The election is over and at the time of writing this, the polling stations are just about to close so I have no idea yet, what the outcome of the election will be. BUT, we all have certain expectations and these expectations are usually influenced by the media reporting in the last few days and weeks.
Most commentators expect the outcome to be a “hung” Dail. Hanging in this case is nothing bad or negative and it is a strong word for the situation that means nothing else that not one party or one previous coalition has a clear majority. Big deal! Just find new alliances and form a new coalition. Yes, that’s what most would think, but in Ireland things work a little different, because for some odd reason the two parties that ALWAYS have been the biggest parties in the Dail, really don’t get on with each other.
Substantial difference of opinion? Different ideologies? Not at all! And that is the oddest thing about it! Fianna Fail and Fine Gael really have largely the same opinions about society, economy, justice and nearly all other areas of politics. Yes, there are some differences, but they are really quite small and sometimes you feel they disagree just to pretend that they have separate identities.
So, why do two parties that have the same opinions not work together? Looking at this situation from the outside (or as a foreigner) really doesn’t show any reason for their opposition to each other. But if you ask that question in Ireland, most informed people will have an immediate answer and they will tell you that it goes back to the Irish Civil War.
WHAT? So, the separation of these near-twins goes back more than 90 years and they still haven’t realised (or are struggling with the realisation) that they are more alike than different? Any coalition, Fianna Fail with the Greens in the previous Dail and Fine Gael with Labour in the just finishing Dail period HAS to be much more of a challenge than a coalition between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. Do they not realise that?
Seemingly they don’t! And so it could happen that if there will indeed be a “hung” Dail we will have sooner a re-election than a cooperation between these two oh so similar parties.
(BTW: I am no suggesting that either of them or a coalition of the two is the best solution for Ireland. They both have not convinced in their periods of governing the country and with that in mind, putting two bad apples together wouldn’t create a yummy peach, it just would probably cause a bigger rotten fruit. The above article is more a reflection on the astonishing fact that they feel they can’t work together, 90 years after their disagreement. Imagine if that idiotic stubbornness was still in place in Northern Ireland! They would still kill each other!)