Ahern: Sinn F

Dermot Ahern, the new man at Iveagh House, has conceded that the likely growth of Sinn F

  • peteb

    It may be over-stating the case to argue this is a “significant row back”, Mick.

    As the Irish times report says “Mr Ahern said his party had “a particular stance” on Sinn F

  • Boomtown Wrath

    Following Fianna F

  • Mick Fealty

    Interesting. Is this a potential honey trap for Sinn Fein?

    I’ve heard it argued that SF represent an opportunity for the emergence of a powerful coalition of the left – probably for the first time since partition.

    This might appeal to those who feel the leftist tendency within Irish Republicanism has been buried since the 1918 general election when Labour backed out to leave the field open for the official Sinn Fein candidates.

    That might be hard to sustain if early success means they could be drawn into sitting cheek by jowl with those on the populist Fianna Fail benches?

  • Michael Turley

    I think this is a tactical announcement which may be seen as helpful to the Northern situation and might serve to put manners on the PDs but which can be rowed back from at any time for any excuse. FF can be fairly fluid in their relations to other parties.

    By the way, Charlie McCreevy was not particularly tight-fisted. Indeed, I think he oversaw the biggest rise in spending of any finance minister (albeit in a context where that was not particularly difficult). Opposition parties simultaneously accuse him of wastefulness and pecuniary meaness.

  • Davros

    I agree with Michael Turley. I suspect this is more about FF using SF as leverage against the PDs.

  • peteb

    On the dubious hypothesis that “SF represent an opportunity for a powerful coalition of the left”, Mick.

    Worth remembering Gerry Adams’ comment to that well-known bastion of the left, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, when asked about his party’s plans to increase taxation to balance their self-declared desire to increase social spending – “We [SF] would be pragmatic in government”.

  • Boomtown Wrath

    Michael, I accept that the reality is that McCreevy wasn’t particularly tight-fisted, but he has been scapegoated by backbenchers and supporters for the Coalition’s apparent lack of social conscience. I refer more to internal criticism than that from the official Opposition who would not, in any case, have played the cards they were dealt much differently and probably not much better. If Sinn F

  • Billy Pilgrim

    If Sinn F

  • Boomtown Wrath

    You might well be right, Billy.

    However, you should never underestimate Fianna F

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “We [SF] would be pragmatic in government”.

    Is it impossible to be at the nexus of powerful left wing coalition and be pragmatic in government?

  • Michael Turley

    Billy Pilgrim, I have the feeling that SF crave a certain amount of respectibility (not to mention power) and that an offer of coalition would be too difficult for them to resist.

    Don’t think it will happen though (certainly not after the next GE).

    I can’t see a powerful left wing coalition winning an election in the south for some time, either (although wouldn’t be surprised to see FF at the nexus if it did!).

  • Billy Pilgrim


    “you should never underestimate Fianna F

  • James

    “I’ve heard it argued that SF represent an opportunity for the emergence of a powerful coalition of the left”

    What left, the one that bellied up to the trough with the most conservative party in the republic?

  • Davros

    Billy- could a strongly pro European party form a coalition with a strongly anti-european party that would survive in a situation where Europe is central to the country ?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “a strongly anti-european party”

    Again this is an area where Sinn Fein take the same approach as Fianna Fail – see which way the wind is blowing. You can be sure that as long as the Irish public remains Europhile, Sinn Fein will suppress their Eurosceptic tendencies.

  • Davros

    Are FF not strongly pro-Europe then Billy ?
    It’s the impression I get from the media up here.
    ( Not being snarky, asking for information )

  • George

    FF are all things to all men. Forget the teflon taoiseach, this is the teflon party.

    If the people of Ireland ever wake up and decide their interests lie in leaving the EU, you can rest be assured FF will be in the vanguard explaining how best this can be done.
    This comes from avoiding ideology at all costs since its foundation. At the moment there are no votes to be gained by FF by being anti-European.

    From their website:
    “Fianna F

  • Billy Pilgrim


    “Are FF not strongly pro-Europe then Billy?”

    George answers this point better than I could. I’d say Fianna Fail strive to be exactly as pro-Europe as the Irish people generally are. And exactly as anti-European. And exactly as left wing and exactly as right wing. They have done so very successfully for a very long time. They are a remarkable shower, you have to hand it to them, the hoors.

    Their approach at every turn is to position themselves in the middle of the crowd. Weather vanes, populists, cute hoors – they’re all these things. Their ideological mission is to see broadly where the Irish people are at and where they’re going, then position themselves at the front of the line.

  • peteb

    And, Billy, worth pointing out that “Sinn Fein [taking] the same approach as Fianna Fail” has left them claiming to support the introduction of the Euro in the north, while at the same time claiming to want to replace it in the south.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Those boys have nothing to learn in the dark arts of cute hoorery.

  • peteb

    or, in the case of some, not so cute.

  • Davros

    Thanks Guys 🙂 For a moment I thought that unlike our politicians your might have principles 😉

  • Boomtown Wrath

    As Dev himself said “When I need to know what the Irish people desire, I need only look inside my own heart” (paraphrase)

  • Keith M

    Regarding FF and SF and Europe, the differences could hardly be more different. FF have supported and campaigned for a yes vote in every referendum on European integration since 1973. Since being formed in 1983, SF have opposed every move to bring Ireland closer to Europe, campaigning against the Single European Act, the Maasstricht Treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty and the Nice Treaty (twice), so to say that the parties have anything in common on Europe is clearly nonsense.

    Secondly talk too FFers, and they will admit that the party they most fear is not SF but rather the resurgent Fine Gael. For every vote FF lost to SF in June, it lost 5 or 6 to FG. Fine Gael overtook FF in the European election (the first time FF has been forced into second place in a national election in many years) and ran them very close in the local elections. FG are now in (albeit shared) control of more councils than FF.

    Fine Gael have managed to get Labour onside for a coalition well in advance of the next election and with the campaign likely to be all about one coalition or the other, the non-aligned parties could well be squeezed.

    Ahern is simply kite flying, offering a rubber cheque to the Shinners in the hope of pulling a little further along the road to being a democratic party. It’s a road FF travelled in the 1920’s and many would hope that SF are simply the latest group to thread this well trodden road.

  • Keith M

    . 20 minutes trying to sign back in!!! My comment should have started.. Regarding FF and SF and Europe, the differences could hardly be more obvious.

  • Davros
  • Boomtown Wrath

    Indeed. What the Yanks might call a “bait and switch”.

    Keith, FG’s seeming resurgence is more a mid-term protest vote against the Government by middle class people who cannot yet stomach a vote for SF. Once the Provos do the decent thing, those middle classes may well add SF votes to the growing working class ones. I am pretty sure FG’s bounce is temporary and that deep down FF still fear SF the most – consider for example the distribution of Cabinet and junior Ministries in the reshuffle – a definite weighting on constituencies in which SF is strong.

  • Keith M

    Boomtown, we’ll only know if FG bounce is temporary when we have the next election, but the opinion polls at the moment are suggesting otherwise.

    Your point on the recent reshuffle makes no sense at all. Look at the four constituencies that gainined cabinet ministers; Limerick East, Wicklow, DunLaoire and Dublin South. These are hardly SF hotbeds (putting it politely!).

    If Ahern had been worried about SF he would have made promotions of people in Dublin North West, Dublin Central, Donegal and Meath. The only move of significance in these areas was the relegation of Jim McDaid!