Sinn Fein digging a bigger hole for itself…

Senator Maurice Hayes with a thoughtful piece directed at Sinn Fein, suggests the party needs to work out when to stop digging. He argues that their demand to have access to government and police intelligence from the taoiseach they seemed not to recognise is they, and not the Irish Government that has the credibility problem.

  • Keith M

    Whatever SF/IRA are spending their millions on, it certainly isn’t Public Relations.It was embarrassing watching the Taoiseach tearing strips off the FF TDs in the Dail yesterday, in what many considered to be his best performance in Leinster House in many years. You can forget about any chance of seeing SF in government here for the rest of the decade.

    At this stage no one expects SF/IRA to come out with their hands up when it comes to their criminal activities. It’s far more likely that these activites will be explained by use of the chuckie dictionary version of “crime” or else some IRA men on “unauthorised activities” (which I believe was their excuse for the murder of McCabe.

    The only question that now needs to be answered is, how long are SF/IRA going to be able to veto political progress in Northern Ireland? All the fine words of Blair and Ahern won’t amount to much unless they set a deadline for SF/IRA to end criminality and fully decommision and show that they are prepared to move on without the republicans if needbe. 25% of the electorate (probably less when you consider that one third of SF/IRA voters do not believe the party’s leadership on the bank raid) cannot hold the country to ransom.

  • George

    Bertie’s primary aim here to make it perfectly clear that he is the man to lead the country into the next decade and it looks like he has even convinced Keithm. Aufwiedersehen Enda, the man Keithm was advocating as the next Taoiseach not so long ago. Told you he hadn’t a hope.

    You really have to hand it to Fianna Fail. Three months ago, the Independent was pulling them apart over the Garda McCabe issue and now they are giving Bertie as much help as they can in ensuring that it’s 20 years of contintuous Fianna Fail government.

    He really does deserve the most cunning and devious of them all accolade.

    By the by, Sinn Fein will still increase its vote and seat count in the next Dail election.

  • Davros

    Crivvens! “their demand to have access to government and police intelligence” ? Sounds like they think
    they are the government 😉

  • Keith M

    George, as someone who has voted for Ahern in the last two elections, I’m hardly likely to change now. I never advocated Kenny for Taoiseach, I simply pointed out that FG were the party who made the great gains last year.

    I don’t think many people will argue with the idea of SF increasing their seat and vote count in 2006 or 2007. The question is how far beyond the 11% they achieved in 2005 will the go, or have they hit a glass ceiling as recent polls suggest.

  • J Kelly

    Sinn Fein will increase both its vote share and number of seats at next Dail election and then we will really see how cunning and devious Bertie is. He will be knocking down the door 44 Parnell Square. Faced with the possibility of a minority government ar a majority coalition Bertie will go for the second. A minority government with an undestanding with SF give them a veto but a coalition buys them in. Its then that SF will have to make big decisions of going into government with the party that has corrupted politics in the twenty six counties for decades. Republicans have a reputation to protect.

  • George

    Sorry if I misrepresented you Keithm but I got the impression that, if you were not looking forward to a change of Taoiseach, you expected one.

    European and local elections don’t count as a true barometer. Look at the FF and FG votes there.

    Considering Sinn Fein only got 6.5% in the 2002 Dail election, I think they would be quite content with nearly doubling their vote this time around.

    So if they get over 11% in 2006, as you believe eminently possible, even with all the mud being slung, by the time the 2010/2011 election comes around nobody will be talking about Northern Bank jobs and that glass ceiling may have moved just that bit higher.

    Who will have the credibility problem in 2010 – Bertie after 15 years in power or Sinn Fein who will still be in opposition?

    It all comes back to slamming Sinn Fein for short-term electoral gain. Bertie is pandering to people like yourself, people who would never vote Sinn Fein but, equally, would never vote for a party that would countenance Sinn Fein, as it is currently constituted, in power in Dail Eireann.

    He has got you back on board. Those who voted Sinn Fein last time would expect nothing else from Bertie and those new people who will vote SF won’t be put off by anything Bertie or Hugh Orde says.

    They would ask why, in the wake of Ray Burke et al, we don’t we have a clear committment to end criminality by all Fianna Fail TDs.

    James Kelly,
    see above on cunning and devious. It’s about power not SF.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    I was unaware that SF demanded access to the intelligence sources of the Irish Govt. I think to say they did is a bit disingenuous.

    Ahern was quite specific in his intial apportioning of blame to Adams and Mc Guinness although this has been amended slightly to the fact that as the operation was so large, as leadership figures, they must have known. It is clear from the actions of the PSNI and Gardai that there is no evidence of any kind on this robbery. Even the intelligence can be ridiculed given the embarrassment of the pre Xmas raids.

    Hayes speaks of credibility problems for SF, but these credibility problems are with the very people who have always had a problem with SF. If Hayes doesn’t realise this then he is plain daft or simply currying favour with the Independent Newspapers editorial line.

    After the breakdown of the talks pre Xmas it was clear that everything was on hold until after the Westminister elections. It is now clear that the election campaign is well and truly under way. At this juncture the only concern of SF will be to shore up their own constituency. Something that appears not to be a problem at all.

  • Mick Fealty

    Good post Pat.

    I’m sure you are right about the party being ready for the ‘parliamentary ruck’ in May. But Hayes’s description fits the character of public opinion in the republic rather more snugly than that of the post-conflict Northern nationalist electorate, which is much more willing to cut the party some considerable slack.

    It also helps that its only rivals don’t yet seem ready to take on Sinn Fein head to head on this or, frankly, any other issue.

  • Rebecca Black

    the shinners aren’t performing too well on TV at the moment, did anyone else see Mary-Lou McDonald on RTE the other night on Questions and Answers. She was getting a tad flustered and came across fairly poorly, especially compared to her usual smooth performances.

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    you are right on the Southern opinion, in that respect the coming elections are now critical for SF. From their point of view it is essential that they maintain or even widen the gap over the SDLP. Likewise a SDLP fightback (however unlikely) could signal to the both governments that maybe the Shinners could be sidelined, if only for a period of enforced self assessment.

    I would expect a couple more opinion polls in the South within the next month or so to see if the onslaught on SF is having the desired effect.

    The stakes are very high indeed.