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Irish Election Analysis

category dublin | elections | opinion/analysis author Thursday February 24, 2011 19:22author by Peter Geoghegan - Bella Caledonia Report this post to the editors

Beyond the political and financial classes, Irish people’s response to the crisis has surprised many on the Left, especially in the UK. Looking to riots in Greece last year, and more tangentially, the revolts spreading like wildfire across the Middle East, why, they ask, has Ireland not been more restive? Why, with joblessness running at over 13% and 1,000 people emigrating every week, did it take two years, and the intervention of the IMF, for mass street protests to take place? Where is the anger, why has Yeats’s ‘passionate intensity’ been monopolized by Fine Gael, a party of the rural and middle classes?

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”

W.B. Yeats – The Second Coming

Growing up in Ireland in the mid-1990s, Sherriff Street, a rundown thoroughfare nestled in the heart of Dublin’s north inner city, had a reputation as one of Ireland’s toughest neighbourhoods. U2 wrote songs about the area’s putative fighting qualities; parents spoke of it sotto voce; while Dublin City Council abandoned Sherriff Street to the drug pushers and increasingly violent street gangs who insured its name remained prominent in the collective (un)conscious.

Much of Sherriff Street no longer exists. The grim flat complexes (all low rise – Dublin had strict height restrictions on city centre developments, at least until multinational banking groups ‘encouraged’ city burghers to re-think its policy on this, and much else) were leveled as part of the massive Docklands development, began around fifteen years ago.

Driving through Dublin’s Docklands on the eve of what the Irish commentariat (and others) have billed as ‘the most important election since Independence’, is a salutary experience. Sherriff Street is now a long, empty road bisecting a patchwork of half-finished flat complexes and waste ground; Lefebvrian representations of space, physical manifestations of the crony capitalism that has left Ireland decimated and in effective control of its suited and booted IMF/ECB overlords.

At the end of Sherriff Street, near the North Wall and the entrance to Dublin’s neglected Port – the docks that gave the area its name were quickly forgotten amid the rush to build luxury flats, offices and corporate headquarters – sits the biggest white elephant of them all: the Anglo-Irish headquarters. This garish half-completed shell, steel and concrete popping out at odd angles, was to be the glittering new home of the favourite financial watering hole for the Celtic Tiger’s legion of whiskey priests, the myriad property developers.

Related Link: http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2011/02/24/irish-election-...2011/
author by southern comfort - nonepublication date Thu Feb 24, 2011 21:07Report this post to the editors

Plenty of anger all around, Peter, but also no burning desire to be led by sloganeers who have no better way out of the mess. "To the barricades, comrades - but I'll stay in here tweeting with a nice latte" sort of thing.

author by Sean O'Bloggspublication date Fri Feb 25, 2011 05:18Report this post to the editors

The Docklands was a major area of property development before and during the celtic tiger. The constituency in which it happened had communities adversely affected by the development. Long before that some of the dangerous slum Georgean tenement houses were homes to some of the most economically deprived people on the island of Ireland. Sheriff Street and other families around the constituency fell into a poverty trap when containerisation rapidly made hundreds of dockers redundant. Since the 1970s the constituency has produced, at local and in a couple of cases Dail level, active public representatives such as Tony Gregory, Christy Burke and Joe Costello. The constituency has also thrown up some dynamic activists in the social work sector, like Mick Rafferty and co-workers.

Don't despair - organize!

There are other hard-ridden constituencies around Ireland. People in them should emulate the political example of Dublin North Central and vote for those candidates who have a proven track record in social activism.

author by Raincoatpublication date Sat Feb 26, 2011 14:59Report this post to the editors

For those interested in the nitty gritty of the election, there is a spreadsheet linked to from politics.ie which you can download and fill in the count results as they come in and it will generate summaries and totals for you.

To download page is:
http://www.4shared.com/document/XTd1SGCd/Election2011Re....html

Related Link: http://www.politics.ie/elections/153678-election-2011-r....html
 
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