Fianna Fail allower northerners to join the party…

Here’s an interesting snippet that nearly passed us by (thanks Alan). Fianna Fail has cleared the way for individuals living in Northern Ireland to join the party. There’s still no right to form Cummain or constituency parties, but none the less it’s a potentially significant move towards a more formal presence north of the border, either alone or in some relationship with the SDLP.

  • The Devil

    Yippee

    giv’us the application form and the trough please

  • Rebecca Black

    thats really going to hurt the SDLP

  • The Devil

    well beccy,

    it’s not my fault, they could have asked me to join at anytime and they didn’t.

  • Henry94

    A lot of FF people want to take on Sinn Fein in the north in the hope it will help them in the south.

    I wonder.

    What woulld be their position on the Oath for example. Would they take the SDLP position or the republican position.

  • smcgiff

    I think we’re a long way off the prospect of seeing FF candidates running in NI elections.

    But, if that came to pass, I would imagine FF would take the SDLP line. Remember FF down south have a very cordial relationship with Britain. They’re not going to rub their faces in it, by not having NI FF’ers taking the oath.

  • Tom Griffin

    It might not be that easy for Fianna Fail to take Westminster seats. There was a debate about this on another website, where a couple of FFers swore they’d leave the party if that ever happened.
    I think the whole FF republican tradition has a stronger hold than people realise, hence the SF coalition speculation.
    Incidentally, for a potentially very significant story, this has been met with a deathly silence.
    I have tried to contact the FF press office about it a half a dozen times and I’m still waiting for them to get back to me.
    I wonder whether the SBP caught wind of something they’re trying to keep under wraps for the moment.
    There’s a good analyis of some of the moves by the southern parties on the Athol Books website here:
    http://www.atholbooks.org/southbelfastclp/content.php?story=25

  • Henry94

    I agree with Tom. For a lot of Fianna Fail people in the south the oath would be a step too far.

    The only workable policy would be to pass legislation in the south which would allow MPs elected in the north to attend the Dail.

  • willowfield

    Why would anyone in NI want to join FF? What exactly do they stand for?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The FF non story is being used as a cover by elements of the SDLP who can see a very bleak future for their current party. The Tom Kellys and Martin Morgans of this world cannot now see themselves gaining any future powerful positions whilst involved with the SDLP. For some reason they have attached themselves to the pro FF bandwagon. Why exactly they believe FF will be successful here is anybodys guess.
    It is wishful thinking on their part that they believe FF organising in this part of Ireland will have any meaningful effect re the voting intentions of the nationalist electorate. Especially with the SDLP on the slide.

    The SDLP know that the only potential pool for FF support is mainly among the rural SDLP vote. FF wouldn’t gain any SF voters at all. Given that the SDLP has no intention of going away it means they would have to vigorously defend themselves against FF. The already strained relationship between the two would be virtually at breaking point.
    SF as the big tiger would watch the two little tigers mauling themselves to a standstill, then while the dust settles simply destroy what is left. Leaving the northern six counties settled and the ability to increase resources towards the southern part of Ireland and the newly chastened FF.

  • smcgiff

    ‘I think the whole FF republican tradition has a stronger hold than people realise, hence the SF coalition speculation.’

    I couldn’t, respectfully, disagree more. It’s largely a non-issue. FF play lip service to it as a distinguishing factor within the ROI’s largely homogenous political system. Furthermore, the SF coalition speculation is hot air. There is zero chance of that happening any time soon. This ‘speculation’ was only mentioned as a sop to the DUP along the lines of, ‘Ya we’d (wink wink) go into government with them, so it’s okay for the DUP’. Take away the very weak link of ‘Republicanism’, they’ve nothing in common. Really, do ye know nothing of ROI politics?!? 😉

    ‘The only workable policy would be to pass legislation in the south which would allow MPs elected in the north to attend the Dail.’

    I can’t see why this would be needed. On the contrary, I think the republican elements in FF would like to see FF involved directly at ground level in NI politics. Everyone knows the oath is meaningless in itself, as is the institution to which it pledges allegiance, furthermore it would be Northern Ireland (UK citizens) FF’ers that would be taking the vote. BIG DIFFERENCE.

    Finally, as I’m in an argumentative mood, FF would take votes* from SF. The reason being that SF’s vote, outside its core, is a borrowed vote from the SDLP. FF is a higher profile party and could regain these votes.

    * I don’t see FF getting involved in local politics, unless the political change in NI has been more rapid than I thought. The only time it would make sense for FF to take up a presence in NI would be if a UI were around the corner. This is some years off as yet.

  • Nathan

    Isn’t there already an unofficial branch set up in Derry? The Fianna Failure Eamon de Valera Cumann I believe.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Isn’t there already an unofficial branch set up in Derry? The Fianna Failure Eamon de Valera Cumann I believe.’

    In the same way as there’d be nothing stopping me setting up a Dictatorial Unionist Party in the ROI. The key word is unofficial.

  • Nathan

    “In the same way as there’d be nothing stopping me setting up a Dictatorial Unionist Party in the ROI. The key word is unofficial.”

    Actually the key word is semi-official. The branch may not have been granted official recognition by FF HQ, but Martin Mansergh has been in regular contact with them and they haven’t been asked to stand down.

    The former SDLP mayor of Derry Tony Carlin, former Irish Independence Party deputy mayor of the city, Liam Bradley and former SDLP director of elections Kevin Downey run the cumann.

    Anyone interested in joining the Eamon de Valera cumann can contact me at my email address. I’ll be happy to pass on the contact details.

  • smcgiff

    You’ve me confused (not that hard really) now, Nathan. Are you pro FF

    ‘Anyone interested in joining the Eamon de Valera cumann can contact me at my email address.’

    Or against it?

    ‘The Fianna Failure…’

  • Billy Pilgrim

    I suppose the question for Fianna Fail is, would any possible gain accrued from entering northern politics outweigh the potential pitfalls? And I’d say the cute hoors of FF are a long way from deciding that the coast is clear north of the border yet.

    That said, it’d be a major advance for nationalists in the north and pro-unity people across Ireland if the government in Dublin had a direct electoral interest in the north.

    It would mean that at Ard Fheiseanna, northern and southern delegates would take a joint role in policy-making for the whole island. It would lessen the relevance of the border.

    (For example if FF were in government in Dublin and held, say, the DRD portfolio in Belfast then the party leader – who would presumably be the Taoiseach – could instruct his ministers north and south to implement the kind of single, all-island spatial strategy we have long needed. Then we’d have the motorway from Belfast to below Newry that the union has always failed to provide.)

    Sinn Fein cottoned on to this long ago, and they are unquestionably right when they say the all-Ireland nature of the party is a big part of their appeal to non-unionists from Bushmills to Bantry.

    Perhaps Fianna Fail are coming around to the idea?

  • Nathan

    I’ve been brought up to despise the Soldiers of Destiny with a naked vengence. All goes back to 3 FF ministers and, how shall I say it, their involvement in the formation of PIRA.

    Quite simply, FF leaves me with a really rancid taste in the mouth.

  • Fraggle

    Nathan, you’re confusing me. Why would you want to help FF get new members if you hate them with “a naked vengence”?

  • Nathan

    Anyone interested in joining the Eamon de Valera cumann can contact me at my email address. I’ll be happy to pass on the contact details.

    Why the need to assume there needs to be an ulterior motive? As it happens I now live overseas and am politically unaligned.

  • Nathan

    Actually, on reflection Fraggle that latter comment was reckless on my part.

    Liam Bradley already urged Irish News readers were interested in joining to contact them some time back so no need to hesitate in dishing the cumann number on a public forum: 028 7126 9109.

  • Tom Griffin

    do ye know nothing of ROI politics?!? 😉

    Given that I am a North London Plastic Paddy you may have a point 😉

    The SF coalition speculation was probably a bad example. I agree it was mainly aimed at the DUP. having said that it was interesting that some TDs saluted when Dermot Ahern ran it up the flagpole even if it was a minority.
    However, I think the FF constituency that would be opposed to entering Westminster is probably broader than the one that would welcome a coalition with SF.
    Some of those that would oppose SF would not want to hand over the whole republican narrative to them.

  • PaddyD

    The SDLP never had an outlet through being in the Dail or Southern government. Hence their need to participate in Westminster. I don’t believe FF would be interested in taking Westminster seats. What the previous contributors forget is the FF v FG symbolic & cultural difference in the South. Many FGers are Remondites and would love the stuffiness of the Westminster parliament, FF like to define themselves as the opposite of this.

    3 out of 4 Northern elections are PR based. FF were to contest those elections, their priority would be the council and assembly elections. FF would probably follow the lead of the Old Nationalist Party and support abstentionist candidates for Westminster.

    The only thing that is stopping FF from entering the fray in the 6 counties is the fact they don’t want to inherit any SDLP MPs, there’ll be no fear of that after next summer!

    What I’m curious about is & perhaps our friends from the De Valera cumann could clarify:

    1. Will FF merge with the SDLP, or move in taking a sizable chunk of it in a mass defection.

    2. Of the 18 SDLP MLA’s, 5 or 6 would lean towards Irish Labour, what of the remainder? How many of them would join FF?