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September 28th 2005

Panic in FF ranks as general election looms

With a General Election on the horizon, possibly next year, the political parties are positioning themselves for what should be the mother of all campaigns. Bertie is on shaky ground. Enda is still – well, Enda. Rabbitte talks a lot but says nothing. And all the while Sinn Fein is hovering, ready to swoop to pluck up spoils left vulnerable by the dithering and blathering of the main participants. So what is the likely scenario after the election.
Nationally Fine Gael feel a quiet momentum behind them and will be careful to avoid making statements or voicing policies which might upset any significant groupings in the wider society. They will rely on the well established perception of current government incompetence.
This cautious approach might contribute to the continuation of this party’s advance and Enda Kenny could double the number of his TDs to the mid-sixties. If Labour can then gain a modest increase then the next government will be comprised of Fine Gael and Labour.
Fianna Fail are in a panic; it won’t necessarily be women and children first into the lifeboats. Every man for himself will be the motto of the Soldiers of Destiny - and God help the weakest.
There is an interesting year ahead in Irish politics as Sinn Fein target the young and disaffected with disciplined strategy geared to dislodge Labour from its third place position in Dail Eireann. Government ‘incompetence’ and Fine Gael ‘caution’ are a good recipe for assisting the Shinners success - as is a large amount of goodwill engendered by ‘the war is over’ declaration and the decommissioning of arms. Eighty years after deValera led a large segment of Irish Republicanism into constitutional politics, Gerry Adams has gone one better by convincing the provisionals to abandon the armalite.
Locally, Fianna Fail’s disorganised panic could aid Pearse Doherty in winning a seat, with Pat the Cope the favourite to lose out, if only on account of geography, and the current media promotional campaign for Mary.
But Mary would be well advised to pay attention to the current economic hurricane developing in South Donegal - and instigate solutions.
Self-promotion will only go so far.

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Meeting chamber in Public Services Centre dedicated to the late Cllr Peter Kennedy

Kennedy family: Pauric, Rory, Nancy, Jonathan and Ciaran at the dedication of the Peter Kennedy Chamber in the Public Services Centre

In recognition of his achievements and as a mark of respect to the late Cllr Peter Kennedy, members of the Donegal Electoral Area Committee last week named the meeting room in the Public Services Centre the ‘Peter Kennedy Chamber’. A large crowd attended the unveiling of the plaque by Cllr. Brendan Byrne, Cathaoirleach of the Donegal Electoral Area, in the presence of Mrs Nancy Kennedy and members of her family.
Cllr Brendan Byrne welcomed everybody to the chamber. He said it was only right and proper to name the room after their late colleague who did so much for Donegal Town, specifying the Public Service Centre, fire station, by-pass and the Water Street Bridge. “I personally feel that his family and friends can all take comfort from the fact that the legacy of Peter Kennedy will live on in his many ahievements.” Cllr Byrne then referred to battleships being named after strong and determined characters and said it was fitting to name the chamber after Peter because, as a local councillor, he had battled hard for the welfare of Donegal Town. Then Cllr Byrne welcomed Peter’s son Jonathan to his first electoral area meeting , “Public life is difficult, I have learned that for myself, but we will be there all the way to help and support you”.
An emotional Jonathan spoke of the huge honour this dedication was for himself and the Kennedy family. “We know what Dad did and the long hours he put in. He left a huge legacy for me to carry on but I will do it to the best of my ability and we, the Kennedy family, are very proud to be here”.
Speaking to the Donegal Times, the chairman of the local St Patrick’s Fianna Fail Cumann, Michael Kelly, said the naming of the chamber was a fitting honour for the late councillor who would have been a proud man to know so many were present to witness the unveiling.

CONTINUED WITH MORE PHOTOS IN PRINT EDITION OF DONEGAL TIMES

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