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On The One Road

How long can you stay angry?

Old age pensioners marched on the Dáil last week to protest against budget cuts, as did students. Teachers are planning demonstrations this week. Army families are upset at plans to close several regional bases, and the farmers aren’t far behind.

The popular backlash against the budget had an effect on support for the government, with Fianna Fáil support recorded at twentysix percent, the lowest recorded since polling began. Not only that, but for the first time Fine Gael finds itself at the head of the pack, with the support of one in three voters.

Labour also benefited with a six percent bounce, while smaller parties and independents saw little or no change.

In other words, the electorate wants a return to the traditional coalition opposition of fine Gael/Labour – for now at least.

No Government TD leader will want to face the electorate given the likely massacre. Their hope is to stay in power as long as possible, in the hope of riding out the storm. As Ben Franklin put it, if they do not hang together, they will almost certainly hang separately.

So how long do you think those protesters will stay angry?