It won’t change the major outline of the results, both in Europe and in the local authorities. Comparisons with UKIP don’t really cut it, given the depth and breadth of Sinn Fein’s displacement of Labour in the Irish capital.
Topping the poll by such a long way is the cream on the top of the real political pudding, which is the party’s emergence as the major party in Dublin City council.
MEP seats rarely turn into seats in the Dail. And if they do, it’s one at time. The real indicator of political change is at council level. 16 seats is primarily a promise of Sinn Fein dominance of Dublin seats in the next Dail Eireann.
Fianna Fail’s historically poor local elections (just below what they have now) that set them up for the whacking they got in 2011, this result will certainly set them up for gains.
And underneath that they’ve been working to develop stronger relations with some of the large unions like SIPTU where Labour was the prefered advocate at the big parliamentary table.
This is no flash in the pan. Sinn Fein are in Dublin to stay. And poor old Labour is already the new Democratic Left with their general election hammering still to come.
And for the very first time the party with 16 seats is in effective charge of the largest single municipality in the country, with senior leadership role in setting major corporate budgets for the city.
It’s a major shift, and a great opportunity to cut some serious governmental teeth in what is likely to be a bit of a political bear pit. It remains to be seen whether they replicate their policy of effectively cutting the rates in Belfast, or as pushing the envelope.
No details forthcoming yesterday from Mary Lou doesn’t mean they haven’t got a plan.
Ironically, the improving economy might just lessen some of the burden of austerity, and there were indications out on the campaign trail from Lynn Boylan that a cut in the rates is exactly the way the party will go.
They may calculate that having gutted Labour (or rather Labour having gutted themselves in government) they aren’t playing that self consciously leftist game any more.
They are, and always have been, only interested in one thing: becoming the new monorail of Irish politics. Dublin will be its constitutional baptism of fire…