Brian Feeney argues the SDLP’s role as the Dublin government’s client party in Northern Ireland is over with its loss of electoral dominance. This has meant Fianna Fail has had to intervene and will consume the SDLP rather than a merger. He expects their first electoral foray to be the 2011 Assembly elections. Fianna Fail’s message will be the same as Sinn Fein but with greater credibility:
He’s about to steal Sinn Féin’s political clothes. Fianna Fail will become a 32-county party preventing Sinn Féin from being the sole owner of that title. More importantly FF, not Sinn Féin, will be on course to have ministers from north and south sitting across from each other in the North-South Ministerial Council and on the all-Ireland bodies.