As the general election draws ever nearer there were two main political talking points in Waterford last week, the Paddy Power bookmaker odds on named individuals being elected and the national rumours that John Deasy could be the Ceann Comhairle of the 32nd Dáil.
Hmmmmm is all I can say to both.
First of all, the odds displayed by the Paddy Power experts were puzzling and I don’t think they reflect the situation as it pertains. They probably put the wind up several of the candidates that were named as odds-on ‘certainties’ to succeed. Nobody likes to be declared as ‘safe’!
The latest opinion polls provide a very valuable insight into what way the wind is currently blowing but, at this stage, the election can still be won and lost.
At the time of writing, we are six or seven weeks from polling day and there is a huge amount of floating voters out there waiting for somebody or something to make their minds up for them. Add in a stray banana skin or two and who knows what the public mood might be nearer the day.
Because of our system of proportional representation, one would really need to see the full list of runners before making a serious and educated guess at the outcome of the Waterford poll.
All I will say at this stage is that, at present, there are six, maybe seven, serious contenders for four seats and none of them should be taken for granted. If really pushed, one might put a name on two seats but that still leaves four or five candidates battling it out for the remaining two vacancies.
And so to John Deasy and the Ceann Comhairle question. First of all, when replying to media questions, Deputy Deasy was very wise to point out that his only goal at this point in time was getting re-elected. He was taking nothing and nobody for granted and all his energies would be in that direction.
Certainly there will be a new method of selecting a Ceann Comhairle and it does seem that the next holder of the position will have an enhanced influence in the House and on the political system.
If it came to pass, John Deasy would make an excellent Ceann Comhairle and it would be an honour for him, for his family and for the Constituency.
But, a lot of people would much prefer to see John Deasy and his undoubted ability in a ministerial role.
Of course, Paudie Coffey is a Minister of State and showing he is more than capable of holding his own. He is obviously more favoured by Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who is said to be impressed with his performance.
But, in the past, there have been two Fine Gael ministers in Waterford at the same time, Austin Deasy and Eddie Collins. Taking ability into account, if the people decide to return Fine Gael to power there is no reason why it shouldn’t be that way again.