Given Slugger’s predominantly (but not entirely) Northern Irish perspective, it is natural that our coverage is likely to focus on the most significant northern player in the southern elections, Sinn Fein. If you want decent flavour of what it’s doing on the ground, Ben, at Irish Election, has an excellent analysis on its campaign in Wexford.
Sinn Féin is gaining votes because, like Sunderland under Keane, it works bloody hard for them. It establishes branches and creates political activists. It campaigns, it gets things done – quite simply, it is doing all the things a political party should do if it wants to attain power. For all intents and purposes, Gorey is a new town these days, with thousands of new voters. Labour doesn’t really canvass there, nor does it appear interested in doing so. Wexford County, it seems, is a one labour town. Sinn Féin, on the other hand, is out there every night getting people not only to vote for them, but to join up as well. And Sinn Fein has been doing that across the island for at least twenty years, building up its party organisation.