McDonald and the future of Sinn Fein…

More Hardtalk, in which Stephen Sackur talks to Mary Lou McDonald, scion of a Fianna Fail family and now leading Sinn Fein’s charm offensive on the middle class south of the border. A cool performance, which gives no hostages to fortune. Stickiest moment, is the question on her decision to abstain on the European vote for money for the McCartney family, and the passage that follows in which she all but denies IRA men were involved in the killing. For all the considerable promise McDonald represents, the party is still politically on defensive.

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  • dublinsinnfeinsupporter

    Mary Lou McDonald is a very promising politician set to win Dublin Central for Sinn Fein at the next election.

    She is ideal to be Sinn Fein’s next leader.

  • Fanny

    Charm offensive, Mick? You saying that Gerry isn’t charming?!

    She is very promising, yes. It’s just such a shame that she behaved so dishonorably over the McCartney family vote. Party loyalty is admirable but one shouldn’t follow the party line to hell.

  • DaithiO

    Fanny (by name not by nature I hope)…

    “Party loyalty is admirable but one shouldn’t follow the party line to hell.”

    Other parties could learn a lot from Sinn Féin about party loyalty, loyalty to the cause that drives them, and the grass roots that support them !

  • “She is ideal to be Sinn Fein’s next leader.

    Well, the British security forces have infiltrated the party right up to its higher ranks, so I’m sure they wouldn’t mind letting Fianna Fáil do the same 😉

  • spirit-level

    SF cannot atttack the DUP for living in the past, when it itself is wriggling all over the place when it comes to hard questions like: what is a crime? and its lack of support for the police, based on old prejudices.
    Mary Lou may well be the new breed, but as Mick notes, still on the defensive and living in wrigglesville. Having said that I may well go out and canvas on her behalf. Because we need a SF voice in Dublin, as they are the only party to seriously challenge for the unity of the country ( pity about the baggage, but what are the southern softies doing for the cause )
    and Ireland is still a sexist land, so we need a bright bit of skirt about the place 🙂

  • Miss Fitz

    It’s interesting this has come up at this time. A couple of days ago I put up a thread on an article Mary Lou had written for DI.

    I havent studied her closely, but it looks like she does not have a robust and sturdy basis for her commentary.

    Spirit Level: Shame on you for reducing any politician of any hue or creed to a bit of skirt. Your attitude represents the worst of the sexism you refer to. Attack or defend on the basis of ideology, policy and performance, leave the cute comments at home

  • Pete Baker

    “For all the considerable promise McDonald represents, the party is still politically on defensive.”

    Hmm.. still on the politically defensive, and that interview was back on 29th June.

    As for McDonald’s “considerable promise”, Miss Fitz did a good job of picking up on the recent example of Mary Lou’s loyalty to the grass roots, and her ignoring of facts, in Daily Ireland.

  • Yokel

    fair play to you Miss Fitz…sexism, disgraceful

    I haven’t seen Ms McDonald meself..is she a looker?

  • Nathan

    Mary Lou positives:
    – No baggage
    – Has the potential to secure personal votes from those who wouldn’t normally touch Sinn Fein with a barge pole

    Mary Lou negatives
    – As a political rep, she is obliged to conform to the party line.
    – She has all the attributes of a wannabe
    – She was partly responsible for the formation of Eirigi. Apparently her own sister resigned from Dublin Sinn Fein (which is chaired by Mary Lou), to form this outlet, for reasons which are not entirely clear.

  • Fanny

    DaithiO, I don’t understand your comment on my name but I’ll let it pass.

    About loyalty: yes, I said it’s admirable. But don’t you feel it’s a little Borglike to swallow and regurgitate ALL the party policy even when it involves shitting on a grieving family?

  • blackbird

    “Mary Lou McDonald is a very promising politician set to win Dublin Central for Sinn Fein at the next election.

    She is ideal to be Sinn Fein’s next leader. ”

    She could well get a seat in the Dail at the next election but I don’t think she will outpoll Bertie as many shinners seem to hope.

    As for being Sinn Fein’s next leader – HA! Not bloody likely.

  • dublinsinnfeinsupporter

    Mary Lou is able to speak on six county questions with increasing authority so I would disagree that she does not have a robust basis. Last year she visited Ahoghill in the wake of sectarianism there and has tirelessly campaigned against sectarianism, she regularly writes on six county issues for newspapers, and appears on six county political disucssion programmes. She is able to speak on all policy matters for Sinn Fein.

  • interestedinelections

    Speaking of the next Dail election, dublin central should be an interesting ward, see link

    [a href=“http://electionsireland.org/result.cfm?election=2007&cons=85”]This shows[/a] who the candidiates will be running, Fianna Fail are pretty game by running three candidates, might have been smarter to run two candidates and maximise their vote against Mary Lou because you can be sure the shinner spin machine will go into overdrive in an attempt to embarass Bertie.

  • blackbird

    “Mary Lou is able to speak on six county questions with increasing authority”

    She’s still a dub and does not have the credibility to lead Sinn Fein – it’ll take more than a few trips to Ahoghill to gain this credibility. I can’t see Adams going anytime soon and if he was to go, it would really have to be a northerner, some posh bitch from dublin 4 is not going to go down well in Sinn Fein heartlands north of the border. Let’s face reality here.

  • spirit-level

    missfitz,
    if you weren’t so quick to judge you’d realise that I was making a humourous comment,
    I already said Ireland is a sexist place, which is a disgrace, and then turned it round.
    perhaps you have no sense of humour.

  • dublinsinnfeinsupporter

    blackbird

    I am not suggesting Gerry is going soon.

    It’s shameful that you call her a “bitch”.

    Dublin is a key battleground for Sinn Féin don’t forget its the biggest city in Ireland. Sinn Féin have to reach out to new voters. She will be in the Dáil when her profile will further increase.

  • blackbird

    After having had some dealings with her, just be glad I am not calling her worse. She’s in it for Mary-Lou not Sinn Fein.

  • DaithiO

    Fanny

    I don’t understand how she can be “shitting on a grieving family”

    Firstly the murder of Mr. McCartney has been widely condemned by the leadership of Sinn Féin. I was at the SF Ard Fheis only weeks after that murder when the sisters came in solidarity and received a rapturous welcome from the delegates there. It’s the way the sisters, and Roberts partner have been politically manipulated to criminalise republicans because of a crime perpetrated by people who may or may not be members of the Provisionals that grates most. The PIRA did not sanction this killing. Analogous to this the actions (murders !)of the Parachute Regiment on Bloody Sunday WERE sanctioned by the British government.

    Remember that the PSNI/RUC is not recognised as a legitimate police force by people in areas such as Short Strand after hard years and bitter experience. So the wider issues have to be addressed, then the normal rules defining law and order might be observed.

    So to ask Marylou McDonald to condemn such acts, in the same way Toireasa Ferris was asked to condemn the killing of Garda McCabe is unfair. Neither lady can be expected to have the facts in these cases.

  • Fanny

    So, help me out here, DaithiO. Marylou did not have the facts but the rest of Europe had?

    If that works for you, fine.

  • Nathan

    “I can’t see Adams going anytime soon and if he was to go, it would really have to be a northerner, some posh bitch from dublin 4 is not going to go down well in Sinn Fein heartlands north of the border. Let’s face reality here.”

    I think you’re missing a very important point, blackbird.

    Sinn Fein desperately need to attract support from people outside of their traditional heartlands, if they are to exceed expectations. Considering that they are the only major all-Ireland party in the north, they don’t have to worry about getting the northern vote in the Sinn Fein heartlands.

    Its the south they need to worry about, and its middle-class voters that they need to attract. Catapulting a middle class girl to the forefront is one method they’re employing at the moment, in an attempt to garner wider support. I wish them well, and minus the IRA I think theres alot of people out there who would have no objections to southern Sinn Fein in government.

  • DaithiO

    Fanny,

    If the facts were known then the murderers would currently be serving sentences.

    If the facts were so widely known then maybe your postings here would better informed.

    The fact is there are no facts !

    Just like the Northern Bank robbery, a convenient shitty stick to beat republicans with, guilty until proven innocent. That’s colonial rough justice. Nowhere in the “united” kingdom is justice meted out in a pliant press as it is in the 6 counties.

    Fanny, please read that propaganda very carefully and come back to me if you find any facts, you very gullible person !

  • Keith M

    For a couple of years building up to the Euro election Mary-Lou played the monkey to Adams as the man with the barrel organ. She was pushed in front of camera at every possible photo opportunity. In the end she scraped in to get the final seat falling well short of the quota.

    Since then she has been parachuted into my constituency (Dublin Central) despite not living here or having ever tried to be elected here in the past. (In the local elections she stood for a different council entirely).

    The reason why she was foisted upon us that serious questions marks were raised over former Dail candidate Nicky Kehoe and he decided to jump rather than be pushed. Have an ear to the dogs on the street the for the full story.

    Now with less than a year to go to the election, everyone seems to be tipping McDonald for a seat, but from local knowledge I can tell you that’s there’s no certainty in that. Consider the following;

    Kehoe had a huge personal vote in Cabra from his local with local vigilanty groups fighting drugs etc. There is little chance that all this will go to McDonald.

    The Greens have selected former MEP Patricia McKenna (who is a native of the constituency) and there was already a substanial feeling around that she will do very well, having kept a much higher local prfile while she was in Europe than McDonald has managed.

    Three of the four seats in the constituency are probably locks; FF (Bertie Ahern), Labour (Joe Costello) and Independent (Tony Greogory, who is apparently running again despite earlier rumours).

    This leaves an absolute dog fight for the last seat; Ahern’s personal vote should and normally does bring in a running mate and next year they are trying a very interesting three way split in the constituency. FG, who have normally had a seat here, but lost it in 2002 are back with a hard working local councillor (who’s already been to my gated estate twice). Then there’s McKenna and McDonald. Given the growing afluence in the constituency it’s unlikely (but still possible) that there willl be three leftist seats here.

    In the end it will come down to transfers and SF had a disaster on transfers here in 2002. (Kehoe was 3rd on first preferences and ended up 5th).

  • The SF Media Machine has hit Slugger with it’s sycophantic dribble trying to make out what a great girl ML is. The reference in this blog to her decision to abstain on the European vote for money for the McCartney family and her sycophantic acceptance that the Provos were not involved with the McCartney atrocity just goes to show that deep down SF still believe that anything that the IRA authorises cannot be a crime. Ourselves Alone indeed! Shame on them and all those who betray Ireland by voting for them!

  • interestedinelections

    Keith

    Thanks for the detail from the ground, which area did Mary-Lou previously run in?

    I have heard Bertie has a massive personal vote on the ground and that he would literally be able to walk up to any house and know some of the inhabitants. But why oh why are FF running three other candidates in the constituency, surely it would be much more sensible to just run one to mop up Bertie’s transfers and get in ahead of Mary-Lou banishing her back to Europe?

  • interestedinelections

    Keith

    Also, what has happened to Dermot Fitzpatrick? Is Mary Fitzpatrick who is due to run this time for FF any relation?

    And I see it was Dublin West that McDonald ran in last time

    http://electionsireland.org/result.cfm?election=2002&cons=112

  • barnshee

    Hello Mary Lou (apologies to the late Rick Nelson)

    But she looks and sounds like the partner of the traveller who offers me a “saler cote er the droive” on a yearly basis She wont`t fly north of the border

  • Yet again the usual suspects come on to this site and degrade Mary Lou with the usual sexist comments that we have come to expect from them.

    Mary Lou is a very hard worker and will do an excellent job as a TD. Any talk of a new Sinn Féin leadership is premature in the extreme. There will not be a vacancy for a good while yet.

    I have already my feelings known on how I think will be the next leader (Conor Murphy) and nothing so far has changed that.

    Let’s stick to discussing Mary Lou’s politics and not her gender.

  • It might be sooner than you think. I hear old Gerry isn’t in the best of health, and he isn’t relying on the NHS or Irish Health Service to remedy the situation. He’s not looking too hot on it either.

    Perhaps the annus horribilis took its toll…

  • El Mat

    Just wishfull thinking on your behalf

  • Keith M

    interested….

    Mary Fitzpatrick is Dermot’s daughter and is already a councillor, she is going to be taking the Cabra and Navan Road part of the constituency, so going head to head with McDonald.

    I think that the FF stategy is interesting, but rather risky. FF get about 40% of the first preference vote and should repeat that again with three candidates and the re-drawn constituency boundaries (which help FF). Turning that into two seats is difficult, but made a lot easier by the way the opposition is fractured. No other candidate will exceed the quota on the first count.

    This means that Bertie’s transfers will be the first things to be divided out and those should lift both other FF candidates. You’re then into a ferocious dog fight and FF will hope that their third candidate will push their second one over the line.

    Thee are a few other considerations here too; locality plays a big part even in such a small constituency. Greogory does very poor down my end of Dublin Central but Labour does very well. Another factor could be the women’s vote with SF,FF and the Greens showing stronger transfer patterns than you might imagine.

    Another big unknown is the immigrant vote, if there is one.

  • dublinsinnfeinsupporter

    Regarding the leadership, yes that will not happen for many years yet.

    Regarding Conor Murphy, he is sometimes mentioned as a candidate for leadership and I don’t knock him.

    But I would say assuming Mary Lou wins Dublin Central, she would be the favourite in several ways. Having a vote in the Dáil, broadening Sinn Féin’s voter base, a hard worker with the necessary ambition, proven performance of being on top of a wide full range of issues relevant in tomorrows Ireland, experience in Europe, being an articulate speaker and TV performer, and not having a dour personality but rather a charismatic personality.

  • assuming Mary Lou wins Dublin Central, she would be the favourite in several ways

    The Sinn Féin membership is made up of more than just Dublin, I think you may be over estimating the odds on Mary Lou.

  • interestedinelections

    Ah, I see the strategy now. Not a bad idea putting a woman up against Mary-Lou, although I still think they are making a mistake by putting up three candidiates. Better to just have Bertie and Fitzgerald.

    Btw, I’m starting to think that dublinsinnfeinsupporter might actually be Mary-Lou herself or maybe a relative – such fawning!! I think Gaskin might be slightly more on the ball though, it seems unlikely in the extreme that McDonald might become leader anytime soon, when last I saw Adams, he looked in perfect health.

  • interestedinelections

    The immigrant vote is always an interesting one to watch, however in NI tends not to turn out, as evidenced by the Electoral Commission report on voting habits. Perhaps ROI might be different?

  • dantheman

    “Hello Mary Lou (apologies to the late Rick Nelson)

    But she looks and sounds like the partner of the traveller who offers me a “saler cote er the droive” on a yearly basis She wont`t fly north of the border ”

    Nat so mooch tarmacing yer droive dese days dan owning yer houses!!

  • fair_deal

    The impression I have got of Ms McDonald is a good automaton rather than a leader.

  • miss fitz

    By contrast, I saw Toireasa Ferris at a Republican commeration earlier in the year, and I was very impressed by her. Good orator, sound grasp of the facts, and went down like wildfire with themmuns North of the Border.

    SL, I know you were trying to be funny, but the phrase ‘bit of skirt’ was offensive. I have a sense of humour, but I also feel women should be treated as humans, politicians and with respect.

  • harpo

    ‘Regarding Conor Murphy, he is sometimes mentioned as a candidate for leadership and I don’t knock him.

    But I would say assuming Mary Lou wins Dublin Central, she would be the favourite in several ways.’

    That’s great news.

    Once again mainstream ‘republicanism’ will fall under the control of southerners who will alienate the northerners to the point where the northerners get pissed off with the softness of the southerners.

    It sounds all very much like the 60s again.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Aside from Ferris óg, Pearse Doherty (good outside bet for next SF leader imo)and poss Mary-Lou, SF have no serious hitters in the Republic. They have no TDs at the moment within an asses roar of being ministerial material (I know, I know it didn’t stop clowns like Callely, Cullen et al). It’s a big problem for them & if doherty and mc donald don’t take seats their ceiling will come sooner rather than later.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    spirit-level: “SF cannot atttack the DUP for living in the past, when it itself is wriggling all over the place when it comes to hard questions like: what is a crime? and its lack of support for the police, based on old prejudices. ”

    Its an order of magnitude problem, s-l. Unionism reveres events several hundred years old whilst denigrating Republicans for remembering things mere decades old. Can’t honestly have it both ways. If the Boyne is a legitimiate celebration / rallying point, why not more recent events?

  • Fanny

    Well, an interesting discussion while I was away.

    Evidently DaithiO thinks me naive:

    “Fanny, please read that propaganda very carefully and come back to me if you find any facts, you very gullible person !”

    Fine, everyone should have an opinion. But DaithiO, can you clarify something for me please? Why did Mary Lou abstain from voting? Grieving sisters are being given funding by Europe, subject to a vote, and an MEP from the same country abstains.

    Call me gullible but isn’t this rather heartless behaviour from a woman, i.e. shitting on the family?

  • Red Leb Damery

    those with SF mandates prior ro the forthcoming electio0ns. If we don’t do that good then its back to the drawing board.

  • piebald

    “The Greens have selected former MEP Patricia McKenna (who is a native of the constituency)” Keith M

    Keith, Patricia is a native of Monaghan although i believe her husband maybe a Dub.

    piebald

  • red leb

    My post started with a list of potential candidates and gains for SF. Including those 5 currrnr TDs. But I guest we post at the behest of the moderator, hence my heavily censored republican/Irish post. Any way = let’s think about the Hamas Legislature and Hebollah Soldiers who curwently take on the might of Brit/US/Zionist Imperialistic blind brutality and stupidity.

  • Nicky Kehoe came within a handful of votes of a seat in Dublin central with Sinn Féin picking up a national vote of 6.5%. Opinion polls have SF on around 9%, an increase of close to 50%. Given the fact that Mary Lou is much more likely to attract new SF voters and more transfers, she is an absolute certainty.

    Keith M talks of a Green challenge to SF for a seat yet in 2002, Sinn Féin polled THREE times as many first preference in the constituency.

    Of course, Keith himself said on this site that Mary Lou wasn’t going to be elected to the European Parliament. How wrong you were Keith. 50 euro says you’re wrong again?

  • Bilbo

    “Nicky Kehoe came within a handful of votes of a seat in Dublin central with Sinn Féin picking up a national vote of 6.5%. Opinion polls have SF on around 9%, an increase of close to 50%. Given the fact that Mary Lou is much more likely to attract new SF voters and more transfers, she is an absolute certainty. ”

    But keith made the point that Kehoe had a strong personal vote from Cabra from the constituency work he has done around there. North side Dublin is generally suspecious of blow-ins, particularly blow ins from the south side. I’m not sure she’ll be able to pick up all of Kehoe’s votes although I’m sure she will pick up some voters Kehoe wasn’t able to.

    Why, by the way is Kehoe not running this time?

  • Keith M

    piebald, I stand corrected. I assumed that as McKenna had a Glasnevin address for many years, that she was a native Dub. Certainly fellow constituents also seem to feel that she’s a native, and she has a long standing connection with Dublin Central.

    November Rain “Nicky Kehoe came within a handful of votes of a seat in Dublin central with Sinn Féin picking up a national vote of 6.5%. Opinion polls have SF on around 9%, an increase of close to 50%. Given the fact that Mary Lou is much more likely to attract new SF voters and more transfers, she is an absolute certainty.”

    There’s so many flaws in this I don’t know where to begin. As I’ve already stated, Kehoe’s vote had a large personal element, those votes may not go to another candidate.

    Secondly, just because an overall party share goes up it does mean that all constituencies rise at the same level. I have a strong suspicion that SF’s vote in places like Wexford, Mayo, Donegal and Cork is set to more than double in the next election. Therefore proportionally other constituencies will not climb by anything like 50%.

    Thirdly, the constituency boundaries have been re-drawn and its widely accepted that the changes (which bring parts of Dublin North Central and Dublin North West into Central) help FF more than anyone else.

    “Of course, Keith himself said on this site that Mary Lou wasn’t going to be elected to the European Parliament. How wrong you were Keith. 50 euro says you’re wrong again?”

    If you are going to quote me, it might be an idea to quote me in full. I said that on the poll figures during the election campaign (which had McDonald on 10%-12%), she would not get elected. The polls (like everybody else) did not predict the implosion in Royston Brady’s campaign which saw his support fall from 15% to under 9%. Had the polls been right, McDonald wouldn’t have been elected.

    With the election a year away I’m certainly not making any bets this far out, but I would agree that with the parachuting of McDonald into the constituency, it would be a complete disaster for the party if she were to fail.

  • George

    Blackbird,
    Mary Lou isn’t a D4 girl, she’s originally from Rathgar, which is D6.

    I agree with Keithm, if Mary Lou doesn’t get elected it will be a huge blow for the party. They seem to have set their stall out around her.

    I also agree with Fair_deal, I don’t think she will ever be leader. She is too much of a lightweight automaton, parrotting the party line without ever coming out with something original or pushing a particular view of her own.

  • Glen Taisie

    Mary Lou as leader would destroy Sinn Fein (possibly a FF infiltration ???)

  • Gum

    She wont be leader. This is SF we’re talking about. I get the impression they value loyalty to the ‘movement’ above all else. McDonald wont be the next leader. They’ll go for someone who has been there for years. Which I suppose makes sense too – Adams has authority to make big changes to policy and get away with it, even if he does need Gerry Kelly to stand behind him and give him political cover from hardliners as he introduces it. Mary Lou wouldnt have the same weight at all. Conor Murphy would. It’ll be a while yet before they pick a leader whose experience is grounded in something other than the troubles.

    But I agree with Chris – there’ll be no leadership election for ages.