Don’t worry about a thing

Dermot Ahern, Irish Foreign Minister, seems to be advising everyone to relax. Sinn Fein shouldn’t worry about getting 100% support on policing. Plan B is nothing for Unionists to worry about as most of it is already in place, they haven’t bothered working on it lately and anyway the constitutional question is settled. Although, he reiterates Fianna Fail’s refusal to consider SF as a potential government partner, there seems to be a bit of softening on that. It is not a decision of principle but party choice. However he defends the different treatment:

“You see, it is very difficult talking in the one sense about Northern Ireland and then transposing that to the Republic. They are different and anyone who says otherwise is being mischievous.”

  • parcifal

    fair-deal
    a politicians answer from Dermot, you can be sure he’s worried SF will do well in ROI elections; and is wriggling on the dichotomy of SF in power in the North, but not welcome in the South.

  • ronanodonnell

    parcifal

    why would he worry about sf in the south;

    1. every party has said they will not go into coalition with them ie a vote for sf is a wasted vote -it cant trabskate into power or delivery.

    2. SF have been polling below the 2002 opinion poll results for a bit now. In 2002 they were getting about 8% in the opinion polls which translated to 6.5% in the election. Today they’re at 7%-8%.

    Of all the parties in the south SF is the most static ie stalled. Understandably the party cant admit that – but the numbers speak for themselves.

    As Dermot Ahern said himself over a year ago – the stickies won. The provos are going down the exact same route as the stickies in the south – and hitting the same 9-10% barrier.

  • Henry94

    That’s a left-wing barrier. Not necessarily a Sinn Fein barrier. All opposition parties in the south are finding the going tough right now. times are good and Bertie is both popular and a political grand-master.

    On the power issue there is no dichotomy. sinn fein in the south as in the north are in the same position as any other party. In the south there is voluntary coalition. In the north there is mandatory coalition.

    In the south you get to choose who you share power with. In the north that would mean a unionist government. It’s not a runner.

  • lib2016

    It will be 2011/2012 at the earliest before Sinn Fein gets into the mid-teens and becomes a real player in the South. They’ll be happy to get ten TD’s which would double their present number after the election this year – it’ll be more important to see the calibre of candidate coming forward in the next local government elections to see where the party is likely to be in a few years.

  • Parc,

    I would imagine that SF is only one of a raft of worries that FF has. As noted at length by Stephen Coleman in the IT a few weeks back, they have no commanding lead to rest on. Bertie’s transfer attractiveness is key to them getting the seat tally they need. Any hit between now and then will require some uncomfortable shifting, up to and possibly including reliance on Sinn Fein as a pro government bloc (probably the most rewarding arrangement for the minor party). But all of this is futuring and should come with the usual warnings of potential irrelevance.

    I suspect that Ahern’s outline of the dull actuality of Plan B was the real galvanising factor at St Andrews late on Thursday night that led SF and the DUP to sign up to the long prescribed terms of a political settlement.

  • ronanodonnell

    henry

    the bottom line is this – in the south sf are seen as a minor bit player party without any prospect of ever advancing past the mid teens in the long term

    dermot ahern worrying about sf is like tony blair worrying about the monster raving loony party

  • parcifal

    I suspect you’re right Mick; one objective for SF in the ROI is to pick up as many 1st and 2nd prefences in Dublin Central, over-turning Ahern’s majority and yielding Mary Lou McDonald the largest vote.
    wouldn’t that be amazing!
    will be knocking on the doorsteps, if my 2007 schedule goes to plan 😉

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dublin_Central_(D%C3%A1il_%C3%89ireann_constituency)

    can’t get the hyperlinks to work anymore???

  • Brian Boru

    Some will charge Southern politicians of hypocrisy. It isn’t when you consider we are a sovereign independent state unlike NI and the fact that the cross-community consensus in a NI Executive/Assembly would make SF less powerful in terms of pursuing its economic policies in particular relative to a Coalition scenario involving SF in the South.

  • kensei

    “the bottom line is this – in the south sf are seen as a minor bit player party without any prospect of ever advancing past the mid teens in the long term

    dermot ahern worrying about sf is like tony blair worrying about the monster raving loony party ”

    This is nonsense. If SF poll in the mid teens consistently, then the Southern system almost guarantees that at some point they will have the opportunity to go into government. In ten years time SF’s past will be a diminished factor. If they do well in government, they may break their glass ceiling. But in effect they don’t need to. The PD’s have been influential without taking huge numbers of seats.

    Moreover, if SF ever reach the mid teens, they will likely pull that extra 5% from FF so FF have every right to be, if not worried, factoring them into their strategy.

  • IJP

    [I]t is very difficult talking in the one sense about Northern Ireland and then transposing that to the Republic. They are different and anyone who says otherwise is being mischievous.

    Taken generally, is this not a very significant statement?

  • kensei

    “Taken generally, is this not a very significant statement?”

    No, merely a statement of the political facts of life.

  • Kevin

    Christ am I glad I left Northern Ireland. Reading over the posts on this site, I am struck (dumb) by the pettiness of Irish politics…..GET A F**ING LIFE GUYS.

  • kensei

    Thanks for that.

    For what it’s worth, I’m glad you left too.

    kthanxbye.

  • Mick Fealty

    Kevin,

    Before you switch off and tune out for good check out the Folks on the Hill post. It maxes out on the veniality of Northern Irish politics to great effect.

  • Thrasymachus

    “You see, it is very difficult talking in the one sense about Northern Ireland and then transposing that to the Republic. They are different and anyone who says otherwise is being mischievous.”

    Just another example of southern hypocrisy, murders are fit to govern the society they terrorised but not the one they acted on behalf of.

    Its the same disgusting attitude that thinks Killing a Garda is worth a hefty sentence but none at all for murdering a RUC officer. What they seem to think is people in NI are untermenschen and so their lives have less of value than a southern one. The idea a state with such sickening attitudes could be entrusted to govern fairly in NI is beyond me…

  • Thrasymachus

    murderers*

  • BeardyBoy

    No Thrasymachus – whoever people elect are good enough – get over it – it is called democracy

  • Thrasymachus

    Beardyboy, power-sharing isn’t democracy. Irrespective of how any of us vote SF, the SDLP, UUP and DUP are going to be in government. It is virtually impossible to kick them out no matter how useless they are.

  • Thrasymachus

    BTW should be a comma between vote and SF.

  • BeardyBoy

    Yes – power sharing is democracy – government as agreed by the people – not one I would like but it is democracy – if you want them kicked out get people to elect different representatives.