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Are FG in big trouble over abortion?


scolairebocht

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Sep 29, 2006
Messages
934
Speaking for myself I thought that the current debate on abortion would generate more open opposition within the main parties, particularly Fine Gael, but in fact its been quiet enough. I don't know of any FG TD that has flat out said they would vote against the legislation although some have made indistinct 'noises' to that effect. Before it was agreed to by the government some people felt that the likes of Minister Lucinda Creighton, among many others, might discover a conscience on the matter but it seems now that there is no great fear of that.

What people seem to forget is that the old core of Fine Gael was actually quite religious and overtly Catholic although respectful of the rights of the minority Protestant community. You can see that in the history of people like W.T. Cosgrave, a close personal friend of Frank Duff the founder of the Legion of Mary, or his son Liam Cosgrave, who voted against his own party on the issue of contraception, or John A Costello, and indeed his son Declan, who were also very religious like that, or indeed James Dillon who often talked about Catholic moral teaching in the Dail, etc etc. And that's only the leaders obviously then down the ranks you had people like Oliver J Flanagan, Alice Glenn or Joe Doyle, who was a TD in Garret Fitzgerald's constituency, who need no introduction on this topic.

So therefore I thought that it would be too much for the party to go from giving a solemn pro-life commitment during the election to now legislating for abortion only two years later. But I suppose it is like so many issues out there right now. The current FG TDs seem to me anyway to be very obsequious to their leaders and very rarely express any original opinion, or vote against their party, on any political issue. They even trooped into the lobbies in agreement with the FF government in nearly all their disastrous decisions, like the bank guarantee, with hardly a murmur of disapproval, so I suppose we shouldn't be so surprised.

But now with the opinion polls tanking on them it seems that reality might be beginning to dawn. The latest issue of Phoenix (22 Feb 2013, p.11) relates that:
"The Dismay of...Fine Gael...is palpable...as the penny drops in the constituencies and elsewhere about the shift to Fianna Fail which many now blame on the abortion question.

Polls show...a particular and driven segment of the electorate who feel so strongly anti-abortionist that they will change their voting allegiance over the issue.
...
The rhetoric deployed by the 'Unite for Life' vigil at a very large demonstration of middle Ireland folk last January has rarely been used against a government party by the broad pro-life movement...The demonstrators were a highly motivated crowd and they are the sort of people that vote - and get others to do the same."
In any case one answer to this mystery, about why FG TDs are cutting their own electoral throats this way, may lie in the demographics within the parliamentary party. It seems to me that the only people who seem to drive policy are the older set, like Kenny, Noonan and Shatter, who have been around the block quite a bit now in Irish politics, while the younger ones, as I said, seem content to parrot what they are told to say. Those older politicians also know perfectly well what they are doing and that their stance here might even fatally wound FG going forward but in my opinion they simply don't care.

The truth is that they might do what the FF grandees did just before the last election, just resign and live on their well padded pensions. Its the younger TDs who will fight the election and I suspect lose out heavily with a core vote that has been permanently lost.
 
Last edited:


Shpake

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Oct 17, 2012
Messages
5,326
Are FG in big trouble over abortion?

No it's the economy, (Stupid!)

Besides in this day and age what is a govt supposed to do? carry out a pregnancy test on all females leaving the country or what? virginity tests?
 

Morgellons

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Joined
Mar 24, 2012
Messages
5,033
Speaking for myself I thought that the current debate on abortion would generate more open opposition within the main parties, particularly Fine Gael, but in fact its been quiet enough. I don't know of any FG TD that has flat out said they would vote against the legislation although some have made indistinct 'noises' to that effect. Before it was agreed to by the government some people felt that the likes of Minister Lucinda Creighton, among many others, might discover a conscience on the matter but it seems now that there is no great fear of that.

What people seem to forget is that the old core of Fine Gael was actually quite religious and overtly Catholic although respectful of the rights of the minority Protestant community. You can see that in the history of people like W.T. Cosgrave, a close personal friend of Frank Duff the founder of the Legion of Mary, or his son Liam Cosgrave, who voted against his own party on the issue of contraception, or John A Costello, and indeed his son Declan, who were also very religious like that, or indeed James Dillon who often talked about Catholic moral teaching in the Dail, etc etc. And that's only the leaders obviously then down the ranks you had people like Oliver J Flanagan, Alice Glenn or Joe Doyle, who was a TD in Garret Fitzgerald's constituency, who need no introduction on this topic.

So therefore I thought that it would be too much for a party to go from giving a solemn pro-life commitment during the election to now legislating for abortion only two years later. But I suppose it is like so many issues out there right now. The current FG TDs seem to me anyway to be very obsequious to their leaders and very rarely express any original opinion, or vote against their party, on any political issue. They even trooped into the lobbies in agreement with the FF government in nearly all their disastrous decisions, like the bank guarantee, with hardly a murmur of disapproval, so I suppose we shouldn't be so surprised.

But now with the opinion polls tanking on them it seems that reality might be beginning to dawn. The latest issue of Phoenix (22 Feb 2013, p.11) relates that:


In any case one answer to this mystery, about why FG TDs are cutting their own electoral throats this way, may lie in the demographics within the parliamentary party. It seems to me that the only people who seem to drive policy are the older set, like Kenny, Noonan and Shatter, who have been around the block quite a bit now in Irish politics, while the younger ones, as I said, seem content to parrot what they are told to say. Those older politicians also know perfectly well what they are doing and that their stance here might even fatally wound FG going forward but in my opinion they simply don't care.

The truth is that they might do what the FF grandees did just before the last election, just resign and live on their well padded pensions. Its the younger TDs who will fight the election and I suspect lose out heavily with a core vote that has been permanently lost.
Good OP, and well written. I really couldn't tell you what's going on in FG because I've become really turned off Irish politics big time. I just don't care anymore. It's a mess amd nobody really cares in Leinster House.
 

scolairebocht

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Sep 29, 2006
Messages
934
Shpake
I'd have to say I don't agree with you about that. After all most of the support is going from FG to FF and Fianna Fail are not really seen by the electorate right now as sound on any economic matters I would say. Another way of looking at it is to see the size of the various protests that are out there. Yes there is disquiet and protests about austerity etc but they are not remotely as large as the anti-abortion protests.

Morgellons
Many many thanks and I absolutely know how you feel about Irish politics. The whole thing feels like a slow moving car crash a lot of the time, with the EU taking over anyway.
 

Skyrocket

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Jun 23, 2010
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3,904
According to January's RedC poll, 35% of FG voters are opposed to the position the party has taken on legislating for abortion (31% want legislation excluding suicide and 4% want no legislation at all) (crosstab on page 20: http://redcresearch.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Paddy-Power-10th-Jan-Political-Poll-20132.pdf).

One could argue that it is better for FG to keep the other 65% (support either legislating for X with suicide or 'abortion on demand') on side, but I would argue that the vast majority of these FG supporters are 'soft' on the issue of abortion and it is unlikely to be a critical factor in determining whether or not they will vote for FG. If these people were so gung ho for abortion they would not be supporting FG in the first place.

However, the feeling among the 35% opposed to the parties postion on abortion is much stronger and a significant percentage of this group will refuse to vote for the party if they push ahead and legislate for the X case including suicide. I believe this partially explains their fall in support in recent polls.
 

BlackLion

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Joined
Oct 21, 2010
Messages
4,856
FG wont take the tough decisions and it seems that they wont give a decision on abortion until after the summer elections(that if it suits them to)

FG biggest danger is Labour falling apart. For the last year or so SF/ULA have been firing volley after volley at Labour and that fire has intensified since that start of 2013, why? Easy, SF/ULA are going after the main block of labour voters, the workers. this was obvious since both parties upped the ante with the pushing of pro-worker/pro-ordinary people propaganda. when I was at the Feb protest in Waterford about 99% of the placards held up were attacking labour not FG/lab just labour.
 

bye bye mubarak

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Feb 2, 2011
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I think it is not a deal breaker at all. 20 years ago it probably was, and a great recruiting agent for poor lost youth, but the churches no longerhave moral authority anymore. It might become the most important thing in some peoples lives in this bubble, and of course FF will use this to make absolute political apital about it, but no-one really cares.
 

mr. jings

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FF must be laughing their asses off at yet another mess from their tenure. The kings of chutzpah can now sit back nice and pretty, pontificating wildly in their own inimitable barefaced populist unprincipled style.
 

GDPR

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No nonsense about it tbh. This was a major issue 20 years ago in Ireland but we have moved on.
I think maybe you take on a bit much when you speak for everyone on this issue.

For many, many people, on both sides, this is still very much a major issue.
 

compliant

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I've been thinking about it in the wake of these past few polls. What is different that the people who were voting FG are moving to FF? I don't think it is the economy that is driving those votes, I think it may be abortion. Looking at my fathers voting patterns (he's voted for a particular party almost all his life and due to their stance on abortion he will no longer vote for them), I think for the people who are staunchly anti-abortion, this issue is bigger for them than other political issues. FF haven't exactly been crystal clear on their position on the issue and the noise Michael Martin is making in relation to suicidal risk may just be enough to attract those voters influenced by the issue.

If there was to be a rebellion with FG and hypothetically a new party formed from it, I think a lot of the gains that FF have seen would move to the new party on the abortion issue.
 

Rocky

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It's an an awakard issue, but no I think Fine Gael will get through it without any massive problems. The key is to try to make the legalisation as limited as possible.

Most people accept that's something has to be done though and that a referendum would fail. There is a militant fringe, but honestly I don't think there's that many of them and a lot don't vote FG to begin with.

I think all the FG's current problems in polls is because of the economy/cuts/tax increases etc.
 

ger12

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It's an an awakard issue, but no I think Fine Gael will get through it without any massive problems. The key is to try to make the legalisation as limited as possible.

Most people accept that's something has to be done though and that a referendum would fail.

I think all the FG's current problems in polls is because of the economy/cuts/tax increases etc.
Did you see Prime Time last night? The piece about FG and cronyism?
 

GDPR

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It's an an awakard issue, but no I think Fine Gael will get through it without any massive problems. The key is to try to make the legalisation as limited as possible.

Most people accept that's something has to be done though and that a referendum would fail. There is a militant fringe, but honestly I don't think there's that many of them and a lot don't vote FG to begin with.

I think all the FG's current problems in polls is because of the economy/cuts/tax increases etc.
It's a mixture I would say, but largely you'd be right.
 

Rocky

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ger12

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I didn't.
Some nice shots of Enda and maps of Ireland pointing out how well FG Ministers have looked after their "people" and recalling promised New Politics, pointing out the same old same old practices employed by FF now high on FG's agenda. Believing it's all about the economy and cuts would be a mistake.
 

wombat

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It's a mixture I would say, but largely you'd be right.
I suspect that abortion is a fairly large part of their fall in support. FFs recovery has been strongest among the older group and in the west. Remember, to drop 3% in an overall poll means a 10% drop in support for a party with an overall 30% share. I think it will get a lot worse if the suicide option is included.
 

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