Political rather than government pressure

Suzanne Breen reports that the two governments will not want to be the agency that excludes Sinn Fein from any future arrangements. Instead it will be up to the party’s local rivals to exert political pressure at the up and coming elections in May.

At the moment however, this appears to be unlikely:

Sinn Féin is unlikely to lose votes in May’s Westminster elections. Indeed, it’s poised to take at least one seat (Newry and Armagh) off the SDLP, and possibly two more, (Foyle and South Down), potentially leaving the SDLP with no Westminster representation. The worst scenario for Sinn Féin in the North is that it loses some second preferences from hardened SDLP voters in the council election, likely to be held on the same day as the Westminster contest.

The more telling contest is likely to be a litmus for the party’s fortunes in the Republic:

The big test in the Republic will be the Meath by-election for John Bruton’s old seat. Sinn Féin candidate Joe Reilly has long been expected to perform strongly. Sinn Féin sources are unconcerned by last month’s Irish Times poll. At eleven per cent, the party’s share of the vote has fallen only one per cent since the Northern Bank raid.

  • peteb

    “the two governments will not want to be the agency” – I’m sure they would prefer not to, Mick – they have said that they don’t want to give SF the excuse to portray themselves as being the ‘victim’.. But, given what both governments have stated over the past few weeks, in regard to continued criminality and paramilitary activity, the attempt to pass the buck to individual political parties in the north is an abdication of responsibility by the (supposedly) sovereign governments.

  • DessertSpoon

    Well said Pete – plus the last thing you want to do is give the voters here too much say look what they did last time!

  • Alan2

    The governments just need to lay down the law.
    They should arrange things so that people and parties could only exclude themselves by not doing what they agreed to do or a required to do.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘Instead it will be up to the party’s local rivals to exert political pressure at the up and coming elections in May.’

    Most sensible people recognise that the SDLP is now incapable of exerting such pressure while the unionists are irrelevant in that battle unless they resort to ultra bigot mode thereby boosting the SF vote.
    All in all a pretty pointless position for the governments to adopt

  • vespasian

    SF/IRA would do well to remember Harold Wilson’s famous words ‘A week is a long time in politics’

    They should not take for granted that their support will remain solid or increase against a continued onslaught from Aherne and Bush (or their represntatives). They can do more damage to SF/IRA than any UK politcal party can do.

    Their dalliances in Columbia, Waring Street and other places have not gone on noticed and any attempt to wave a sword in the air would be seen by a newly empowered Bush as terrorist activity and will in all probability receive short shrift.

    A sizable section of the SF/IRA electorate is young and doesn’t remember the past of that organisation. It may be that a propaganda war waged against SF/IRA could sucessfully make it clear what their past was and continues to be.

    The SDLP is finished yet, no matter what SF/IRA and their supporters would like to think. They now have a lot more friends around the world due to the actions of SF/IRA

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    What happened at Columbia did they steal a few pictures? Also what happened at Waring St?

  • vespasian


    You could almost be Gerry Adams!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Ok I am Gerry Adams, what happened at Waring St?

  • DerryTerry

    Eddie McGrady was on Radio Foyle at lunchtime (some piece of electioneering for Foyle SDLP and the party leader re May) and his position was basically we will not exclude anyone but if others want to exclude themselves then that will be a matter for them.

    Its probably fair to say that even if some within the SDLP are prepared to make a last stand against SF, the party leadership, and i use that term loosely, don’t know what to do and would likely balk at doing it anyway.

  • Jacko

    Adams and McGuinness are now being referred to openly as liars within the broad nationalist/ republican constituency (not that there seems much difference between the two nowadays). Even Pat McClarnon, I’m certain, has had creeping doubts of late.
    The Shinners are making the classic politicians’ mistake – taking the electorate for granted.

  • cg

    “Adams and McGuinness are now being referred to openly as liars within the broad nationalist/ republican constituency”

    Is this what the majority are saying or just the stoops and dissidents?

    Not snip-ing but merely enquiring 😉

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Anyone been able to find out what happened at Waring St and what the IRA were doing hanging around Columbia Pictures?

  • Jacko


    Certainly not a majority, but way beyond the two groups you mention and growing. You know how these things are, when the tide starts to turn, as it may well be doing now, it does so pretty quickly.

  • vespasian

    Pat aka Gerry

    Bertie and Tony told me that you knew all about it, and you know what I believe them! Strangely so do an awful lot of other people….pity about that.

  • cg

    “Certainly not a majority, but way beyond the two groups you mention and growing”

    So if it isn’t stoops or dissident’s then it must be shinners that you are referring to?

  • DerryTerry


    Breaking news story. Just because you believe something doesn’t make it true. Just because others believe it doesn’t make it true either. Hope this doesn’t come as to big a shock.