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Flannery Dropped as FG Director of Elections

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Enda Kenny has dropped Frank Flannery as the Fine Gael director of elections following controversy caused by Flannery’s remarks during the recent election campaign, The Indo reports.

Update: The Irish Times say that it is not a “demotion” but that the director of elections position was not a continuous role.

For those not up to speed, Flannery said during the recent election campaign that Fine Gael would consider the possibility of a coalition with Sinn Féin after a general election. Following the remarks Kenny and others then jumped up and said that Flannery was only expressing a personal opinion.

Flannery’s comments were clearly rubber-stamped by the party, it was a kite-flying exercise that went wrong. Colm Burke, FG MEP in South who lost his seat, came out after the count and said he believed it impacted his transfers [looking for cite link, racking brains], I’m sure there are others in Fine Gael who agree.

To me, shifting Flannery looks like a move designed to show Kenny’s leadership qualities. It is being done to reassert his full control in the eyes of the core-vote. Flannery has been relieved of his director of elections role, but not as director of organisation. Don’t be surprised if he’s still running things behind the scenes when the next election rolls ‘round.

The Indo have a quote from a senior TD saying “Enda had to address it today and he did. No unelected person will be talking on behalf of the party”. So maybe there was some collective feathers ruffled in de’grassroots caused by a non-elected spokesperson speaking on policy.

Deaglan DeBreadun has an excellent post on the Irish Times politics blog partly about the hypocrisy of the whole FG/SF situation.

DeBreadun says -

The carry-on over Fine Gael and Sinn Féin was “a bit of craic”. Frank Flannery dropped a heavy hint to his party’s supporters that it was ok now to transfer to the “Shinners”. It apparently went down like the proverbial lead balloon with the core-vote Blueshirts.

As the Americans say, “I don’t have a dog in this fight” but I can’t help noticing that we expect the unionists up North to share power with these people, so what’s the big deal south of the Border?

Many members of the unionist community actually died at the hands of the Provisional IRA, yet the DUP and UUP are called bigots if they don’t go into government with the political wing of the Provos. Can someone out there explain why it is different down here?

The political permeations within Fine Gael get more interesting by the day, at least for political anoraks.

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5 Responses to “Flannery Dropped as FG Director of Elections”

  1. # Comment by Keith Jun 11th, 2009 12:06

    I spy the fingers of one Phil Hogan, who will want to assume the role of National Director of Elections (despite losing as seat as European Director of Elections).

  2. # Comment by Michael Walsh Jun 11th, 2009 13:06

    Surely what really happened here was that a Fine Galer went off on a limb, annoyed party HQ by going against the party line and was sacked. Had it been a kite-flying exercise, wouldn’t they have waited for negative media reports first?

  3. # Comment by steve white Jun 11th, 2009 15:06

    the election is over who needs a director of elections now

  4. # Comment by Daniel Sullivan Jun 11th, 2009 17:06

    Keith, in all fairness that is the same Phil Hogan who as director elections win that extra seat in the first place. And had the same line up gone onto the pitch again I suspect would have held it. It was a gift for ye that Avril pulled out and pulled out as late as she did. ye yook it up well and ran with it but Avril dropped us in it and truth be told we did well to almost replicate the vote percentage. The problem for us was that with the Greens off the pitch and with a candidate who played well with those Green inclined voters ye were best placed to pick up those votes and get ahead and stay ahead of the 2nd FG candidate. Even if we had split 20/20% we wouldn’t have gotten both elected because there weren’t a lot of transfers downstream of us for both candidates.

    I think within the party there are undercurrents about HQ and how some elements in the Parly party want more control over strategy and so on, which is good to see but I would also expect that some more of the parly party need to step up to the national plate more and start doing some policy development work in their areas and show themselves to be more than constituency TDs. Whether people agree with his worldview or not Leo has been an example of someone who is able to think on his feet and in terms of organising some policy development in his area. Real leaders have lead in their pencils and do not simply copy and paste from HQ drafted party releases.

  5. # Comment by Pidge Jun 11th, 2009 22:06

    To be honest, I’ve never really bought that line about it being hypocritical for us to encourage the DUP to go in with SF, while not doing so or wanting to do so ourselves. The reason we tend to argue that the DUP must do so is down to the political situation in the North, where the majority nationalist party’s participation in government is necessary for a representative government with the trust of the people.

    That requirement doesn’t really exist in the Republic, so we don’t need to be open to including them in lists of potential government parties. (I think, incidentally, that they should be included in such a list, but that’s a different matter.)

    On top of that, the reason the DUP are/were called bigots has nothing to do with their stance on Sinn Féin, but instead is down to the fact that they’re, well, bigots.