Sinn Fein heading for mainstream Social Democracy?

It looks like Sinn Fein is heading for the centre left. Brian Dowling looks at how the party is working away from its revolutionary socialist past. More prosaically, it may be further evidence that the party is preparing to move away from Utopian to practical mode, in the face of some sharp criticism of their economic policies.In the Irish Times, Mark Hennessey (subs needed), the party thinks its time for the state to grab something back from the Celtic Tiger:

The existing 12.5 per cent rate in the Republic should rise to 17.5 per cent, while Northern Ireland’s rates should be lowered to the same level to allow for the development of an all-island economy.

“Sinn Féin challenges the view that the 26-county State would not be competitive and the economic boom would not have occurred but for the low level of corporation tax, now less than half the EU average,” said the party’s discussion document.

Multinationals are “siphoning” €25 billion out of the Republic’s economy “which could have been used to tackle the State’s infrastructure deficit, to invest in education, and training or to subsidise research and development”, the party said.

Low corporation tax imposes “hidden costs” on the economy because it erodes the “ability of the State to pay for public services, imposing a disproportionate tax burden on the poor thus aggravating poverty, and undermining R&D [ research and development] essential to the economy’s future.