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The TrailFix: Is it time to start thinking the unthinkable?

The best and worst bits from today’s #ge16 campaign trail.

EVERY NIGHT DURING the general election, TheJournal.ie brings you the latest from the Election 2016 campaign trail.

04/02/2016. General Election - Fine Gael. Pictured Enda Kenny speaking to Shay Murtagh from Pre-cast Concrete in Westmeath today Source: Sam Boal

Everybody’s talking about

The latest opinion poll has underlined the fractured nature of Irish politics. Right now, if the election results mirrored these poll results, the government would not be getting re-elected and there doesn’t appear to be a coherent alternative to replace them.

In one of the most explicit recognitions of a possible government defeat by any minister to date, Michael Noonan said earlier:

The opinion polls since Christmas would indicate that it’s not at all clear who might be in government after the election.

Fine Gael’s stuttering start to the campaign continued with the launch of its long term economic plan today. Many of us are still scratching our heads wondering just how much fiscal space really exists. The answer is none right now, as we explored in more detail here. ”I know ’tis very complex,” Noonan said during a lengthy explanation. It reminds us of the old adage that when you’re explaining, you’re losing.

ekmm Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin posters in Dublin Source: RollingNews.ie

If the polls don’t improve for the government then we may need to start thinking about end of Civil War politics: a post-election deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. It’s not for nothing that Paddy Power has had it installed as the most likely post-election government for months now.

Micheál Martin has long maintained it’s not a runner and Enda Kenny ruled it out categorically when we asked him today. But former Fianna Fáil minister Dermot Ahern told RTÉ that Fianna Fáil supporting a Fine Gael minority government on a case-by-case basis might be “the right thing in the national interest”.

It should never be forgotten that politics is a game of numbers. Personality and policy clashes can be put aside if a deal can be done and a Dáil majority secured. History shows that deals have been done when they were previously unthinkable.

Slap Down of the Day

4/2/2016 General Election Campaigns Starts Source: Leah Farrell

Fianna Fáil senator Thomas Byrne was among those to stick to the party line in completely ruling out Fine Gael today, but he did have some sharp words for the Taoiseach:

Five years ago, Enda Kenny told the people of Ireland that ‘Paddy likes to know’. Now he’s saying that Paddy can’t know. The leader of all the Paddies is Enda Kenny, and he doesn’t know. He’s out of touch and I believe he’ll be out of office.

Row of the Day

Okay so it’s not quite a campaign row, but check out all of the rows Mick Wallace gets into in his quite simply brilliant campaign video:

Bull**** Claim of the Day

Labour minister Alex White made a bold claim about the Fianna Fáil leader today:

Micheál Martin is the Bobby Ewing of Irish politics. He hopes we will conveniently all forget the inconvenient truth. But we will never forget the nightmare Fianna Fáil inflicted on Ireland.

bobby pam Source: YouTube

But, as any Dallas fan will know, it was Bobby’s wife Pam Ewing who awoke to discover the previous season was all a dream. Seems like Labour just wanted an excuse to mention Bobby Ewing.

WTF Moment of the Day

Labour senator Lorraine Higgins is many things. She is not Barack Obama.

lorraine higgins

It was a good day for

It was a bad day for

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Today’s news: What’s happening on the campaign trail 

  • Fine Gael: Busy day for Enda Kenny who is on Morning Ireland, visiting Ranelagh, meeting with King Abdullah and heading down to Cork in the afternoon.
  • Labour: Joan Burton will formally launch the party’s election campaign down by the Grand Canal in Dublin at 2.30pm.
  • Fianna Fáil: The party is outlining its housing strategy at a media event in Dublin. Party leader Micheál Martin will be canvassing in Cork.
  • Sinn Féin: Gerry Adams and co will be launching their election campaign in central Dublin at 11am.
  • Social Democrats: The new party is launching its election campaign in Dublin city centre at 11am.
  • Renua: Lucinda and co are launching their election campaign in the capital at 2pm.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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