Early success for UKIP as new
The circumstances are different.
So are the electoral systems.
But UKIPs startling performance in local elections today - around 26% of vote - raises major issues for Fine Gael
Fine Gael have embraced Labour's social agenda on abortion same sex marriage closing Vatican embassy ending communion money...and so on.... as the "price" for Labour backing cuts.
Now whether FG voters themselves support cuts that occurred is debatable. Arguably FGers would like to see far more quangos closed, semi states privatised and pay & pensions cut than see welfare for the needy cut
But FG's more "Neo-liberal" wing (who favour cutting the weakest as Neolibs usually do) seem to have forged an alliance with Labour's "secular-liberal" wing (who favour aborting the weakest) to forge an agenda that targets children - born and unborn - and pregnant women (who lose maternity allowance) and families in general (property tax).
The abortion legislation is not in itself a vote changer - people rarely vote on abortion alone. But it could constitute the "tipping point" which turns FG's more Christian democratic voters against it.
Those Christian democratic voters would be more protective of the poor (they would come from the Declan Costello "Just society" wing of the party) than the urban NeoLibs who are more "Devil take the hindmost"). They would also be more protective of the unborn.
And while they are broadly pro European the mood in Ireland towards Europe is shifting thanks to the bail out and more lately the perception that Europe is forcing us to adopt liberal abortion laws.
The immigration issue isn't as strong in IReland (thank God we don't have the tolerance for racism they have in Britain and France) but as thousands continue to come in and thousands of Irish continue to leave you never know when it could just take off.
UKIPs rise was sparked by Cameron embracing same sex marriage.
Although a different issue abortion has the same potency for many FG voters.
Ganley and McDowell have been relatively silent for some time.
But with the start of local and Euro election campaigns now less than a year away the abortion issue won't go away.
And the property tax - another bugbear of FG voters of all shades of opinion - is going to start biting.
So will next December's budget.
So my question is: Could a Euro sceptic party of the right emerge to take a significant chunk of FG voters - and perhaps some FF voters - away from them in next year's locals and Euros?
And if it does, could it form the basis for something in the 2016 general election?
Where Britain goes, Ireland usually follows.....