Growing up as a small boy in County Monaghan, the divide in our school was never between Manchester United and Liverpool, or Manchester United and Chelsea (who were a rank mid-table team in those days), or even Manchester United and Arsenal.
No, it was between Manchester United, and Leeds United. Leeds were a big team in the early 1990s, winning the last ever English First Division title in 1992, before it became the Premiership a year later. We were all seven or eight years old at the time, and so naturally, we divided into two camps – Man U, or Leeds.
This is only worth mentioning because of what happened a decade later, in 2004. Leeds United, having invested heavily in players in an attempt to re-capture the glory days of the early 90s, imploded in spectacular style, and got relegated out of the Premier League altogether. Twenty years on, they’re still not back.
When it happened, Man United fans like me enjoyed it for a little while – watching the old enemy fall into ruin always has its moments. But then, suddenly, Leeds weren’t there to hate any more, and football got a little less interesting.
That’s a very long-winded parable to start an article about a Seanad election with, but you do wonder whether people who invest this much time and energy into trying to defeat Ronan Mullen would do if they actually succeeded:
I made an effort. I reached out to candidates and made a spreadsheet. I talked to everyone I know who has a vote in #seanad2020. I sent lots of reminders to push people to get the vote in.
So help me god, if Ronan is returned, I will lose it.
— Jen Keane (@zenbuffy) March 31, 2020
She made a spreadsheet.
Honestly, if Mullen were to lose, for some of these people it might be like when Wiley E. Coyote finally caught the Roadrunner, and ended up as a lifeless husk of a dog with nothing to live for.
Anyway, there’s no need to worry about that: The good Senator appears on course for a very comfortable re-election, alongside former Tánaiste Michael McDowell and Alice Mary Higgins, whose father is the President:
Based on a small sample (+/- 4% margin of error) here's what the #seanad2020 #se2020 #nui count is looking like. Mullen 25% @SenatorMcDowell 24% @aliceeire 13% @RuthCoppingerSP 8% @Harmonica26 6% @rtepolitics pic.twitter.com/oe6kNK7x8T
— Senator Rónán Mullen (@RonanMullen) March 31, 2020
Ruth Coppinger, there, on 8%, will not be elected, meaning that the revolution will have to wait for another few years, at least.
Anyway, more from Ireland’s most compassionate, kind, people:
Ronan Mullen was elected to the Seanad AGAIN. I cannot deal with this fucking year. 😡
— gráinneog 🦔 (@geegeegrainne) March 31, 2020
It’s worth reflecting on Senator Mullen’s achievement for a moment. He’s now a three-term Senator, despite facing enormous, organised resistance every time. On this occasion, his opponents registered fully nine thousand extra voters in an effort to unseat him – and he’s won again anyway, maybe (if that tally is accurate) with his biggest ever vote.
Being honest, and meaning no disrespect to the Senator, or any other member of that august body, an individual Senator has virtually no power – especially somebody like Mullen who’s probably been on the wrong end of more 59 to 1 votes than anyone else in that chamber’s history. His presence in it is largely useful because it allows arguments to be made that aren’t made by, or to, anyone else in official Ireland by anyone else who they are obliged to at least hear out.
In fact, people like Mullen are exactly what the Seanad was designed for – to allow minority views to be heard, and represented, and to provide a space for big ideas and intellectual debate. In that context, both Mullen and McDowell are excellent additions. To be fair, one could say the same of Ivana Bacik, from the Trinity panel, even though few of her ideas would find much support on these pages.
Ordinarily though, we wouldn’t spend 600 words analysing the results of a Seanad election. Mullen’s victory is notable mainly because it’s the one time, every five years, when these people don’t get their way.
And boy, they really don’t like it.
So @RonanMullen is going to get elected AGAIN well done NUI🤮
I voted to abolish the Senate yet accepted result
FUCK ALL reform since & still an elitist voting system
Some good folk there but what's the point
Enjoy the € Ronan😡 doing what provicating against the majority🤮
— STAY AT HOME ❤ 🇮🇪 ☘ 🇪🇺 ♀ 🏳️🌈 🌎 ❤ (@SiobhanFeely) April 1, 2020
Congratulations NUI, you shat the bed yet again!
Rónán Mullen by landslide. At least there'll be a fine quota of homophobic, anti-bodily autonomy hatemongering in the next Seanad from one single man 🤦🏻♂️ https://t.co/WZILoH5iHw
— Ian Lowry (@IanChopperLowry) April 1, 2020
Rónán Mullen likely topping the poll. As one of the 90% of Irish citizens with no vote in Seanad elections, remind me again why you voted not to abolish that rotten borough that time Enda gave you the opportunity.
— Donal O'Keeffe (@Donal_OKeeffe) March 31, 2020
I can sense his smugness from here. Seanad voters have inflicted that absolute langer on society for another term………….
— Spud (@JcsmurphySpud) April 1, 2020