Joseph O’Malley thinks it’s less to do with Sinn Fein than fending off a challenge from Fine Gael and Labour. In any case he believes that Sinn Fein won’t become a serious contender this time around, whilst recent high profile criminal activity, allegedly (ie unproven in any court) connected to the IRA is still fresh in the public mind. Instead he sees a grand coalition of Fine Gael, Labour and, if the electoral arithmetic is right, the PDs as more likely in the event of Ahern’s government losing enough crucial seats.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty