Sinn Fein launch ‘regional integration’ strategy

Donegal is likely to offer Sinn Fein some rich pickings in the next general election in the Republic, especially with Jim McDaid stepping down in somewhat inglorious circumstances. No coincidence that Sinn Fein is launching its Integrated Regional Future document in Derry today.


  • Stephen Copeland

    Speaking before the conference, the party’s Foyle MLA Mitchel McLaughlin said it was important unionists were consulted on a united Ireland.

    He said: “Every effort must be made to engage with unionist opinion and to consider, discuss and engage with them about the nature and form a new Ireland will take.”

    While I agree with Mitchel, I think the fact that he has said it (a day after me, it must be said) means that any chance that unionists will engage in a ‘big conversation’ with nationalists, even here in a sanitised environment, is probably lost.

  • Keith M

    It never ceases to amaze me how SF/IRA still haven’t managed to pick up a seat in in Donegal. This should be prime shinner terrirory. They will get one (and more likely two) next year, but then Donegal is likely to become a 5 seater so the fun really starts.

    McDaid wouldn’t wouldn’t have been elected anyway and his troubles started long before his drink driving. He’s had the worst PR of any TD.

  • Donegal NW remains a three-seater, and it’s likely that if anyone is to benefit from McDaid’s departure that it will be Fine Gael. Their organisation is decent in Donegal, and while they have underperformed, they have a significant local government presence. Last time out FG ran two candidates, splitting the vote, having 80% of a quota evenly divided between them, and winning no seat. This time I believe they’re running a single candidate.

    Sinn Féin will do well, it will likely be between SF & FG for the third seat, hard to see Blaney or Keaveney being supplanted. One has to remember that Blaney has always represented the hard republican Fianna Fáil vote in the area; it is Sinn Féin that normally gets this vote in other constituencies.

    Still, Padraig Mac Lochlainn got 40% (10% of 1st prefs) of a quota last time out to Blaney’s 67%, and if Mac Lochlainn can pop that by 20% or so, he could be in with a shout. 10% was a great performance last time out, and as SF support increases, he could be good for 14-14.5% this time out. Depends how fragmented the poll-topper McDaid’s vote is. Could come down to location (i.e. McDaid from Letterkenny, who’s getting the Letterkenny vote? If FG run one candidate, who is it to be, and where is s/he from?)

  • john burns

    What surprises me is that any party apart than Sinn Fein gets seats in Donegal. I thought everyone in Donegal was a IRA supporter.

  • DerryTerry

    FG are running one candidate, Senator Joe McHugh who is Letterkenny based but his selection seems to have left a sour taste in the traditional FG support base of Inishowen, with the Hartes being none too happy.

    In the 2004 locals IFF lsot half their seats and Blaney is apparently no patch on the uncle, so they’re not in the best of shape. Indeed one of McDaid’s last public statements was a very vocal lash at any suggestion that FF and IFF would come together with Blaney getting a run at a seat.

    Nor would i be convinced that Keaveney is invulnerable. She is Moville based but I’ve heard rumblings from traditional Inishowen FF voters that they’re less than impressed with her performance on the ground, and of course MacLochlainn is also Inishowen based, albeit in Buncrana.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Anthony B,

    If FG run one candidate, who is it to be, and where is s/he from?)

    They have already selected Joe McHugh from Milford.

  • I wonder could Letterkenny actually abandon FF altogether with the negative reaction to McDaid’s decision to abandon his constituents? They may well decide that Donegal, which has done poorly out of the Celtic Tiger with all the job losses and all that, would be better served by a completely new kind of politician…that would certainly throw the race wide open.

    Thanks for clarification on Joe McHugh – I thought they had selected, but wasn’t sure. Can’t imagine the two candidates from last time out are too impressed either – McGuinness and Moloney.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Re Joe McHugh: he is (I believe) married to Olwyn Enright TD (FG Laois-Offaly). If he gets elected, would this be the first ever husband-wife team in Dáil Eireann? I cannot think of any other.

  • páid

    unless the Robinsons beat ’em to it 😉

  • Stephen Copeland


    unless the Robinsons beat ‘em to it 😉

    I’d be delighted for them to win!

  • Keith M

    “I’d be delighted for them to win!” Indeeed it would be great to see the unionist heartland of Rathgar come back to life!

  • Stephen Copeland

    Keith M,

    … the unionist heartland of Rathgar

    It hasn’t really been the same since the British army pulled out of Rathmines, has it?

    Having said that, though, Rathgar seems to be doing OK on its own without the BA and the Castle civil servants spending power …

  • piebald

    a Dublin comedian Jimmy O’Dea would describe Rathmines and Rathgar as “a purgatory for souls awaiting the heaven of Foxrock”

    The BA might be gone but they have left us a taste of their national cuisine in the form of the one and only “Bombay Pantry” !


  • páid

    I wonder what these SF regions are going to be. I heard Pat Doherty refer to Sligo in the context of the Omagh / Enniskillen hospital debate on BBC Carruthers show the other night. I hope that they are based on provincial boundaries rather than artifical ones to muddy the border, partly an artifical one itself. As a resident of the BMW ‘region’ I can safely say I feel damn-all allegiance to it.

  • Stephen Copeland


    Sligo hospital is an entirely valid element in any discussion of hospitals in the north-west. As are Cavan, Letterkenny, and so on. The best provision oof medical care should be sought without any regard to the ‘artificial borders’ of which you speak.

    As it happens, though, geography has not been kind to the Sligo/Leitrim/Fermanagh area, which is riddled with mountains and lakes, so a comprehensive single provision for A+E would be hard. There should, however, be no double-provision of specialist services, as this would make them unaffordable in many cases, and thus unprovided. Sligo, Cavan, Enniskillen, and the others in the north-west should cooperate to ensure that their facilities and consultants are available to all of the people of the area. The aalternative is aa long trek to Dublin, Galway, Belfast or Derry.

    PS I entirely agree with the BMW nonsense. It was only invented to provide ‘democratic legitimacy’ to the artificial regionalisation of the south for EU structural funds purposes.

  • Conor Gillespie

    In some degree, as far as Donegal is concerned, FG probably shot itself in the foot with Enda Kelly’s propositions to remove cumpolsury Irish in RoI Schools. Not sure to many rural Gaeltachtai constituents were particularly pleased by the notion that their language might soon be completely confined to a slow and isolated demise. The EU’s acceptance of Irish as the 21st official language of the EU is bound to create jobs for fluent speakers and jobs are exactly what the people of Donegal are most lacking in (17% unemployment did I hear?!) FF could easily garner these voters into the fold by reminding them that it was their party that procured the languages new status (effective as of January 2007) as an official language. If they don’t, these votes could very well go SF as they made their support very clear during the last Ard Fheis. Either way, the polls have all shown that Enda did his party no favors among language enthusiasts by announcing his propositions so close to elections.