Monday, February 29, 2016

Can you name the Tanaiste?

I bet most of you can't and some are probably even wondering who or what the Tanaiste is.

The answer is they're the deputy prime minister of Ireland and the current holder, though probably only for a few more weeks, is Joan Burton.

Does it say more about our media or our own consumption of it that whilst the finer details of the battle for the nominations in the US Presidential election has been all over the news, the election just held in Ireland has mostly passed the British media by.

Perhaps that's because Irish politics is hard to understand for many - try explaining the differences between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael for starters! Or just why the Labour and Green parties are treated by members of their British counterparts as rather embarrassing relations they don't really want anything to do with. And then there are all the independents, some with rather interesting styles and approaches.

Or it could be because the personalities are little known. Enda Kenny and Gerry Adams are names people here have heard of. Micheál Martin rather less so. And then it falls off a cliff, though in the case of Michael Healy-Rae that's probably not a bad thing.

But whatever the reasoning, the result is that the political deadlock in Ireland with a big blow to the traditional party system, a hung Dáil, lots of parties refusing to work with each other and many independents, some with broad political visions and some merely hunting for pork for their own constituencies, is probably not going to feature much in our news in the weeks to come. And so we won't get that much of a chance to see an alternate way of doing things in a parliament elected by our electoral "reform" [sic] movement's preferred system.

However we don't just have the mainstream news these days,.


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