“That situation has changed.”

As Mick mentioned yesterday, the inability of the 4 Sinn Féin TDs to secure support for their demand to change the Dáil Standing Orders, in order to permit them to form a technical group – not even the support of Finian McGrath – is indicative of the new political situation the party finds itself in. And, also yesterday, the party’s leader in the Dáil, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, tried again.. only to be reminded by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern that the party’s problem was the lack of Sinn Féin TDs, not the Standing Orders.[subs req]

The Taoiseach said Mr Ó Caolain “will just have to accept, as I would have to in similar circumstances, that his party has four members. He can no longer expect the concessions his party received when it was part of a larger group. That situation has changed. His best bet is to be nice to the chief whip and hope he will allow him additional speaking time.”