is to have a sensible agreement and others then might follow – Independents and other smaller parties might say ‘you know, that’s reasonable, let’s get four or five important pieces of legislation through…”

Listen back in full here


Fiach Kelly, in The Irish Times, reports:

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said there is “no question” of his party voting for the Government as requested by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Mr Varadkar has asked Mr Martin to support the Government in some Dáil votes if he wants to secure an election date.

Mr Martin told Newstalk he will not change his approach, setting up a confrontation between the pair at a meeting on Thursday night to discuss the election date and the end of the confidence and supply deal.

The meeting will take place in Dublin although the time and venue have not yet been confirmed.

Micheál Martin says ‘no question’ of his party voting for Government (The Irish Times)

Micheál Martin says ‘no question’ of his party voting for Government (Newstalk)

Listen to the Newstalk interview in full here

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton in the lobby of his department in Dublin this morning

ThIs morning/afternoon.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton has said he is “absolutely confident” that the no-confidence motion in the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy will be defeated in the Dáil tomorrow night.

However, he added that if Opposition parties want to have a Christmas election then they should “bring it on“.


Earlier: That Seemed To Go Well Part 2

That Seemed To Go Well

Previously: Too Posh To Be Pushed


Former Independent MEP Marian Harkin

This morning.

Ocean FM reports:

There is growing speculation that former [Independent] TD and MEP, Marian Harkin, could stand for Fine Gael in the Sligo-Leitrim constituency at the next General Election.

Ocean FM News understands there has been contact between senior Fine Gael officials and Ms Harkin in recent weeks in relation to her candidacy.

Ms Harkin is not commenting on the matter, nor is the Fine Gael party.

Harkin to contest general election for Fine Gael (Ocean FM)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

This lunchtime.

RTÉ reports:

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has ruled out holding a general election before Christmas.

It is understood that at a meeting with Fine Gael ministers this morning, Mr Varadkar told colleagues that this would not be in the best interest of the country given that Brexit remains unresolved.

The issue was raised by the Taoiseach himself following speculation in recent days about the timing of an election.

Taoiseach rules out pre-Christmas general election (RTÉ)

Earlier: “This Is About A Very Small Number Of Fine Gael Ministers Wanting To Get Out Of Their Current Job”


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Laura Kuenssberg, of BBC, tweetz:

PM [Boris Johnson] putting down motion for a general election to be voted on on Monday, to take place on 12th December – No 10’s gambit is that if Labour agrees, then they will timetable Brexit bill again with time for scrutiny until 6th November when they want to dissolve Parliament.

Boris Johnson pushes for December 12 general election (ITV)

This morning.

Members of Fine Gael, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Agriculture and Cork TD Michael Creed (centre pic) and Maria Bailey TD and Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD (above), at the party’s ‘think-in’ at Garryvoe Hotel in Garryvoe, Co Cork.


On RTÉ’s News At One

Tánaiste Simon Coveney, above, told the show:

“Fine Gael is a safe pair of hands in Government. Yes, we’ve made some mistakes….I would ask people to judge governments and judge political parties by their record and I think, by the time an election comes around next May, I would hope that we’ll be able to stand over a very strong record.”

Listen back in full here



Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told those attending the Fine Gael think-in:

“I have always said that I believed that the next general election should take place in the summer of 2020.

I think May 2020 is the right moment. It will allow to us to complete a full parliamentary session in the new year, discharge our Government duties around St Patrick’s Day and the March European Council and have a new Government in place well in advance of the next summer recess.”

May 2020 is the ‘right moment’ for a general election, says Taoiseach (The Irish Times)