Is Bertie about to follow DUP’s ‘good example’?

Brian Feeney casts his eye south of the border. He reckons Sinn Fein nibbling on the edges of government will cause much agitation within the DUP. He’s possibly right. However the actual position of the DUP on seeing Sinn Fein walking into a future government may not be as clear cut as he suggests. In fact, Frank Millar went directly to the heart of the problem last month. “The Doc”‘s response:

Given the decisions he has had to make, would Dr Paisley have any difficulty if Bertie Ahern were to invite Sinn Féin into government after the General Election this month? “No I wouldn’t,” he replies laughing. “I taunted him with that before. I said, ‘why not bring them into your government?’. But now [ the Taoiseach] says he doesn’t like the theology of their politics.” But it wouldn’t worry him? “Oh, if they bring them in, I would probably mock them and say ‘we showed a good example’.”

Yet it is a moot point about just how much the DUP ever considered the possible bounce their delayed signing up to St Andrews (aka GFA 1.1) might give their erstwhile political opponents in the southern context. As such, Feeney’s last question stands:

Now do you think that oul’ curmudgeon Paisley knew he was playing a part in Bertie’s election campaign and if Fianna Fail makes a deal with Sinn Féin does Paisley realise the part he also played in creating the opportunity for Sinn Féin in the south?

Though, given the energy his Ulster Unionists expended on fights they could not win, it may also be that, in the purely political sense, he doesn’t really care…

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  • Interesting that Feeney claims that Sinn Fein have already set up a negotiating committee tor this weekend. It’s going to be really interesting, espescially if SF get a bigger percentage of transfers than in past elections.

    Publicly Adams claims to be quietly confident about the outcome , which usually means that privately he is very confident…

  • There was an excellent cartoon about this in the Irish News yesterday.

  • SuperSoupy

    Mick,

    Trimble made a similar point on Doughty St (as you know), more around the timing aspect though. He said the delay put any opinion bounce in the middle of an election and ensured there would be no rows to take the shine off due to the 7 week delay.

    I agree.

  • Pól

    Paisley probably has calculated that a SF vote will increase his vote in the north.

    He needs something to frighten voters with.

  • I’ve written to Iain suggesting they investigate dingalinks. It would have been perfect for such a mention.

  • Robert Keogh

    FF will not take SF as coalition partners. Despite the feverish fantasies of northern nationalists FF will be not inviting the wolf to the table. Bertie knows that longterm SF are the biggest threat to FF so they will go into opposition rather than do a deal that depends on SF. But they won’t have to because…..

    If, as it looks likely, the rainbow coalition fails to secure 83 seats then it will be an FF/Lab government. Even if that means jettisoning Rabitte but I doubt that’s even neccessary.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘Bertie knows that longterm SF are the biggest threat to FF’

    Why?

  • Given the experience of Labour and the PDs in recent Governments, might not bringing Sinn Fein into government be a way of containing the threat to Fianna Fail?

  • Ziznivy

    I have to say, the coverage of this foreign election on Slugger has been much superior to that accorded to the French one.

  • endgame

    Grow up ziznivy.

  • Since the Provisional Army Council remains undisbanded, it presumably still claims to be the sovereign body throughout Ireland, in succession to the purely rhetorical 32-County Republic of 1916. Therefore, regardless of any other factor whatever, how can any Irish party or politician consider, even for one moment, coalition or co-operation with Sinn Fein, which accepts and propagates that claim to sovereignty, and several of the leading members of which are in fact members of the Provisional Army Council?

    It seems that, just as working-class Nationalist areas of Northern Ireland have been handed over to those who adhere to this monstrous claim to sovereignty so that they might govern them as if that claim were in fact correct (with Loyalist areas similarly handed over other terrorist organisations, although it is not clear on what, even theoretical, basis), so the parts of the Republic, and especially of Dublin and its environs, left behind by the recent, rather ill-founded economic boom are likewise to be handed over.

    But, as in Northern Ireland, it is the real, legally and democratically legitimate, state that is to pay the bills, the bills for denying the entitlements of citizenship to those of its citizens who happen to be working-class.

  • Robert Keogh

    GLC,

    I could try to explain but I doubt you would understand given your pathological view that everyone on this island who isn’t a unionist belongs to a monolithic bloc of raving catholic nationalists bound and determined to the objective of the elimination of traces of british and unionist presence in Ireland.

    Of course I may be completely wrong about you so I’ll make you an offer – tell me why you think FF would repudiate SF or why you think they wouldn’t and I’d be happy to engage you in this discussion.

  • Ziz,

    It’s not quite as foreign though, is it? Indeed the outcome of this election may have considerable bearing on the way politics shapes up in Northern Ireland. I would consider it remiss not to track it very carefully.

    endgame,

    Pack it in!!

  • slug

    Not sure it really matters that much, from a unionist point of view. Sinn Féin growing in the south might even have unintended consequences.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Robert — I have absolutely no idea why FF would have a problem sharing power with SF. That’s why I’m asking for an explanation.

    As regards your character assessment, it was amusing but well off the mark. As far as I’m aware, the only party interested in ‘the elimination of traces of british and unionist presence in Ireland’ are SF. They spent decades murdering ‘british and unionist’, now they look set to spend decades trying to oust them through a mixture of greening and whingeing.

    As far as I’m aware the rest of the population of Ireland (that’s roughly 90% of the Republic and 72% of Northern Ireland) couldn’t give a flying rats ass about Unionism as long as nobody is getting killed.

  • Ian

    Tom Griffin:

    “Given the experience of Labour and the PDs in recent Governments, might not bringing Sinn Fein into government be a way of containing the threat to Fianna Fail?”

    … and conversely, if they look up north they could learn from the mistakes of the DUP who, by striving to block SF from positions on the Executive, only succeeded in antagonising the nationalist electorate to the point where SF gained 50% of the nationalist seats, thus giving them a veto and making them an essential element of the power-sharing government.

  • slug

    Ian

    On the other hand I think that its been great progress that SF have signed up to policing and I think that things generally are much better to have nationalists in government running things alongside unionists without the problem of people “outside the tent pissing in”.

  • Ian

    Slug,

    Would SF have overtaken the SDLP in the north if the UUP/DUP had been less holier-than-thou about Republicans and let the inclusive power-sharing Executive continue uninterrupted from 1999 onwards, thus allowing the contradictions of SF passing laws, but not supporting those employed to enforce them, to be more starkly exposed?

  • slug

    Brian Feeney writes: “Now do you think that oul’ curmudgeon Paisley knew he was playing a part in Bertie’s election campaign and if Fianna Fail makes a deal with Sinn Féin does Paisley realise the part he also played in creating the opportunity for Sinn Féin in the south?”

    Paisley’s election work for Bertie seems to have paid off.

    Ian writes: “Would SF have overtaken the SDLP in the north if the UUP/DUP had been less holier-than-thou about Republicans and let the inclusive power-sharing Executive continue uninterrupted from 1999 onwards, thus allowing the contradictions of SF passing laws, but not supporting those employed to enforce them, to be more starkly exposed? ”

    I think they might. And what is more important Рanyway Рis that SF have moved on policing. Sinn F̩in were never going to disappear and its better that they are signed up to policing, and better that they have totally decommissioned, in terms of putting down good foundations for the future.