The local elections dealt another major blow to Fianna Fail representation.
Having been hit hard in the last local elections the party had little more to lose in the city but suffered seat losses on the County Council as well as in the Dublin South by-election to George Lee. They did not fare any better in Kilkenny or Tipperary.
The Green Party, the FF Coalition partner did terribly bad nationwide but managed to hold a seat in Kilkenny. In Waterford they had some hope in Tramore after some valiant work, but again failed to gain representation.
Fine Gael have become the leading party in many councils, Waterford City excluded where the left and independents hold the balance of power between them.
National observers see a sea change with Fine Gael becoming the largest party in the next election, given the bad leadership now in Fianna Fail that is likely, but things could change if the leader and Tanaiste was toppled as seems more possible now that the election is out of the way.
How our own Minister would survive a reshuffle in such circumstances we do not know.
But back to local elections getting rid of Fianna Fail councillors may be some revenge for the public on the mismanagement of the economy, it will not solve the problem. There seems to be a view from the electorate that getting rid of some politicians will be a cure.
The results from Anglo Irish Bank suggests that the banking problems remain. The public finances are still in terrible shape due to lower taxes and higher social welfare costs.
A major international loan rating agency reckons that Ireland may have to raise 20 billion to solve the bank bad debt problem, could the EU assist in this
Matter, as the long term bearing on the public finances may become barely bearable.
Fianna Fail may be the bad boys that created the big debts for the second time in 25 years
This is a dreadful result of high risk and loose Government that allowed banks and developers run riot without adequate regulation.
We the poor voters and taxpayers must pick up the pieces.
At a local level the local authorities may have to impose a property tax and this unpopularity will be faced by the new councillors, who were so happy at being elected last weekend.
The joy of victory may not last very long as some tough decisions will need to be made in the future.
We welcome change however and having some new faces on the political scene. The Tramore 19 year old, Tom Raine, springs to mind just this week, he was back sitting his Leaving Certificate having previously taken a year off to train as a jockey.
Thus politics can attract all age groups and it is good to see that the young are represented. We are glad there are people willing to do public service, which must be a thankless task, although at least there is now some reward for their efforts.
Fine Gael may rejoice but they and Labour must knuckle down to some tough decisions that they must make in the years ahead within local government. Central government grants will be limited and tough choices will have to be made.
Here in Waterford the pact issue will be up for examination, the John Halligan vote topping performance surely puts him in the deserving position of achieving the Mayoralty, strong on crime, law and order in local authority estates, he has credibility and stood up against hard drugs, when ignored by others.
His well organized campaign will be seen as a way to guide future politicians.
Other independent politicians to do well were Davy Daniels and Joe Conway in Tramore, they seemed to catch more the wave this time, as did Fine Gael in the county. Hilary Quinlan, another popular politician repeated his poll topping performance.
They all face tough decisions in the years ahead, as rate income dwindles and support from Central Governments also drops.
A bad time to be in power as it is to be in business, but responsibilities must be taken.
Last Monday’s TV debate on Questions and Answers between Labour Finance Spokeswoman Joan Bruton, Foreign Minister Michael Martin, Richard Bruton,
Fine Gael Finance Spokesman, and John Gormley of the Green Party.
Hard decisions now have to be made given the success of the opposition they now need to put forward their solutions and show they are up to the task
In the near term and give the country confidence for the future.