What kind of reception awaits Fianna Fáil on the doorsteps of Galway city and county once canvassing for June’s Local Elections really takes off?
Given the dire state of the economy and the incompetent leadership of Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan jr, and Tánaiste Mary Coughlan, hapless FF candidates can probably expect as savage a reception as the Christians in Nero’s Rome.
Some low level canvassing is already taking pace. According to one source, most talk is about issues with a slight “a plague o’all your houses” attitude to the parties while one of the city councillors said he is picking up hostility to FF on his jaunts.
I was talking about this to a leading FFer in Galway county recently and he said regarding reaction on the doorstep: “Well it’s not that bad!” I take that to mean people give them a hard time but are not as setting the dogs after them or chasing them off their property while brandishing rifles...yet.
Overall, Fianna Fáil in Galway city and county will be doing well to hold what they have - but could strangely come back with extra seats by taking one in the newly expanded Galway City West ward of the city and being in with an outside chance in Galway City Central.
Still, it is hard to envisage FF candidates not taking severe flack on the doorsteps once the campaign hits full swing.
A very good friend of mine, Michael, is a shrewd judge of character and of the political mood at a given time. He coined a phrase “gombeenism and gobshitery” to characterise the last two years of the Bertie Ahern era, when FF had its lips glued to the boots (and more delicate areas of the anatomy ) of developers and bankers.
His new phrase for 2009 is: “He’s a Fianna Fáiler - get him out of here!” FF has a chance to do quite respectably in Galway, but can take no chances if public discontent continues to rise.
Perhaps candidates should play down the party name and run a mile from any photo opportunity with Messrs Cowen and Lenihan. Anyone who wants a future in politics can’t be seen to associating with that pair.