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COMMENT: Would you bet against an autumn general election?

Monday, 16th July, 2018 7:59am

Story by Tony McCullagh
COMMENT: Would you bet against an autumn general election?

Dublin Ireland - August 7 2017: Closeup of Historic beige Government Building in Merrion Street Upper with gray dome and clock under blue sky with white clouds. Statues in facade and Irish flag

COMMENT: Would you bet against an autumn general election?

Dublin Ireland - August 7 2017: Closeup of Historic beige Government Building in Merrion Street Upper with gray dome and clock under blue sky with white clouds. Statues in facade and Irish flag

AS OUR hardworking TDs head off on their summer holliers, many of them will wonder what lies ahead when the Dáil resumes in the autumn.

Confirmation that Michael D Higgins is to seek a second term has all but made the Presidential Election the non-event of the year. Despite the fact that a few contenders are determined to ensure that he doesn’t enjoy an unopposed run, the contest is already looking like a damp squib.

But even with a few more referendums thrown in for the craic, it’s still likely to be a pretty boring polling day - unless, of course, we have a general election added to the mix.

Maybe it was the heatwave, but there was a certain tetchiness to our politicians in the run up to the summer recess. We had our glorious leader making ill-advised comments about the media (and behind their backs, too – tut, tut). It was possibly Leo’s cringiest moment since his toe-curling ‘Love Actually’ comments in Downing Street.

The Independents were also running amok. Shane Ross got his tough new drink driving laws across the line, offending a few rural TDs in the process.

Meanwhile, Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath was reported to have launched an “emotional” attack on his Fine Gael colleagues at last week’s Cabinet meeting. It had echoes of his threat to vote against the Government last year in a row over the Stardust tragedy.

When it comes to matters he cares passionately about, such as the funding of disability services, McGrath has a tendency to dig his heels in and the Taoiseach would be wise not to take his continued support for granted.

Over in Fianna Fáil, some Soldiers of Destiny were questioning their ongoing support for the fragile minority Government, while staying mindful of the Sinn Féin threat under new leader Mary Lou McDonald.

Fine Gael may have been feeling the love in the wake of the abortion referendum result. But as they face into a gloomy autumn and budget negotiations get underway, the feelgood factor will have faded. 

Then, of course, we’ll have more homeless families dreading another winter and the prospect of further chaos in our hospitals’ emergency departments.

With all this uncertainty in the air, some of our TDs may well use the summer break to tidy up their garden sheds and dust down those old election posters.

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