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Early Irish general election no romp home for governing party

February 26, 2016 - IRISH REPUBLIC

Though the country has seen a strong economic recovery, the Fine Gael-Labour government cannot count on victory in the country's early election. The problem, from all accounts, is that many people in Ireland still don't feel the benefits of recovery.

Tthe election will decide the composition of the next Irish parliament.

Irish Central observes that the recovery is most pronounced in Dublin, but only in some areas of the capital. In rural Eire, unemployment and emigration remain sad realities with boarded-up shop fronts and a dearth of activity. The publication also attributes the loss of popularity of the governing parties to the cuts in spending and increases in taxes demanded by Europe in the wake of the economic bailout.

The main beneficiary could be Sinn Féin, though it remains anathema to a large segment of the electorate because of its past and alleged continued ties to the Irish Republican Army. Irish Central observes that Sinn Féin has been working to change from a fringe party to a mainstream one, capable of government, in a bid to win power in 2016.

Independents might also benefit from any disillusionment with Fine Gael-Labour

The country's historically-dominant force in politics, Fianna Fáil, is still suffering an image problem because it was in power when the Republic, then hailed the Celtic Tiger, plunged into recession.

Two new parties, centre-right Renua Ireland and the centre-left Social Democrats have some hope of gains from signs that Irish voters are tired of establishment politicians and yearn for something new. Both advocate political reform.

Trouble Threatens to Return to Ireland (Esquire 27 Aug 2015)

An historic general election coming in Ireland in early 2016? (Irish Central 22 Oct 2015)

How did Sinn Féin become contenders in the Irish election? (New Statesman 30 Mar 2015)

Election 2016 could be real earthquake (Queen's Univ 7 Jan 2016)

Date written/update: 2015-10-28