We Attend A Fianna Fáil Voters Anonymous Meeting


“IT’S not like I go out every election and say, ‘yeah okay I’m going to vote for Fianna Fáil, what a genuis idea’ but somehow that’s where my pen goes every time, it’s a fucking sickness”.

The words of one of the many tortured souls in attendance at this evening’s FFVA meeting. Some might think FF sealing a coalition would be a cause for celebration among these men and women. They’d be wrong. The cavernous basement of this church where FFVA meetings are held are as cold and empty as the look on a Fianna Fáil TD’s face. This room has never known celebration.

“I’m like looking at my kid in the face, and he’s like ‘what’s wrong Dada?’ and I’m like ‘Dada’s a piece of shit, Dada’s what’s wrong with the country, that’s what’s fucking wrong’. He’s only 2 like, but once I told him it was about Fianna Fáil and how I voted for them, he spat in my face. If he gets that it’s wrong, why do I keep going back?”

The shame in the room is palpable. And although they have come here to navigate through their pain in a supportive environment and atone for the errors they’ve made, earning forgiveness or redemption is as hard to find as a reasonable explanation for money lodged into Bertie Ahern’s bank account.

Another woman speaking her story from the heart explained that she had actually voted for Fine Gael but thinks it’s appropriate for her to attend and seek help.

“It’s like my friends; one voted People Before Profit, another Social Democrats, another Green but like didn’t we all in a way vote for this mess? And given another election, we’d do the same right? Like what’s the fucking answer?” the woman asked, before shrinking back in her chair and folding into her tears.

Just then a sheepish young man, who had been hovering by the doorway into the basement spoke up.

“I…I…joined Ogra Fianna Fáil,” he blubbed, before being ushered to a nearby chair. “Okay so I’m not old enough to remember the Celtic Tiger heyday but like that’s a fucking excuse. I have access to the fucking internet, I could have looked this shit up. I’m a monster”. The young man is reminded it could always be worse, he could be spending his days online non-stop defending Sinn Féin.

There is so much pain in this room, it can be hard to bare witness to people exorcising their inner demons. Shaking Fianna Fáil is not something you do in your first meeting, the man who runs this FFVA explains. He is in his 70s and calls himself ‘Mick’.

“I tried for so long to tell myself, sure it’s only one vote, what harm can it do? But I didn’t stop at one vote, did I? 1969, 73, 77, 81, 82, 82 again, 87, 89. I couldn’t stop myself. That’s not even including local and European elections.

“It got so bad at one point, I had the wife and the kids turned onto FF. I pimped my own family’s votes out. My poor mother wasn’t even safe. I don’t tell you all this so you feel sorry for me. I tell you because I stopped in 2011. So you know that if I can kick the habit, anyone can”.

It was a rousing speech, a call to forgive yourself and grow as people. The meeting broke up and while I was only an observer throughout, I approached Mick to praise him for his words. “Thanks,” Mick said, almost embarrassed. I shook his hand, but by holding out his hand Mick exposed the inside pocket of his jacket, revealing a scrunched up 2020 Fianna Fáil election leaflet.

Sometimes, the most hurtful lies are the ones we tell ourselves.