Irish Election Betting: Lucinda Creighton could be the key to power for Enda Kenny

Lucinda Creighton could well find herself holding the balance of power
Lucinda Creighton could well find herself holding the balance of power

Cormac Dowling tells us how one Fine Gael rebel could hold the balance of power and the key to a profitable Irish election...

"Fine Gael and Labour will take little coercing to re-enter coalition and Creighton has already said she wants her party in government “unlike protest parties of the left”. It is hard to see a situation in the foreseeable future where she could command a similar position of power. Her time may well be now."

Lucinda Creighton, who walked out of her Fine Gael cabinet position, may find herself holding the balance of power and could tip the scales in the punters favour.

She has since formed her own party, called Renua Ireland who if they have a good day may very well get the current Govt (FG-Lab) over the line. Despite their flat tax plan thus far failing to resonate with the electorate, Creighton putting her party forward as the "watchdog in government" to keep Enda Kenny in check will strike a chord with weary voters tired of cronyism scandals of recent administrations.

A FG/Lab/Renua Coalition is currently coming in at 14/1 in the betting but it is slowly emerging as one of the more credible options as Ireland searches for a stable government.

So, amid all the posturing and potential doomsday coalitions put forward ahead of #GE16 emerges the Luc-Enda option. Although it's not quite the nuclear option, it does however give rise to potential flare-ups and occasional explosions. But much like the nuclear solution with regards Ireland's Energy needs; is Luc-Enda really what Ireland needs?

Here's how the figures stack up: Taking 79 as the magic majority number, say Labour win 10-14 seats (the current Betfair line is 10.5 seats) and FG win somewhere around 60-65 (current Betfair line is 59.5 seats) as current trends suggest - Renua could just carry them over the line with 4-7 seats.

Wafer thin majority it would be but can you envisage an easier coalition to form right now? Fine Gael and Labour will take little coercing to re-enter coalition and Creighton has already said she wants her party in government "unlike protest parties of the left". It is hard to see a situation in the foreseeable future where she could command a similar position of power. Her time may well be now.

Both Fine Gael and Labour do not fancy doing business with select groupings like the Shane Ross consortium because they feel he can't be trusted to support a government for a full-term.

Indeed the wider pool of independents seen by Fine Gael as suited to propping up a minority government is scant and this pool drains to a puddle if Fine Gael are joined by Labour in the search of a third party to drag them both over the line.

Despite recently labelling Renua as "to the right of Trump" it is still hard to see Labour leader Joan Burton working with any other grouping right now. The (once) left-leaning party will likely position itself as the "social conscious" in this potential three-way coalition.

It is fair to accept that politics is all about who makes up the numbers, but consider a situation where Enda Kenny has two options: attempting to form a government with the only real enemy he has ever known - Fianna Fáil - or working with a person whom he once made a minister and, truth be told, someone with whom he still shares many similar political positions.

It can be argued that there is little to separate Fine Gael and Fianna Fail on major issues but there are still mountains to move before either party's populace accepts a century old enemy as their new bedfellow. For me these obstacles are not accurately represented by the short 7/4 price on them quoted currently.

For their part Renua have eased off on the government attacks in recent weeks, presumably in the hope fences could be mended after the election. Recently, they've preferred to take aim at a common enemy - the chaos of the Left.

If presented with a sniff of cabinet I expect Creighton to grasp the opportunity and reclaim her spot at the top table, anointing the leader she turned her back on, just a few short years ago, to the highest office in the land.

At 14/1 the FG/Lab/Renua option is screaming value right now. Get On.

How does the Irish election work?

Republic
Ireland is a republic and has a parliamentary system of government. Ireland has a prime minister (called the Taoiseach) who is nominated by the House of Representatives (called Dáil Éireann) and then appointed by the president. The head of state is a democratically elected President who serves for a seven-year term.

Voting
The Irish political system uses Proportional Representation (PR) as its voting system. PR is a slightly complicated system - the country is divided into constituencies, which mostly follow county or city boundaries. Each constituency elects three to five parliamentary representatives.

The Dáil
There are 158 TDs to be elected in the General Election with 79 seats being the number needed to command a majority when the Speaker is excluded.

Civil War
Having been split down the middle for the best part of a century - Civil War foes Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael between them have been in power in some form since the formation of the state – but never together. They are now favourites to make up the next government. On the centenary year of the Easter Rising that helped secure Irish independence could a Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil coalition banish Civil War Politics in Ireland once and for all?

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