Sinn Fein’s bumpy road in Dublin…

Looks like MaryLou could struggle in Dublin Central: Bertie Ahern 1 3/4 quota Mary Lou 7.1% Labour 15% Tony Georgry 13% Pascal Donohoe 10%. Sean Crowe and Larry O’Toole may struggle to keep in the game: Dub nth east – FF 39% FG 21% LAB 15% SF 15%; and Dub sth wst – FF 38% FG 18% LAB 21% SF 16.

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  • SuperSoupy

    Sorry – they ‘may’ miss an overall majority.

  • I’m not so sure. The constitutional issues here hide a variety of sins. Loose policy is loose policy and in serious elections that costs you. If this place ever gets anywhere close to reality, it would cost here too.

    Agree totally with this. If there’s any sort of stable government, all five Northern parties are going to have to run up a very steep learning curve on policy and delivery or suffer. I’d guess the SDLP and UUP aren’t going to run up that learning curve very fast – the UUs don’t have the talent, and the SDLP are hideously complacent.

    If in some hypothetical world any of the rest of us Nordie politicos competed in a Southern General Election, we would be torn apart on policy just as Gerry was in the small parties’ leadership debate.

    Food for thought.

    Also should add: don’t get carried away with the demise of SF. Unless the SDLP merge with a Southern Party, they are going to get whipped by SF here for the foreseeable future. The trends of the Assembly election is for SF to shave another 1-2% from the SDLP next time round. There is simply no evidence to the contrary at this stage.

    While I agree totally with this, I also agree with Whatever Next’s point that this election underscores how partitionist the South is. That’s a big problem for the Sinn Féin project and one they haven’t even begun to address. Anyone bringing the subject up is routinely attacked by the more enthusiastic Nationalists here for being a crypto-unionist living in denial.

    No amount of bluster about Northern demographics or a United Ireland by the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising addresses the degree to which the South has moved beyond traditional Nationalism. If you’d have said even ten years ago that a serving British Prime Minister would intervene on behalf of a serving Fianna Fáil Taoiseach in a General Election. And it wouldn’t cause a scandal. And then the Fianna Fáil Taoiseach would go on to win a huge and unprecendent election victory. Well, people would have said you were mad.

    That’s how much Southern Society has changed, and how much relationships across these islands have changed. And while Sinn Féin might argue they played a part in that transformation, it highlights how detached from the will of the Irish nation their project is.

    Stunning result for FF, though they miss a overall majority through Bertie’s vote greed/fear.

    Actually, looking at Dublin Central (just declared on RTE), I’m not he won’t bring either Fitzpatrick or Brady in with him.

  • It’s declaration city on RTÉ now. Anyone got any idea of exact tally figures for each candidate in Donegal NW?

  • Terribly distressed at the poor Sinn Fein performance. Maybe they couldn’t keep enough polling stations open after closing time.

  • RTÉ headline: “Election 2007: Alliance in Govt not ruled out”

    And we didn’t even run any candidates. I told you all we were going to take over the universe and you didn’t believe me…

  • And who were the 35 mentalists who transferred from Daithi Doolan to Michael McDowell?

  • kensei

    “If in some hypothetical world any of the rest of us Nordie politicos competed in a Southern General Election, we would be torn apart on policy just as Gerry was in the small parties’ leadership debate.”

    Quite. But if SF can buck the Northern trend and actually learn from their mistakes, they will embarrass the other parties here. Gerry’s comments not promising, but some of the postings from party members seems a little more realistic.

    “While I agree totally with this, I also agree with Whatever Next’s point that this election underscores how partitionist the South is. That’s a big problem for the Sinn Féin project and one they haven’t even begun to address. Anyone bringing the subject up is routinely attacked by the more enthusiastic Nationalists here for being a crypto-unionist living in denial.”

    It depends what you mean by “partitionist”. All polling indications suggest that the South remains very warm towards reunification. It just isn’t the overriding concern there. That is natural and understandable – if Unification happened tomorrow it would effect them much less than us. If it came to it that it was a likely outcome, I think you’d see it fly up the scale quite a bit. As pointed out, there is also consensus on the issue.

    Nor do I think there is no votes in it for SF. If SF were basically an All Ireland Labour, I reckon it would give them an edge. But it’s a differentiator, a bonus, that can only come about if you get the right policy in place. A lot of the North-South stuff going on makes sense for the South as much as the North – particularly around the border areas with shared resources. And they need to spike the idea that the North would have nothing to bring to the table in the event of unification – there are advantages to having us. SF need to develop sensible and joined up policy on the issue in the same way they need to tie down other aspects of policy. It remains to be seen whether or not they can do it.

    “No amount of bluster about Northern demographics or a United Ireland by the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising addresses the degree to which the South has moved beyond traditional Nationalism. If you’d have said even ten years ago that a serving British Prime Minister would intervene on behalf of a serving Fianna Fáil Taoiseach in a General Election. And it wouldn’t cause a scandal. And then the Fianna Fáil Taoiseach would go on to win a huge and unprecendent election victory. Well, people would have said you were mad.”

    In fairness, if you had have predicted that result yesterday, people would have called you mad!

  • IJP

    Sammy

    Alliance in Govt not ruled out

    They thought I was joking earlier!

  • SuperSoupy

    Great that holding steading is seen as a disaster for SF, just the wake up call those Dubs need.

    But what a fucking disaster.

    Bloody FF how do you land a punch on that machine. Their performance in the south makes our northern machine look like a wind up toy.

  • irish democrat

    Apologies for the cross post, I didn’t realise this was where the real debate on SF’s collapse was taking place:

    Finally, SF shown up to the be the fringe, minority party they truly are who have absolutely hit their ceiling (if not reversed) when they can’t rely on tribal voting or the insinuated threat of a return to murdering people.
    Adams was emptied on RTE tonight and his performance in the TV debate is now demonstrated to be the real beginning of the end for him.
    SF will never be in power in the south. They may get to administer a county council in Northern Ireland under UK juristiction but their expansion is conclusively finished. This was their one chance to capitalise on the peace process and their performance has proven that, now the IRA are defanged, only a very small minority at the fringes of the Republic’s society want anything to do with them. A very good day for Irish democracy.
    Surely ANY republican must now be asking – what the f*ck did Adams sell us and how the hell did we allow ourselves to buy it?!
    All to the good though. For the vast majority of democrats, north and south.

  • dub

    don’t you just love the way that the partitionists here hang on every vote in the south.. the only part of ireland where actual democracy exists… and these people in the full knowledge that their utterly false position socially and politically depends on the northern bantustan’s continued existence…(continued existence of non politics)…

    you are a sinister bunch…

    this result is a tragedy for all those who aspire to real politics breaking out north of the border as sf the only northern party which aspires to breaking out of the bantustan…

  • IJP

    SuperSoupy

    Ah I’m not so sure.

    Your own very sensible and considered response illustrates to me that it’ll still be pretty tough to land a punch on the Northern Machine for years to come!

    FF is indeed a mighty machine though. It’s between it and the Bavarian CSU for the mightiest in Europe.

  • Pounder

    I’m a bit ignorant of politics in the South, or There as some would have us call it, but is the start of the Republic evolving into a 2 or 3 party state. If election trends are like those in the UK the voting masses hate the thought of backing a loser and may think twice about wasting a vote on the PD’s, Labour or Sinn Fein.

  • New Yorker

    Is the republican grand project finished now?

  • IJP

    Doubt it, New Yorker.

    FF’s done very well.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Without intending to be patronizing, Slugger Shinners win a big points for taking their beating on the chin. Compare and contrast with the SDLP behaviour when they got walloped up here a few months ago.

    As others have said, I think SF should now see that they’re going to have to move beyond “we made Ireland peaceful, vote for our Gerry” if they want to gain seats in the RoI. Moreover, no electorate is ever going to sack it’s government in the middle of an economic boom like the one currently being experienced in Ireland.

    All that aside I would never make the mistake of underestimating SF. If any party is going to pull back and regroup, it is them. Much is being made of the FF electoral machine. The SF one isn’t far behind it.

  • PaddyCanuck

    Donegal:

    Final Tallies – First counts

    Recount in DNE

    Donegal North East

    Niall Blaney FF 6,275
    Mary Doherty CSP 330
    Frank Gallagher GP 512
    Jimmy Harte Ind 1,290
    Cecilia Keavney FF 6,252
    Dr James Mc Daid FF 6,724
    Ian Mc Garvey Ind 805
    Arthur Mc Guinness Ind 100
    Joe Mc Hugh FG 8,447
    Siobhan Mc Laughlin Lab 801
    Padraig Mac Lochlainn SF 6,630

    Donegal South West

    Mary Coughlan FF 10,565
    John Doherty Ind 401
    Pearse Doherty FF 8,344
    Pat The Cope Gallagher FF 9,497
    Dinny Mc Ginley FG 9,134
    Sean O’Maolchallan GP 575
    Seamus Rogers Lab 1,088

    http://www.highlandradio.com

  • Whatever Next

    Yeah, it’s been quiet, manful dignity all the way from the Shinners, in the real world, and, natch, those posting on Slugger. [I think my eyes have just rolled the full 360 degrees]
    But it’s ‘Dub’ up there who had the best laugh out line of the night. Too true old son, too true, we’re as sinister as they come, downright dreadful in fact. But look, do us one favour in return for admitting that: keep putting Gerry on RTE. It’s working a treat so far. Maybe some more Martin too next time? I can see him going down *really* well in the Free State. Go on, you know you want to.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Whatever, I liked you better when you were ranting about David Vance. You made more sense then.

  • It was the taxation change that lost credibility I suspect – changing a fairly fundamental economic policy at such a late stage seemed incompetent.

    The manner of the decision may have cost them credibility, but I think the decision was the right one.

    The irony is that even though Adams probably talked too much about the North, they could have capitalised more on the All-Ireland agenda which has a genuine momentum behind it.

    They should have taken the Enterprise brief ahead of a spending department at Stormont, for example.

    Demonstrating economic competence is crucial for SF if they want to get anywhere in the South. It’s also crucial to any serious case for a united Ireland.

    If SF were basically an All Ireland Labour, I reckon it would give them an edge. But it’s a differentiator, a bonus, that can only come about if you get the right policy in place. A lot of the North-South stuff going on makes sense for the South as much as the North – particularly around the border areas with shared resources.

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • Valenciano

    Dublin South Central first count is now in. Looks like 2FF, 1FG, 1LAB certain with O’Snodaigh favourite to beat Labour for the last seat although much less comfortable than he would have liked.

  • sean

    “…they could have capitalised more on the All-Ireland agenda which has a genuine momentum behind it…”

    Maybe here in the North but not in the South. SF is kidding itself if it believes any different. The Southern electorate seem to like the idea of a UI but it is low down on their list of priorities as it will not effect their lives to the same extent it will voters in the North.

  • lib2016

    Seems like a disappointing result for now but provided the right conclusions are drawn it could prove to be the real turningpoint towards building proper all-Ireland politics.

    1/ As already mentioned on RTE this is a disaster for everyone on the left – the Labour Party, the Greens and Sinn Fein. It’s time for a New Labour time strategy to be drawn up and informally agreed by all progressive forces. Bertie won’t be around for much longer and no-one else approaches his popularity.

    2/ Too much reliance on the Adams charisma meant that he was expected to master multiple agendas in two jurisdictions which no-one could be reasonably expected to do. Mary Lou and other southerners should be used for media interviews in future campaigns.

  • Valenciano

    “Too much reliance on the Adams charisma meant that he was expected to master multiple agendas in two jurisdictions which no-one could be reasonably expected to do.”

    The problem there is that if all the other main minor parties put their leaders forward for debate and SF fail to do so it would look quite odd and would certainly be capitalised on by opponents. The line would be a variation on ‘SF is dominated by nordies who are too busy running Stormont to care about the South.’

    Also, wouldn’t having de facto Northern and Southern leaders undermine SFs arguments against partition?

  • PaddyReilly

    And who were the 35 mentalists who transferred from Daithi Doolan to Michael McDowell?

    People, I suppose, who are related to DD on their mother’s side and MMcD on their father’s. Or were bought a pint by DD one month ago, and MMcD three months ago. Politics is a bit like that in the Republic. One family I know had three candidates in the house at the same time, and were on tenterhooks the whole time in case they bumped into each other. Fortunately, due to the Celtic Tiger’s building boom, they were able to pull it off.

    Not living in a gerrymandered sectarian headcount of a province, 26 county people can afford to pick polititians in the same way they choose horses. Actually, I should probably say Munster/Leinster/Connacht people. 9 county Ulster is clearly a distinct entity, with voting behaviour favouring Sinn Féin in way that M/L/C clearly does not.

  • BOM

    Well done to FF!

    The only thing to do now is get the machine up in the North and provide a real challenge to the shinners!

    Roll on the Ireland with true republican values – FF style.

    Come on Bertie – merge with the SDLP and sort out the politics of Ireland!!!!

  • New Yorker

    IJP,

    I meant is the 32 county socalist republic project finished. This election did not endorse a UI. FF economic policies were approved and those policies are more capitalist than socalist. The 32 county part of the republican project is going nowhere. And, there is a capitalism with some social welfare aspects but no public ownership of industry, ‘tax the rich’ or other old-line socalist positions held by FF. So, both parts of 32 county socalist seem to have very little appeal in the ROI. That leaves SF with 6 counties and no real power over economic policy. Haven’t their two big ideas, UI and socalism, been proven to be impossible to implement? The grand project looks dead to me.

  • Sean,

    It’s not so much that I think the all-Ireland agenda is a huge priority in the south, but that there’s a growing degree of consensus island-wide about the practical details.

    If SF had opted for a ministry that gave them a more prominent role in delivering that, it would have made it harder to portray them as economic incompetents.

    For example, you could have had a situation where business organisations were rowing in behind a Sinn Fein Minister on corporation tax in recent weeks instead of Nigel Dodds.

  • IJP

    Sorry New Yorker, I was being glib!

    Personally, I don’t reckon “Irish Republicanism” has or should have anything to do with socialism or quasi-socialism.

  • lib2016

    Val.

    What happened to ‘collective leadership’? Northern party president and Southern chairperson should take care of that. Don’t forget Sinn Fein has already recognised the border in order to do away with it.

    BOM,

    It was always going to be a case of uniting the economies followed by political reunification. FF have more credibility with the centre ground on economic affairs so even an SF supporter can see merit in FF getting more involved in the North. Don’t see why they would want to have anything to do with the SDLP though. Surely the time for that is long gone?

  • Garibaldy

    lib2016,

    Not sure that mastering the politics of an island as Ireland should be beyond the political abilities of a party leader, especially one as crafty as Adams.

    I agree this election says a lot that the Irish left needs to take on board. However, hopefully one of the bloggers will put up a thread on this after all the results are in and we can have a proper debate on it rather than one based on speculation.

  • Garibaldy

    island as small as Ireland even

  • vinty

    “even an SF supporter can see merit in FF getting more involved in the North. Don’t see why they would want to have anything to do with the SDLP though.”

    lib

    FF fighting elections in the North would be a positive move and as a Sinn Fein voter,i would welcome it.

    They would be nuts to go anywhere near the stoops though. Perhaps Michael McDowell & Alistair McDonnell could team up ;.)

    Martin Morgan would be a good start for FF in the North.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Oh the irony. The Brits don’t want the Unionists and now the Irish don’t want the shinners.

    Come on everyone let’s get together and form our own wee utopian country. Just as soon as we can agree what to call it.

  • kensei

    “I meant is the 32 county socalist republic project finished.”

    Did it end when Adams lost his seat in 1992? Did it end when SF took a lot of hits over the Northern bank and the rest? No. It’s a setback, but if SF manage to keep 5 seats it isn’t a disaster, especially in light of the other results. Political parties and ideals are terribly hard to kill off anyway – look at FG in the South or the Canadian Conservatives.

    SF will probably pull in and change policy and strategy. The election certainly threw up as many opportunities as dangers, especially with the performance of Labour. It remains to be seen whether or not this will be talked in ten years time as the beginning of the end of the project or an important inflection point.

    “This election did not endorse a UI.”

    In a way that is simply untrue of the North, the election is not about a UI. There is total consensus on:

    1. A United Ireland is desirable
    2. It has to come about through democratic means.
    3. That may happen but not soon.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    The question is how high is it in people’s priorities? There aren’t any ‘unionist’ parties in the Republic, so unification is at the very least neutral: in theory at least.

    I have no idea what they are planning, but I suspect there is considerable ‘spill over’ from their strategy in Northern Ireland that voters in the south just don’t like. Not least, its very sketchy economic model. This is something that Damien Kiberd warned them about a good two years ago.

    What’s been proposed (by Labour, as much as SF), though rarely explicitly outlined, is an abandonment of the Anglo economic model for the Nordic one. This is unlikely ever to be popular with the Irish population in the short term since most of the cash flow is being called into rolling out infrastructure to try to keep up with the growth of the country’s economy.

    The government have messed up, and had projects come over budget (Fine Gael’s strapline). But it has also got its children a chance to grow up and live at home. FF were not solely responsible for this, the strong fiscal controls hammered out in FG’s Tallaght agreement of 87 to sustain a minority FG government was a strong contributory factor.

    By pretending things were worse than they are, the left may have lost some credibility with the rising middle classes. And they may also have judged that the free marketers of the PDs have mainstreamed their arguments and are no longer needed as a brake on FF’s populism.

    The question then comes back to SF: what on earth happened? An economic strategy based on endless demands for public money from the UK treasury does not translate well into the southern polity. Some from SF are hoping they can just about retain the tally of five seats they had at the beginning of all this.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘SF will probably pull in and change policy and strategy.’

    SF appear to have two choices from here on — they can either radically alter their economic policies and move periously close to the centre or they can sulk until the economic downturn arrives. Neither strategy guarantees any future success.

    Today’s result proves that a UI is not a burning issue for southern voters and that the Euro in their pocket is more important than uncosted utopian flights of fancy. In short, SF are dealing with a more sophisticated electorate than their tribal following in the UK and are highly unlikely to break out of their core ROI constituencies anytime soon, if at all.

    The really galling thing for them is the fact that they have played all their big cards — partition by consent, decommissioning and support for the RUC/PSNI yet haven’t advanced a jot in the south. If they couldn’t make gains today, exactly when can they do it?

    The question now has to be asked — what are Sinn Fein in the 21st century for? They have nothing to offer the ROI economy or the vast majority of it’s people and have no real power in a toothless NI assembly funded by the British Government. Their policies are based on outdated and failed political creeds and their glorification of terrorism is abhorrent.

    By accepting the principle of consent, they have ensured that partition will continue for decades.
    By their petty sniping at everything Unionist, they are actually prolonging the division of the island.

    Surely now would be the right time to exit the stage. To coin a phrase from a west Belfast gable wall mural, it is ‘time for peace time to go.’

  • kensei

    “The question is how high is it in people’s priorities? There aren’t any ‘unionist’ parties in the Republic, so unification is at the very least neutral: in theory at least.”

    I don’t think it is a priority at all. As I said before, I think that there is a lot of good will towards it that can only be released if you get the other factors right.

    “I have no idea what they are planning, but I suspect there is considerable ‘spill over’ from their strategy in Northern Ireland, that voters in the south just don’t like. Not least it’s very sketchy economic model. This is something that Declan Kiberd warned them about a good two years ago.”

    Oh, I entirely agree. It is easy to talk about rights when people have been on the streets protesting about them in living memory, less when it isn’t really an issue. SF have some decent, young candidates. They got a kicking because 1. the policy was wrong and 2. they relied on familiar faces from the North at the expense of those candidates.

    “What’s been proposed (by Labour, as much as SF), though rarely explicitly outlined, is an abandonment of the Anglo economic model for the Nordic one. This is unlikely ever to be popular with the Irish population in the short term since most of the cash flow is being called into rolling out infrastructure to try to keep up with the growth of the country’s economy.”

    I’d also agree. I think the way forward for both SF and Labour is staying modest, and finding some policies that:

    1. Are fairly modest in scope
    2. Will appeal to the middle classes
    3. Cost nothing or can be strictly costed and remain within the current budget.

    Something like UK Labour’s 1997 pledge to reduce primary school class sizes. The equivalent issue of the last election would probably have been something to do with additional resource for acute hospital services.

    Basically, they won’t get any more money unless they show competence with what they have. Oh and SF’s focus in the short to medium term should be over taking Labour as the voice of the left in the South. It is a much better goal than getting into bed with FF in Government.

    “By pretending things were worse than they are, the left may have lost some credibility with the rising middle classes. And they may also have judged that the free marketers of the PDs have mainstreamed their arguments and are no longer needed as a brake on FF’s populism.”

    My feelings are that the negative message played badly. I think there was an appetite for a less harsh and more compassionate society, which is why the PDs got canned, but nobody on the left really offered it. SF’s talk of “rights” could have worked if they had have translated those into some actual, workable policies based on the principle. They didn’t.

    “The question then comes back to SF: what on earth happened? An economic strategy based on endless demands for public money from the UK treasury does not translate well into the southern polity. Some from SF are hoping they can just about retain the tally of five seats they had at the beginning of all this. ”

    Again, I tend to agree. And I don’t think it is a strategy that will pay off in the North in the long run either. They really need to break dependence mentality. While the DUP pushes for more money, SF should have been saying that, yes we should push for what we can get, but it’s far more important that we make a success of what we have and focus on that. I honestly think if FF merged with the SDLP and started pushing a message like that here, they would quickly give SF a kicking. The grievance thing works a bit, but Nationalism is a fundamentally aspirant community – the obsession with education goes right into working class areas. SF do well because they more muscularly represent Nationalism and give a sense it is going places – towards more All Irelandy things and into government.

    SF have ditched sacred cows in order to advance their project. They have big advantages of motivation and discipline and governmental experience in the North compared to other small parties and the response from SF posters seems to have been the right one. So the elements for change are there. I just don’t know if they have the talent to really get into policy and produce the right ones.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    Interesting response. Although, I would say that DUP is not as inveterately stuck in the mendicant camp as you seem to believe.

  • kensei

    “Interesting response. Although, I would say that DUP is not as inveterately stuck in the mendicant camp as you seem to believe.”

    Oh, I didn’t mean to imply that, merely they presented an opportunity on this issue.

    That is the other thing I forgot to mention – such an attitude is also a hundred times more likely to appeal to some Unionists. Protestant work ethic and all.

  • páid

    Sammy,

    I suspect the ‘mentalists’ are extreme nationalists who vote SF first and the man perceived to be tough on immigration second.

  • New Yorker

    Ken and Mick,

    Interesting thoughts. Regarding long-term survival of SF, I have three questions. Do they have the ability to develop new ideas and policies that a broad votership would find attractive? Do they have the personnel to formulate such ideas and effectively communicate them? Do they have too much baggage from the last 35+years?

  • Henry94

    The only parties that grew were the big two ie Fianna Fail (The Republican Party) and Fine Gael (The United Ireland party)

    The most anti- Sinn Fein party (PDs) got hammered losing 75% of its seats.

    Labour Greens and Sinn Fein are static. In ideological terms Irish voters have shown themselves to be the most conservative in Europe electing two large conservative parties.

    It was in my view sloganistic and unrealistic economic policies that becalmed Sinn Fein and the other leftist parties.

    For unionists there is a question worth pondering. Do they want to remain in a PC dominated state sharing power with Sinn Fein forever or would they consider a conservative, free-enterprise property and family based society where the only party that nobody will share power with is Sinn Fein.

  • IJP

    If only most “Nationalists” posed the question the way you have, Henry!

  • BOM

    lib and Vinty

    If FF do organise in the North they would have to start somewhere and not just with one person (Martin Morgan).

    Who would they best be suited to start working with? The Shinner supporters and reps or the SDLP?

    I spoke to a FF rep a while ago and he said to me that the stoops would be the party to merge with them!

    There is alot of good people within the SDLP and they could do well for FF in the North and would be the only real challenge to Gerry and the Peacemakers.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    In fairness, I’m struck by the contrast of SF supporters attitude on Slugger with the curmudgeonly burblings of Gerry and Barbara on RTE. The sense of reality here is to be applauded.

  • irish democrat

    “Much is being made of the FF electoral machine. The SF one isn’t far behind it.”

    The results would suggest that it is EXTREMELY far behind it! Face it, you know the Provo project is effectively finished. Sharing ‘power’ with Paisley in a glorified county council of the UK and going into reverse in the south when every Shinner privately and many of them publically were assured of doubling the vote?!
    Face facts: it’s an unrecoverable disaster. The majority state on this island wants next to nothing to do with you. My country does not need your lectures, your piety and your sectarian anachronisms. Crawl back to the northern ghettos where you belong and stay there.

  • qubol

    “Face it, you know the Provo project is effectively finished.”
    OK. Settle down, it’s a long road ahead and you’ll not find an activist in any part of the country ready to give up. In the long run I hope this will be seen as a positive event because it can be IF it’s managed correctly.

  • Lord Haw Haw

    The best day in Irish politics since Daily Ireland went tits up. Chin-chin! ROFL

  • kensei

    “Interesting thoughts. Regarding long-term survival of SF, I have three questions. Do they have the ability to develop new ideas and policies that a broad votership would find attractive? Do they have the personnel to formulate such ideas and effectively communicate them? Do they have too much baggage from the last 35+years?””

    1. The first thing to remember, is at least in the short term, “broad” might means 10-12% of the first preference votes and picking up a decent amount of transfers to increase their representation. No one knows if they have the ability – policy is so irrelevant to Northern elections it’s unfunny. It will be interesting to see how they react to it, which is why this might be an important election.

    2. One of their advantages is they are a relatively young party, especially in comparison to Labour and they are normally well groomed.

    3. Assuming nothing much happens with the IRA in the next 5 years, I think it’ll recede in importance, certainly in the next ten. A lot depends on who they pick when Adams steps down.

  • Maggot

    I loved Gerry’s quote from the Irish Examiner

    ” “I lost a seat myself in west Belfast, and we came back and we’ll come back again,” Mr Adams said. ”

    He came back because the constituency was altered to make sure Joe Hendron would lose!

  • harry

    Few voters moved outside the main comfort zones of the 2 largest parties yesterday.Sinn Fein,Labour, socialists, greens etc.. all suffered.

    Disappointed by the Sinn Fein showing but its important to dust ourselves down and prepare for the council elections in 2009.

    Some good young candidates round the country to fill council seats next election.

    There certainly needs to be a great deal of internal discussion over election planning etc..
    and some change in emphasis on certain economic issues.

    Overall disappointing but the vote held and with foundations going down in every constituency in the country, its a good base to build from.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The results would suggest that it is EXTREMELY far behind it!

    Nope. I’ve seen SF in action up here in NI. They have by far the most effective electoral machine here. I would not underestimate their willingness to export that to the RoI. This is an organization with the leadership, drive and determination to more or less successfully convince a large and well-armed paramilitary group to down tools. It will not be hard for them to send their best electoral managers over the border and get people down there trained up.

    I am not a republican and I’m quite pleased that SF have faced the first serious drubbing of their post-process career. I thought republicans were handling it quite well, though this is a new experience for them. It’s a rude awakening for anyone who thought that ending the IRA’s campaign of violence would lead to everlasting security from the electorate.

    Last night’s results made me think of other points in history where people have lead their knuckle-dragging followers into the light, improving the lives of many people but finding themselves overtaken by events, consigning the organization they were trying to consolidate to oblivion. Mikhail Gorbachev and FW De Klerk spring to mind, though nobody could compare Adams to either of those statesmen.

    Face it, you know the Provo project is effectively finished.

    Underestimating the chuckies is a fatal mistake. Look where they were in 1992 when Adams lost his seat, and look where they are now.

    Sharing ‘power’ with Paisley in a glorified county council of the UK and going into reverse in the south when every Shinner privately and many of them publically were assured of doubling the vote?!

    The SF strategy was clearly a failure, but prior to the results it didn’t seem like a bad one. If you can successfully persuade the electorate that you’re a big player and you’re here to stay, they are more likely to vote for you. I can’t remember anyone predicting that they would hit their ceiling in the RoI quite so soon.

    Face facts: it’s an unrecoverable disaster.

    Which facts say that SF’s position now is “unrecoverable” ? Give over with the soundbites already.

    Let’s talk about the real facts here. Ireland is in the midst of a period of unprecedented prosperity. The government is spending very large amounts of money on improving the economic and commercial infrastructure within the state. In these circumstances, nobody is ever going to vote a government out. That is why Labour are still in power in the UK despite the Iraq war. Administrative incompetence pales into insignificance as long as people feel money in their pockets. Nobody is going to kill the goose.

    The presence of large quantities of cash visibly sloshing about in the form of new trains, new roads and other things masks the fact that while FF have stayed out of the way of business and commerce (pretty much all you need to do to sustain a boom), they have managed the state badly. Despite the outcome of this election I am still convinced that there is an underclass in Irish life who haven’t seen a penny of the new economic growth and opportunity in the country, and the administration has made no effort to improve their lot. In the longer term, I think the economic boom will come to be seen as a missed opportunity, where the government footered about instead of investing properly in education and infrastructure in order to secure the country’s long-term competitiveness.

    The majority state on this island wants next to nothing to do with you.

    Well, not me. I’m not a republican. In the RoI I’d probably vote Labour, or possibly FG.

    My country does not need your lectures, your piety and your sectarian anachronisms. Crawl back to the northern ghettos where you belong and stay there.

    Touchy.

  • Ned’s Bitter Oul Ma

    Where’s Oilibhear Cromhail?????

  • kensei

    “He came back because the constituency was altered to make sure Joe Hendron would lose!”

    Less of the revisionism, please. Hendron took in 1992 on a majority of about 1,000. Gerry’s in 1997 was about 8,000. These days it’s almost 20,000.

    Boundary changes do not account for that type of swing.

  • Southern Observer

    Gerry,Whatever,Sammy etc.,
    I think it’s misleading to put a ‘partitionist’ slant on the result.If I can cut and paste my thoughts on another thread:
    Speaking as someone who contributed to their demise I have to say that a grossly mistaken spin has been put on SF’s performance.The electorate were not straightarming NI or NI nationalism just the particular brand of NI nationalism represented by SF.That and their loopy economic policies.

    Another insightful unionist posting in politics.ie:
    Actually, continual defeats for the Sinners probably means a marginal increase in the likelihood of a United Ireland as a proper government with a proper leader reaches out to unionists in more ways than Gerry can possibly achieve.

    The Sinners remain the problem, not the solution.

    Economics and a proper democrat as a leader make it more likely. The Sinners have no grasp of the former and no likelihood of the latter.

  • dobo

    “This is an organization with the leadership, drive and determination to more or less successfully convince a large and well-armed paramilitary group to down tools.”

    This is an organisation that the southern electorate has rejected. Let’s not forget that it is the same organisation that fully supported the “large and well-armed paramilitary group” and it appears this thought hasn’t gone away you know!

  • latcheeco

    No bad thing for the chucks long term, education is a wonderful thing and a smack in the mouth is a great teacher. Back to the drawing board now. they will have complacency replaced with anger( the best motivator) and they’re probably better off not being near Bertie’s third term, familiarity will breed… brown envelopes etc. Does anyone have evidence that their setbacks in the past have not made it worse for their opponents in the long term.

  • Maggot

    It’s factual Kensei – the Shankill wards – which had tactically voted Hendron – were removed …. and rather than being replaced with the strongly SDLP 6 wards of the Balmoral Electoral Area and the Shaftesbury ward ( where SF didn’t even stand in those days ) Adams was gifted staunchly Republican Twinbrook and Poleglass.

    The Brits really have looked after Gerry and Martin.

  • kensei

    “It’s factual Kensei – the Shankill wards – which had tactically voted Hendron – were removed …. and rather than being replaced with the strongly SDLP 6 wards of the Balmoral Electoral Area and the Shaftesbury ward ( where SF didn’t even stand in those days ) Adams was gifted staunchly Republican Twinbrook and Poleglass.”

    I have no doubt the wards changed and that helped SF out. That isn’t the issue. The issue is would it have made a difference. 8,000 majority? Not a hope.

  • PaddyReilly

    It’s a strange auld world. I mind the time when the Unionists, the whole lot of them, were prepared to bring the entire province to its knees rather than have Gerry Fitt in the cabinet. I don’t know what was wrong with him. Maybe he slurped his soup or something.

    Then later that sort of person is no problem. The SDLP is all right by us. They are welcome: in fact we want them. Actually they’re Unionists. 50% of the Catholic population wants to stay in the UK so it must be them. It’s SF/IRA/666/Antichrist who we are not prepared to sit down with. When IRA/SF/Murdering Fenian Scum/IRA lose a few hundred votes in the elections of a neighbouring jurisdiction, you’d think Carson himself had risen from the grave. It’s going to add 50 years to the life of the province, so it is.

    Well I don’t think SF have their head screwed on. They should have got Real Continuity IRA to go on bombing, so they could condemn them and become the good guys.

    The Second Earl Russell had this problem. He went through a lot of wives, and his aunt never liked the new one. Eventually he said to her, “Auntie, you are always a wife behind”, which she thought was a great witticism.

    Well bear in mind that the SDLP used to be the Antichrist, and the SDLP are thinking of joining up with Fianna Fáil, and they just won hands down. Indeed, in the 30s Éamonn De Valera occupied the same position as Gerry Adams today.

  • Brian Boru

    Excellent. I’m proud my party leader – who sadly lost his seat – managed just beforehand to demolish SF’s credibility on live-television 2 Wednesday’s ago. 🙂

  • ALEX S

    Indeed, in the 30s Éamonn De Valera occupied the same position as Gerry Adams today.

    Posted by PaddyReilly on May 26, 2007 @ 11:34 PM

    Quite correct Paddy, and like De Valera Gerry Adams has made unionism more entrenched than otherwise would have been the case and in doing so reinforced the very border they dispised, the way to unify the island is to unify the people, and from a unionist point of view that won’t be achieved by waving a tricolour in our faces and raming the Irish language down our throats

  • PaddyReilly

    O yeah and the Unionists were about to leap into bed with Clann na nGael when deValera came along and spoiled it. Pull the other one it’s got bells on it. The fact is, Unionists like ruling the roost, and they will find fault with anything Irish Nationalists do.

  • ALEX S

    Paddy, I agree that unionist leaders were only to eager to portray the south as backward, hostile and priest ridden, but De Valera made it easier

  • irish democrat

    Just back from a post-election count drink in town, and the camaraderie amongst FF, FG, Labour and a few others about SF’s rout was unreal 🙂 The one unifying factor amongst us all.
    Our state doesn’t want you: only the brainwashed underclass, unreconstructed sectarian dinosaurs and the odd self hating ultra-left halfwit is bothering any more.
    Get used to obscurity, fellahs. No party has ever deserved it more. Your day has indeed come.

  • Valenciano

    “It’s factual Kensei – the Shankill wards – which had tactically voted Hendron – were removed …. and rather than being replaced with the strongly SDLP 6 wards of the Balmoral Electoral Area and the Shaftesbury ward ( where SF didn’t even stand in those days ) Adams was gifted staunchly Republican Twinbrook and Poleglass. The Brits really have looked after Gerry and Martin.”

    Yes and if the Balmoral wards had been added to Belfast West the knock-on effects would have been:-

    1) the abolition of Belfast South, then a UUP banker
    2) good UUP territory added to Belfast East threatening Robbo’s position
    3) the addition of 3 Shankill wards to Belfast North, killing off Nationalist hopes there
    4) The abolition of John Taylor’s Strangford and its replacement by ‘Castlereagh&Newtownards’ which would have been a DUP banker
    5) The effective merger of the Nationalist bits of South Down and NewryArmagh into a new ‘Newry&Mourne’ seat.

    The latter in particular caused Seamus Mallon to describe the proposals as “the biggest gerrymander since the creation of the state” while Eddie McGrady pledged to “pursue the matter to the bitter end” and the Taoiseach apparently raised the issue at British Irish meetings. Meanwhile Unionist parties organised petitions against the proposals and spoke against them at the enquiries.

    In the end, not surprisingly given the number of MPs effected, the boundary commission backtracked and went for the more conservative route that preserved most of the seats.

    It would help if you read Gordon Lucy’s book on the 1993 local elections before you spout such complete crap in future.

  • zippy123

    This is all good news. The majority of Northerners and Southerners want partition. Irish republicanism is a pretty much Northern gig. If the Shinners had done well in the Free State they would have started pushing for a United Ireland which would have led to instability.

    People must now recognise that Mackers and his ilk were right all along. Adams et al in their chauffer driven cars and the rest of them having got little for all they gave to the Republican cause. Social climbers always exploit others, and it is so funny when the wheels come of the cart.

    Zippy pid do dah lol

  • Valenciano

    “It’s factual Kensei – the Shankill wards – which had tactically voted Hendron – were removed ….”

    Actually in addition to that, the Shankill wards weren’t removed.

  • Maggot
  • Valenciano

    Maggot it’s probably not a good idea to cite Wikipedia as a source as much of the boundary related stuff on there was written by me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Belfast_West_(UK_Parliament_constituency)&diff=prev&oldid=41659674

    Nowhere on there does it mention the Shankill wards being removed as they weren’t.

    Read the boundary commission reports available in Belfast central library for example. The reasons for the extension of West Belfast into Poleglass/Twinbrook rather than Balmoral in 1995 were quite simple

    1) Poleglass and Twinbrook are logical extensions of West Belfast and were built as overspill estates to rehouse the population of the Lower Falls and Andytown. So adding them to West made sense, while adding the Malone Road would have been just plain stupid.

    2)While the Belfast proposals were obviously welcomed by the SDLP, they were opposed overall by the same party, especially in the South Down/Armagh areas where two SDLP seats were collapsed into one. Furthermore the overall proposals which I’ve alluded to in my previous post would have massively altered the political map of NI, unseating many MPs in the process. Given the opposition from all parties, they were quite rightly rejected.

    In any event if you look at the 1997 council election results it’s clear that the SDLP would have been sunk anyway, boundary changes or not. The Balmoral option would have boosted the SDLP by about 4000 (2000 from South Belfast and 2000 by not adding Poleglass/Twinbrook) meaning Adams majority would have been halved but would still have been a comfortable 4000.

  • PaddyReilly

    The majority of Northerners and Southerners want partition. Irish republicanism is a pretty much Northern gig.

    Here we have the problem of Unionist autism and self-obsession. Anything less than an active bombing campaign on the part of Irish Nationalists is taken as enthusiastic approval of the status quo. Bear in mind that Slugger contributor Brian Boru, who has enthusiastically plugged a nationalist Agenda for several years now, turn out to be a PD supporter.

    SF are not the only party who would be happy to have the border removed.

  • Ginfizz

    Oh the irony. All these Shinners who for years have castigated the Southern Parties for their “partitionism” are now frantically back-pedalling because those same parties whalloped their outfit in this election.

    The “true voice” of republicanism takes a hiding so everyone’s a republican now, is that it?

    Face it folks, most people in the Republic are happy with the status quo, thank you very much. When polled, sure they’ll say they want a UI, but they don’t want it forced on people and its probably about tenth on their list of priorities, if even that.

    “Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, John O’Dowd, Pat Doherty, your boys (and girl) took one Hell of a beating!”

  • PaddyReilly

    All these Shinners who for years have castigated the Southern Parties for their “partitionism” are now frantically back-pedalling

    I’m not sure if I’m meant to be included in this, but if so, could you tell me when I voted for or joined SF, and when I castigated Southern Parties for partitionism.

    those same parties walloped their outfit in this election

    I think you’re making a little too much mileage out of the fact that SF’s vote in the Republic’s election only went up by 0.6%. If the Unionist vote had gone up by 0.6% in March it would have been counted as a signal victory.

    Did the electorate reject SF? Well, nobody got a total majority, so everyone was partially rejected.

    Did they lose? That depends on how desperate various parties are to get into power. What if FG tried to form a coalition with Labour, Greens and SF? Then it would be up to a couple of independents. I would say, SF’s price would be, the same slightly left wing agenda as Labour and Greens and don’t say anything against a United Ireland.

    Something like this was tried before, around 1948 I believe, though it wasn’t terribly successful.

  • Maggot

    “Nowhere on there does it mention the Shankill wards being removed as they weren’t.”

    The section in “History ” is a bit confusing Valenciano – and I wasn’t around then.

    It mentions the Shankill wards “originally suggested removing the Shankill wards from the constituency and replacing them “… I thought you were saying that they were removed and instead of being replaced with “6 wards of the Balmoral Electoral Area and the Shaftesbury ward” they were replaced instead with “the mostly republican Twinbrook and Poleglass estates ”
    It doesn’t say that they dropped the Shankill move, just that the Twinbrook/Poleglass replaced
    Balmoral/Shaftesbury.

    But thanks for the clarification.

  • Ginfizz

    Paddy

    My post was in response to your comment re. the border. It’s clear that the one party in the election for whom the issue of the border was a central theme of their campaign took a hiding. They did not go up, they were actually considerably down on the last election to be held in the Republic – the Euros. Before this election there were SF supporters on this site predicting as many as fifteen seats for SF. The reality? 4 – down one and way, way below their own expectations.

    What was it Conor Murphy said to Dermot Ahern? “Your republicanism stops at the border”. Seems to me as though the Southern electorate are perfectly happy with that.

    The fact is that a UI is not a priority for very many ppl in the RoI – if it were SF would have made big gains – they are perfectly happy with the status quo.

  • Valenciano

    Maggot, thanks for pointing that out, I’ve amended the article to remove the confusion.

  • Maggot

    Thanks valenciano. It was a claim I have seen in several articles – I think one may have been by Eoghan Harris. I now know it’s untrue.

  • redbull

    So this result proves that the shinners are not the All Ireland Party they claim to be. They SF would need to remove this claim from their litrature. I think that the people in the ROI have told them to stay up in Northern Ireland.
    ANOTHER FINE MESS Mr Adams

  • PaddyReilly

    They did not go up, they were actually considerably down on the last election to be held in the Republic – the Euros.

    Well this means that either SF have disgraced themselves in some signal way recently (though I can’t think what they could possibly have done that was any worse than what they have done in the past) or that their vote will go back up to what it was before when the concerns of the current situation are over.

    Before this election there were SF supporters on this site predicting as many as fifteen seats for SF. The reality? 4 – down one and way, way below their own expectations.

    Yes but so what? Are there any parties in existence that don’t win less seats than they predict they will? Special pleading, I’m afraid.

  • PaddyReilly

    The fact is that a UI is not a priority for very many ppl in the RoI – if it were SF would have made big gains – they are perfectly happy with the status quo.

    Well put it this way. If someone invited me to bomb the Council Offices because of speed bumps, I would decline. If they asked me to vote for the Anti-speed bump Party, I might not be able to because I have other issues which I think need settling first. But this does not mean I like speed bumps. I hate them.

  • Ginfizz

    Paddy

    A spurious line of thought. Sinn Fein made the political process in Northern Ireland a central theme in their election campaign – indeed I remeber many people predicting that the Paisley/McGuinness show up at the White House was going to have a major impact on the election. It clearly did not.

    The line of argument you are pursuing here reminds me very much of that which the UUP used to deploy when they were taking their first stage of thrashings at the hands of the DUP – this Westminster election result wasn’t as bad as the last European one, then when Stormont elections came around, this assembly result wasn’t as bad as the last European one, by the time of the European one, they were finished.

    Face facts, Sinn Fein are the only party who makes a “32 County Socialist (snigger) Republic” a priority at election time and they got whalloped.

  • PaddyReilly

    The UUP are not finished. They still have one of the three EU representatives, and they are not going to lose him to the DUP.

    In the Assembly, the DUP cannot implement Unionist policies without the consent of the UUP, except in the unlikely event of them getting the SDLP or SF to back them.

    Nor, for that matter have the SDLP been terminally beaten by SF.
    A UI can only be brought about with the consent of SDLP voters, however enthusiastic SF may be.

    In a situation where nobody has overall control, you have to be a very small party indeed before you become irrelevant.

    All this ‘walloping’ talk is a misplaced metaphor.

  • Ginfizz

    Paddy

    In the context of a Dail with 166 seats in which you hold four, I think it is perfectly safe to say that SF are an irrelevance. My point about the UUP was to demonstrate the depths of denial which creeped in – depths which some Sinn Feiners are plunging here.