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In case anybody is wondering what my attitude to Sinn Fein is, its complicated!

On the one hand its not long ago since they were but the political front for an underground army which had understandable origins but which committed many atrocities in the North and some in the south as well. There is some debate over whether Sinn Fein is still under the effective control of shadowy figures on the "Army Council" even now.

On the other hand, the IRA did commit to the peace process and we have had relative peace for 25 years and Sinn Fein spear-headed the process of converting an armed struggle into a political process. Some of the old IRA men went into organised crime and vigilante groups but have been disowned by Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein itself, from having had strains of far right nationalist ideologues in its ranks has transformed itself into the leading left-wing party in Ireland - especially in the south - with a genuinely progressive policy platform. There are still instances of councillors and TDs resigning from its ranks due to intimidation and threats, and a new Party Aontu has been formed by an ex-TD who disagreed with their liberal stance on abortion and other issues.

Their local councillor once tried to intimidate me when I was chairman of the local community council and campaigning against CRH - one of the largest construction materials companies in the world - quarrying illegally in a natural heritage site (containing the remains of a Norman ring fort) -  and using their old quarries for the illegal dumping of waste materials - including radioactive hospital waste, thereby putting the town groundwater at risk. It seemed as if CRH had certain councillors and Council staff in its pocket.

So you can understand why I am still wary of the party and why FF, FG, the Labour Party and the Social Democrats have all said they won't work with Sinn Fein.

That said, there is a certain hypocrisy expecting Unionists in the North to work with them while we won't. So at some point you have to respect their democratic mandate and work with them whether you like it or not.

I suspect that point will be reached if they get anything close to 25% of the vote.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 4th, 2020 at 11:35:45 AM EST
Seen by Politico.eu (YMMV):

Why Sinn Féin is surging in the Irish election

The story of the once-fringe party's electoral surge began with the global financial crisis that crushed the Irish economy in 2008. This created the conditions for Sinn Féin to move away from its image as a single-issue party on Irish unity.

During an international bailout program that required crippling tax hikes and spending cuts, Sinn Féin positioned itself as an anti-austerity party akin to European left-wing parties like Spain's Podemos and Greece's Syriza. It also became a visible presence in street protests against Ireland's austerity measures.

Sinn Féin went on to cultivate a progressive image, campaigning prominently in favor of Ireland's landmark referendums to legalize same-sex marriage in 2015 and abortion in 2018.

Also:

For some Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael voters, preventing Sinn Féin from getting into power would be a popular move in itself. It's possible that the two parties may opt to come together in a governing arrangement once again, perhaps with the support of one of Ireland's smaller, less controversial parties, such as Labour or the Greens.
by Bernard on Tue Feb 4th, 2020 at 09:01:54 PM EST
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Complementary headlines assert, more or less, that both FF and FG refuse SF coalition gov.
by Cat on Tue Feb 4th, 2020 at 10:45:04 PM EST
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The first quote is on the money. As far as FF and FG getting together - that is not what their supporters want, or even what the general public want. FF and FG used to get 80% of the vote between them. Now they will do well to get 45%.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 4th, 2020 at 11:24:42 PM EST
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