With General Election 2011 almost upon us, here’s a quick look at the options we will have on polling day.
Fianna Fáil (Irish for “Soldiers of Density”) has been the largest party in Dáil Éireann since 1932 but has recently taken huge steps towards abandoning this tradition. As the senior party in government, it has been blamed for the recent economic collapse. This is no doubt due to the party’s long-standing practice of appointing finance ministers with no background in economics. One of them, Bertie Ahern, famously had such a bad grasp of figures that he not only had no bank account, but kept finding substantial sums of money and couldn’t remember where they came from. His memory became so bad that he could no longer serve as finance minister and was eventually appointed Taoiseach, a post he held for almost 11 years before the economy collapsed and he remembered he had somewhere else to be. Ironically, his successor Brian Cowen is just a bad memory.
The newly appointed leader Micheál Martin has promised that under his leadership things will be very different from the government of which he was a senior member and unequivocal supporter for 13 years.