I’ll start by saying that I’m sorry for the lateness of this follow-up post. Irish Presidential election and referenda., college work and life in general all collided over the course of a few, fast-paced days, leaving me little time to devote to this article. But enough with the excuses and on to the results of the
Firstly, the winner of the presidential election was Michael D. Higgins, who defeated six other candidates for the office, gaining almost 40% of the first preference votes. The runner-up was Seán Gallagher, who gained 28.5% of the first preference votes. This was a bit of an upset as Gallagher had been leading in the polls prior to the election. However, his poor performance in the last debate and his constant refusal to answer questions regarding irregularities in his personal and professional finances seem to have cost him a significant number of votes. Personally, I’m happy with this outcome as I both voted for Higgins and loathed Gallagher.
The outcome of the election was significant in several ways. The Fine Gael (The ruling coalition party) candidate received only 6.4% of the first preference votes. This most probably represents electoral dissatisfaction with the government, which seems to be publicly perceived as Fine Gael led. This point becomes even more interesting when you factor in that Michael D. Higgins is the current head of the Irish Labour Party, the other coalition party. It could be that people either perceived Higgins as above an untoward influences from his party, or that people are dissatisfied with only one of the coalition partners, or perhaps a mixture of both. In any case, it’s a very intriguing outcome.
Secondly, the outcome of the referenda. The Twenty-to passed with around 80% of the electorate in favour of the amendment which removes constitutional restrictions preventing the government from lowering judges’ pay during their tenure. This, in my opinion, is a profoundly moronic move, which will most likely result in more corruption somewhere down the line. I believe the main reason why people voted for it was that when asked to voluntarily lower their pay, judges refused and that this is “payback”. No pun intended. As you may have guessed, I was one of the 20% who voted against its passage.
The Thirtieth Amendment to the Constitution failed, as 53% of the electorate voted against it. This Amendment, which would essentially give the Oireachtas (parliament) the power of subpoena, looked like it was set to become law. After all, almost every democracy in the world has some version of the proposed process. However, when the wording of the Amendment was published, it become clear that this was simply a power grab, as the wording would enable the Oireachtas to decide what was “fair” to investigate publicly with regard to an individual, rather than the courts. For this reason, I and many others voted against the passage of this Amendment.
Well, that’s all from the land of darkness at half-four in the afternoon. A Oíche Shamhna sásta go déanach!