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  • Patrick Dennis, Thank you both very much indeed.

  • For joining us this week to have a look at what's happening the other side of the Irish Sea.

  • Some extraordinary things happening in this election that people really weren't predicting on that.

  • Yeah, I think what everybody thought was gonna happen by everybody.

  • I mean, me and journalists and also most of the politicians.

  • What everybody really thought was going to happen at the beginning of the campaign was that it would be a contest between Leo Veracruz finna Gael on DHF.

  • You know, for the other centrist party led by me whole Martian on that Shin Fain who had been doing very badly in both polls and the election's over the last year or so very badly in the European elections of the local lectures that they'd really, very much be trailing in the wake of it all.

  • And so we thought the contest really would be about the desire for change, which a lot of people were saying they wanted on Fiona Fall presenting itself is the agent of change on dhe finna Gael, then presenting itself as the stewards off the Brexit negotiations.

  • Who had shown through that that they were competent, that they would use the campaign to remind everybody the fuel for had crashed the economy in 2000 and eight and that everybody had to expel them from government in 2011 on instead, What's happened is that certainly those have been themes, but that the that the party that's been identified as the agent of change has Bean shin fain on.

  • They have.

  • In the most recent poll of The Irish Times, I emerged in the lead for the first time ever on, so they're on 25% with Fiona for 23% on leave.

  • Red currents finna Gael on 20%.

  • Patrick, Why do you think that's happening?

  • Well, in many ways, this is the election.

  • Well, Mary Lou McDonald is getting the sort of the source of the election that Jeremy Corbyn wished he could fight.

  • I won.

  • That wasn't conducted on the Brexit question, but on domestic issues on housing and the state of public service is another interesting thing for she in vain is that this has genuinely, in some respect, especially as they have served, become something of an all island conversational.

  • They're not, perhaps in the way they'd like.

  • Obviously, you know, the one hindrances in vain.

  • Despite their strength.

  • All these domestic issues is the past, and you've seen Connor Murphy, the storm of finance minister, being dragged into the debate in the South in a way that I don't think anyone would have expected to start this campaign.

  • Suddenly, what's happening installment matters enormously to the picture indoors in Dublin.

  • So But, you know, this is really a domestic election in a way that I don't think anybody six months ago we to say, who will be rewarded the ballot box, or, rather, who would be punished at the ballot box after this Brexit episode, live Rocker or Boris Johnson?

  • I think everybody here on plenty people in Dublin, I think, would have, said Johnson and not Rucker.

  • And the opposite.

  • It has indeed happened.

  • So this this is, in a sense, on Irish reaction to austerity issues with housing issues with the health service.

  • Yes, I think it's actually what it looks like now is that it's the third act in the drama off the reshaping of Irish politics since the crash on.

  • So if you go back, if we go back, maybe 100 years, if I may, on did you look at the history of the of the Irish state so reserved for the last 90 years or so?

  • What you see is that their two hearts And so for the 1st 40 or 50 years, you had what is now regarded as an inward looking Catholic dominated state under devil era and then starting reading in the sixties and then with the joining of the Common Market that you then had this new island which turned into the Celtic Tiger on that this was based on kind of three external course.

  • It was sort of on the periphery of three cores, as opposed to being on the periphery just of one of Britain.

  • So it was still in the periphery of Britain on the periphery of the European Union and also then of the United States.

  • And so the economic model was based on becoming a place that was both compliant with the rules of the European Union, but also a place where investors from the United States would want to invest on what that meant was a kind of stability in terms off the tax rates of the corporate tax rate set lower 12 and 1/2 percent, but also then internally.

  • So what?

  • It meant real iwas that this state, during those times, including the boom times off the 19 nineties and to thousands, that it was that the autonomy of the state was was constrained so that what they had to do was to try to balance what the people in Ireland was that we're looking for on dhe, the government's obligations on the one hand to international capital and investment.

  • And then, on the other hand, to the European Union, which then you had started to have these increasingly intrusive rules about budgets.

  • Andi.

  • So what?

  • What had been rather happy arrangement for the Irish, where they had a balanced all of these three relationships against one another?

  • So, for example, they used the American relationship both against the British, where Northern Ireland was concerned.

  • They brought this in t help reinforce the Irish case on also positioned themselves somewhere between the European mainstream, off economics and politics on the American.

  • And then what happened with the crash was that it was revealed that in the final years that actually the government had been mismanaging these relationships that the economy wasn't actually based on the kind of productivity and dynamism that we thought.

  • But in fact it was based on a huge construction boom, which then the construction.

  • The housing crash became a banking crisis because off the borrowing and also a fiscal crisis, because construction was such a big part off wth e Irish tax revenues.

  • So wth e public reacted by first of all, punishing Fiona for which had been the dominant party in the state, and they went from 70 seats in the 160 seat parliament to 20 in 2011.

  • The beneficiaries were finna.

  • Gael, who went into government with labor, introduced these policies of austerity, and they were punished in 2016 on DSO.

  • What you've had is thes true.

  • Big parties, which dominated for 90 years, are now scrambling over, say, 50% of the vote.

  • Andi.

  • What Fiona Fall had hoped would happen would be that now that they've bean in the wilderness, that they would regain some of the support they had lost.

  • Department be forgiven, forgiven for gotten all of the above on that they would regain some of those say, Dublin working class votes that's they lost to Shin Fain and also some rural votes.

  • They lost two independent members of Parliament.

  • And what seems to have happened now in the last few weeks is that, actually, in a way that because the Brexit saga has been suspended, that for your during while Brexit was going on, everybody had to focus on that.

  • And other Brexit is gone.

  • People have gone back to thinking Well, actually, the economy is doing well.

  • I've got a job.

  • I'm only quite good money, but I can't afford to buy a house.

  • And I can't afford to save for a house because the rent is too high.

  • So people might against all their previous instincts.

  • Perhaps a lot of these voters go for the party that looks in those radical on the shelf.

  • Yeah, and that the interest of the interesting thing was, I think beautiful saw opportunity in a layer of rock a premiership because obviously gay half Indian T shirt hey, was written up here in those terms of the great hope of you know, this symbol of islands liberalization.

  • But really, the most remarkable thing about Rutger is you know how nakedly ideological he is by the standards of Irish politics.

  • I think, Finn, if all sore opportunity in, you know, raka the Tauri, as it were in being able to fight.

  • Okay, not a traditional left right battle, but one where they were clearly to the left of finna Gael on public service is when actually, yes, we have had election like that, but they have been outflanked.

  • Two left.

  • Bush in Vain Way should say here that although she's vain ahead in the polls, they're not standing in all the seats.

  • The best chance probably is coming third in the number of seats, probably.

  • And that's partly because they're only standing 42 candidates.

  • You need 80 for a majority, but also because the iris system of voting is that you've ordered the candidates in order of preference on the second preferences don't tend to go to Shin Fain as much as they do to other parties.

  • But could that be changing?

  • How much is changing?

  • How much are we moving into a new era in Irish politics and question particular view dinners?

  • Airfield.

  • You really recognize the country when you saw that opinion, but it was certainly a surprise.

  • I think I did recognize what's been happening in that.

  • One of the things that have been happening is for younger voters, really, for anybody under 40.

  • The past the chin feigns roll in on the IRA's role in the troubles in Northern Ireland is perceived by most younger people in Ireland.

  • They think if they think of Gerry Adams, they think of his role in the peace process.

  • They don't think of his role in the events that preceded the priest process on DSO s.

  • Oh, there they are both forgiving and forgetting off all of that on, so that's quite clear.

  • Also, you have got some very strong performers and finna Gael or in the ocean Fain, Marianne MacDonald herself in some of their other leading spokespeople.

  • They they've been very good performance.

  • I think the choice of a radical alternative is also an interesting one because she's fine is an interesting party.

  • It's a left nationalist party, but it's leftism is ambiguous and it's being constrained in lots of different ways, so that it is a party that wants to go into government with the other big parties as a junior partner.

  • Even this is Shen Feng doing well at the time when the two parties who more has owned Irish politics are telling them we wouldn't serve with this party, we wouldn't have them about the house.

  • That is it.

  • That is quite a rejection, isn't it?

  • Of those two parties established belief that we're looking at a moment when Shin Fain could be creeping into a coalition government one day, presumably know this weekend, if anything else, potency to the plague on all their houses.

  • Party of Change message.

  • It's the idea that you, you party, is singularly, you know, toxic to the big.

  • To that, it is that they deem it unsuitable to go into government with them.

  • I think you know, in many ways it's been, ah, blessing which in vain.

  • Ultimately, this may be the watershed in which, you know when you have people like Fintan O'Toole, right in the page of The Irish Times that it's time to bring champagne in from the cold, I think.

  • Yet, should the polls be born out, and should she insane in a business where they hold the balance of power at this election of theoretical buns power that neither party avails off the conversation?

  • Surely, at the next election, no matter how, however quick that comes bit, you know, Israel style in the next few months.

  • Or, you know, at the end of a cycle after under the coalition government, surely the conversation has to be different.

  • Yeah, I think this is probably the last election where the two big parties can rule out going into coalition with something.

  • I think they both have ruled it out.

  • I think I would be surprised if they break the promise not to go into government with Sinn Fein this time around.

  • But I do think that next time it's gonna be soon.

  • It could very easily be soon.

  • And I think there's also an argument, frankly, that given that the other parties in the South have been demanding that Arlene Foster and the D.

  • U.

  • P in Northern Ireland must go into government with Shen Feng, I think it is difficult to sustain the arguments that good enough for them in the north, but not enough good enough for us in this out of the argument.

  • Of course they make is that the power sharing arrangement means that you're the parties, don't have any choice over who they go in with on the storm.

  • It is not a sovereign parliament, so it's different.

  • But I just think that's going to be harder to sustain ifshe in vain.

  • Do as well as we think they're going to do when you when you have people like Jeffrey Donaldson, DP leader at Westminster, and certainly won the most emollient on thoughtful people the DP When it comes to North South relations and also when it becomes to cross community relations, saying, Look, in an ideal world, I wouldn't go into Kurdish much in vain.

  • But as Dennis says, we have to, and it's time for you to reckon with the fact that actually relationships are complicated on this island, and you know, it's time for you to step up to the plate as well, Then that is that that that that this morning was a very choice intervention that reflects just how difficult this question is becoming and will become during the next cycle when we get back to the peace process.

  • Of course, the figures at the top of Republican movement was saying, If we down arms, we can be in power north and south, and that will help us move towards a united Ireland.

  • They're not.

  • They're within touching distance, perhaps of that dream.

  • But surely there's an argument, surely, that the shin pain success, certainly in the South in this election is coming.

  • In spite of the constitutional question and not because of it.

  • Surely that's the driver.

  • But is there more acceptance of the idea of United Island within the Republic?

  • Then they will say 23 years ago.

  • I think that I think your point is exactly right.

  • That is the driver, so she'll faint.

  • Success is driven by its policies on things like housing and health on by domestic policies.

  • But the effect off shin feign being in power on both sides of the border would actually be to advance the nationalist agenda, because one of shin feigns Maine policies for in the election here is that you start Thio, try to get a border pole, a referendum on Irish unity within a year.

  • Now that's not in the gift of the government and island.

  • It's a choice for the government here in London on the statute says it has to have seen a significant amount of support for that portable before.

  • You can.

  • I don't know it stipulates what that defines it has.

  • Thes secretary of state must conclude that there is evidence off a shift towards support for a united Ireland for a change in the status on so then, once you have one, what happens is that you have to have one every seven years after that.

  • That's one reason why the unions are so reluctant to have the first stop.

  • Yes, a softball running.

  • But the thing is that what you would also do your shin feigned there.

  • Other policy is that's the government, and double should prepare for Irish unity so that all the government ministries would start to work out their plans for Irish unity.

  • Now in the context off a Brexit deal which has left unionists to Northern Ireland feeling very uneasy about where it takes them constitutionally having a government and Dublin that's promoting Ah, United Ireland as part of its daily policy, I think wouldn't help to reassure them.

  • How nervous are loyalists unionists about this development as they watch Shin phase surge and that whole narrative that Dennis is talking about?

  • Well, you know, I don't think you'll hear you know, your Sammy Wilson's et cetera, saying anything, but this is, Ah, a flash in the pound.

  • But certainly the Maur thoughtful end of unionism, as it has been for some time, is thinking hard about how to accommodate this changing politics.

  • You know, I'm sure we're overdue in intervention from Peter Robinson, for instance, I'm sure has former do you be leader who gave a speech not so long ago calling years to prepare for United I'll, You know, I I think you know what when Peter Robinson pops up makes interventions like that.

  • You know, there's a clear and present danger for the for political unions.

  • And obviously, you know Ali Foster, now being in a power sharing executive with Michelle O'Neill sounding much more a 1,000,000 than she has for a long time, I think the days of snarling are, ah, gone for now, shall we say on Does it interest behind the scenes?

  • There's an interesting traffic.

  • Isn't there of people going from the north down to the south that have conversations behind closed doors with people about what the first intimations of what what a united Ireland might look like.

  • Those conversations go on.

  • You hear about that?

  • Yes, they do go on, I think, though we're talking about in a way to separate kinds of United Ireland, maybe when we're talking about champagne, other parties she'll faint is a straightforward, nationalist, irredentist party that's seeking to reclaim lost territory in a partitioned island.

  • On the other, political parties for uniform finna get, even though they come from the same tradition.

  • Both of them they take a very different approach.

  • When they talk about an agreed island, they mean it much more.

  • I think it's so when they speak about consent, they're not speaking, although they're formally speaking just about the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland.

  • I think that if you speak to somebody like me whole Martian, the leader of Fiona Fall Orly of record, they know that actually, they don't want to go into United Island.

  • That really has only a sliver of support among unionists that it has to be something else.

  • So I think those conversations were talking about between people in the north and the South are really about how you would create a new kind of politi so that in the Shin Fain vision effectively, it would be an extension off the Southern Ireland to encompass the whole island.

  • It's a nation.

  • Once again, it's, you know, it's all of that.

  • And it's the same state which just takes over the rest of it.

  • Whereas I think most other people who think about it, or a lot of other people who think about they think in terms, actually that it would have to be an entirely new polity, devolution on the scale we haven't seen before, perhaps nothing a uniform and symmetrical about.

  • Yes, so, for example, the relationship between that new state on dhe the United Kingdom would be an important one.

  • So, for example, one thing people talk about it, that you'd effectively flip the Good Friday agreement.

  • So the Good Friday agreement gives Southern Ireland a consultant of role in Northern Ireland on that, perhaps actually, you might have to give the British government some kind of formal consultant of role.

  • And so you could be talking about all kinds of new constitutional relationships for these islands on which could also include, say, an independent Scotland, so you could have your these islands having sort of divergent and varying relationships, safer there with the European Union and So I think that there's a complex kind of conversation that has to go on about the nature of 40 United Island would be on.

  • I don't think that Shin Fain are having that conversation with what relished his island.

  • Look that on Ireland's political leaders, look, that kind of project you've got you You've just been talking about the ruptures of recent times.

  • On top of that, we have Brexit, you go a lot on your plate if you're sitting trying to run Dublin right now and how excited rather than how dutiful do they feel about engaging with this entire idea of maybe having toe come up with a new solution for the whole of our?

  • I think that, yeah, I think they're not especially excited about it.

  • But I also think that they know that having bean through the first part of the Brexit negotiations where they successfully defended Theo open border on the island, but that they know that the solution that's been found has created unrest among unionists on that they have two.

  • They've got a shared obligation with the European Union and the government in London to make sure that this system works in such a way that it doesn't destabilize the constitutional settlement in Northern Ireland.

  • The interesting question machine vein with political question vision fame is the extent to which it can involve itself.

  • In the second conversation Dennis was talking about, I haven't agreed on, Mary Lou McDonald has a habit of hinting that she's willing to make these concessions.

  • For instance, she last summer was talking about changing the flag, changing the anthem, everything being on the table, Shen Feng having to give up the unity debate in order to win it.

  • And then you obviously done incurs a backlash.

  • To oversee a lot of time in Shin Fain isn't doesn't emerge in the surface.

  • But then you see her pull back and then throw a little bit more red meat.

  • To the Republican base of that is the political challenge for she in vain, straddling its own base and also the real politik of actually getting what it wants.

  • Let's look at the issue that Leah Veronica was kind of hoping would dominate the Irish general election.

  • But hasn't Brexit does it make a difference?

  • Realistically, it's gonna be fina foil or finagle.

  • More likely, finna fall in the driving seat the other side of this election, albeit in coalition.

  • Is it same policy?

  • Same outlook on Brexit other?

  • Any differences that Britain should be aware of it is the same policy on the same outlook.

  • They were all in lockstep throughout the negotiations on dhe.

  • So in terms of the next stage of the Negotiations Islands role as part of the bigger teams, we have a record called it, you know is going to be the same.

  • Whoever is in charge, I think where the difference is is that my whole Martin, despite the fact that Fiona for is the more nationalist party.

  • Traditionally, finna Gael is more sensitive to the concerns of unionists than the of rancor has shown himself to be on.

  • So I think that you could find that actually, he would be somebody that would would get a warmer welcome among unionists.

  • Strangely enough, even though traditionally beautiful was a party that they wouldn't like.

  • How do you think the deal is?

  • We know it now is gonna go down Patrick in Northern Ireland amongst the unionist community.

  • Do you sense the d.

  • U P after some of the rhetoric in the election are softening a bit bits of the bits of the D.

  • U P exploring whether there is a way of minimizing eradicating all together the checks across