Sinn Fein and the Republic: aspirations but no support…

At the weekend Sinn Fein announced a renewal of its efforts to expand its base into the Republic. But it’s a much hard uphill struggle that it seems prepared to admit. As Ahern dropped a massive 7% his party’s rate in the last Irish Times poll, Fine Gael and Labour seem to be the beneficiaries. It seems to have lost the ear of the electorate in the south, with few obvious means to get it back into listening mode. More over the Guardian:

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  • agh

    With the Ra more or less decommissioned, the British army demilitarised and the assembly up and going, SF have little opportunity to hit the headlines anymore, apart from the odd bit if fuel smuggling, murder etc etc.
    Down south they have little influence and I’m sure the majority of our neighbours arn’t too concerned in what goes on up here as long as we don’t effect them.

  • Fermanagh Unionist

    I don’t know why the Republic would want Sinn Fein. I’m probably more in the Republic than Gerry or Martin or any of the other leaders, and thats simply for my petrol. They are basically a Northern Ireland party and I think the vast majoirty of Irish people see it this way too, so why vote for them?

    Outside of Fianna Fail, a vote for Fine Gael of Labour would be much more productive for Irish voters than a vote for Northen Ireland centred Sinn Fein.

  • fair_deal

    “Nonetheless, the stuff on the economy sounds right”

    Is it? This and the other stuff points read like SF trying to become ‘just another’ party in the republic.

    Is there any space in the centre for them?

    What is distinctive among the centre clutter to make SF attractive?

    Does this direction shift them away from their existing base who are largely the urban and rural disaffected? Could the base shift to independents or more socialist candidates?

    This base clearly has its limitations however is it not a clearer niche and safer bet? Could SF not take it chances with the vagaries of PR and the cookie may crumble better for them and put them in the kingmaker role they used to aspire too.

    As far as I could see from the results there would also seem to independent candidate and socialist voters, particularly in target areas who didn’t warm to SF. Is there not more scope for growth in votes and seats by targeting this section rather than in the centre?

  • Garibaldy

    Mick says:

    “Indeed, Sinn Féin’s performance was only poor against its own claim that it would win 10 Dáil seats.”

    I’d have thought losing a seat was a poor performace Mick by any objective standard, and more especially when they had received so much media coverage and succeeded in getting the deal done in the north. The rest of what you say, particularly about the absence of any substantial intellectual capital, is spot on.

  • Garibaldy

    Fair Deal,

    The independent and socialist vote is alas much smaller than people like to think. The Green party has a good grip on much of it, and I doubt that will change, despite the entry into government. One green policy shortly before the next election, and they will be sitting farily pretty.

    Nor should we forget where the Provo TDs are – Kerry, Cavan, Louth, and only one in Dublin. In other words, traditional green nationalist areas (I wonder how much of the Louth vote comes from northerners and their descednants in Dundalk). It is the green tories who vote for Ferris et al who they need to capture from FF to take more seats, and who Adams thoroughly alienated with his TV performance, that PSF is pinning its hopes on. But FF is cute enough to mostly see that off I suspect.

  • Fair Deal

    It’s not a case of Sinn Féin moving to the centre, more a case of adding meat to the bones in terms of our objectives and how we go about achieving them.

    It’s about creating a streamlined and professional party structure, one with costed and realistic policies for a change.

    The next Ard Fheis will be a central tenant in that process.

    Dismiss Sinn Féin at your peril; we have come back from a lot worse than this.

  • The Dubliner

    “This seems long on aspiration, but noticeably short on the means of achieving that aspiration.” – Mick Fealty

    Fortune Cookie politics. Crack another cookie one open on the podium and read it to the assembled plebeians while chewing on the cookie: “And finally, comrades, or mission is to *swallows* galvanise support from all sections of society for our core objectives in implementing those objectives for the greater good of all. Thanks you!”

    These people are unprincipled opportunists who believe in nothing other than their own self-advancement. There is no detail because there is no conviction or intention behind any of it – it’s just hollow words. Martin McGuinness and his ilk in PSF will talk about the oppressed classes and their ‘struggle’ with the capitalist class, telling their supporters that they were engaging in a violent ‘revolution’ to establish a socialist republic, etc, yet will go to America to import the ruling capitalist class into Northern Ireland that (they claim) they spent the last 40 years trying to overthrow! There are few manifestations of the capitalist class more vulgar than Donald Trump, yet Martin McGuinness has no problem meeting him in an effort to bring him to Northern Ireland simply because, contrary to his party’s socialist principles, he has no objections to the capitalist ruling class. They sell socialism to the plebs because the plebs buy it, not because they believe in it. Which, of course, is why PSF/PIRA has a very lucrative capitalist empire of their own: PIRA and its highly diversified organised crime business.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Generally candidates of smaller parties have to punch above their weight because they don’t have the machine and the associated publicity behind it. SF can reposition itself until the cows come and find all the niches in Nicheland but it doesn’t change the simple fact that their candidates in the Republic are generally very weak and they don’t appear to be attracting talented new blood or if they are, they’re not on the radar.

  • Mark McGregor

    I would contend that two further centrist areas came into play:

    1. Being willing to court FF as a coalition partner didn’t play well with a large core SF vote that is extremely disaffected with the status quo and FF in particular. Why vote for a party that could potentially support that you despise the most? A big chunk of the SF core demographic is that left behind by Irish society and shifting towards the party and policies that left them behind was a risk that didn’t pay off.

    2. On a similar note while many think reestablishing the Stormont administration in partnership with the DUP should have been a positiv,e when much of your core is anti-establishment presenting yourself as a willing and able partner of the far-right is going to go down like a lead balloon.

    Two factors where a drift from anti-establishment revolutionary politics didn’t bring the core vote along. And as the fight back plan seems to be a further drift into the centre I see the core vote being left further behind and becoming further disenchanted. It then becomes a matter of can they find a replacement vote for those being cast aside.

  • joeCanuck

    no indication of any substantial intellectual capital

    Probably an understatement. As I noted previously, successful guerrilla war leaders do not necessarily make good politicians. Ask Robert Mugabe.
    The old warhorses need to retire and let the young’uns try their hand.

  • Sorry, I just wanted to let you all know that I’ve won the naming the Super Orangeman competition! I animated him to celebrate and it can be seen here:

  • joeCanuck

    Same applies to the leaders of the UUP and the DUP.
    No intellectual capacity and well past their “sell by date”.

  • joeCanuck

    Good to see you back to fight your corner fair_deal.

  • joeCanuck

    Great little video and theme, Quentin.

  • CTN

    Wanna get rid of more scumbags..

  • cut the bull


    Your video made me smile, I dont think you’ll ever get a job as a PRO for the Orange Order though

  • Funny video. I think the point about bigotry is lost though on some of the people who’ve left comments below it on YouTube. I sometimes get the impression that there are people from ‘both sides’ who just sit on that site all day leaving ridiculous comments- a bit like Slugger O’Toole for the feebleminded, as it were.

  • fair_deal


    “The independent and socialist vote is alas much smaller than people like to think.”

    I accept it is small but a few percentage points and IIRC the geographic location of those percentage points would secure or put them in contention for a seat in a number of constituencies (primarily the greater dublin area if memory serves).


    “It’s not a case of Sinn Féin moving to the centre, more a case of adding meat to the bones in terms of our objectives and how we go about achieving them. It’s about creating a streamlined and professional party structure, one with costed and realistic policies for a change.”

    An early new labour tone to that comment 😉

    “Dismiss Sinn Féin at your peril”

    I wasn’t aware I had dismissed them.

  • Chris graspin at straws

    “Dismiss Sinn Féin at your peril”
    Why you goin to beat us all to death if we don;t vote for you.

  • “An early new labour tone to that comment ;)”

    LOL, A low dig even by your standards FD 😉

    “I wasn’t aware I had dismissed them.”

    I never said you did

    “Why you goin to beat us all to death if we don;t vote for you.”

    I see the trolls are still about

  • fair_deal


    “I never said you did”

    Fair enough, apologies, it was just the comment was addressed to myself so thought it was all in direct response.

  • Garibaldy


    I understand what you’re saying, but I think to expect them to chase that market – so to speak – is to misunderstand the nature of the beast. While undobtedly some people vote PSF for the reasons you suggest, the reality is that PSF has never really been able to capture that vote, and its success comes from other factors. One is a perception of being different and not corrupt, but they appeal most to more traditional nationalist elements within FF’s support base rather than the harder left constituency. And so it is no surprise to see them chase that traditional element on the one hand, while chasing the lower middle classes in the south who have been the driving force behind their massive expansion in the north since 1994. It’s not therefore a turn in a different direction but in fact an extension of the logic of everything they have done so far.

  • foreign correspondent

    ´´unprincipled opportunists who believe in nothing other than their own self-advancement´´

    Wouldn´t this be an accurate definition of 99.9% of ALL politicians?

  • saveus

    “It’s about creating a streamlined and professional party structure”
    Sure thing Chris, keep on going the way we are going and it will be streamlined alright,no doubt about that!!

  • Mick Hall

    I agree with Mark and Garibaldy on this, SF is going to find it hard to row back from the mistakes Adams and the rest made when they put all their eggs in the establishment basket, i e Stormont-DUP-New Labor government stormont coalition. I mean McG begging Trump and big business to come over and exploit Irish workers is really going to go down well with the left vote.

    The same with the strategy at the last election in the south, which amounted to Bertie as boss or die. I would love to know whether Bertie led Adams on, or the latter took being in government with FF for granted.

    Still Chris has had a hard week on slugger defending his party and it is true, SF have come back from worse and with young determined, if a little blinkered (sorry chris;) members like him,
    who knows.

  • Nevin

    “The peace process (a significant part of which Sinn Féin either directly controlled or had significant influence on) was the key driver to the party’s electoral victory in Northern Ireland. In the Republic, the party has none of these insider advantages.”

    I’d put SF’s success in NI down to paramilitary appeasement by the Governments, piss poor investigative journalism and weak opposition from the rest of the ‘pan-nationalist’ family.

  • Only Asking

    Mick, it wasn’t supposed to be seen as begging, it was meant to protray Northern Ireland PLC, was open for business. But it does look like Trump was only playing us off against the scots. It looks like Trump will opt for Scotland, as for the land in north down where this golf course was to be built no one seems to know who owns it.

    On the other point about dismissing sinn fein – I think they’ll have to work hard to keep the vote even in their own back yard. I do agree with the post on slugger yesterday linking el blogador. Pol’s article that WB is Eastern Europe with out the glastnost is absolutely spot on.

    Theres a lot of work ahead of them if they want to keep their dominance in the north, and increase their voter base in the south.

  • ulsterfan

    Adams should explain why he did not stand in the last election.
    He always polled well in the popularity stakes even getting close to Bertie at times. If he was a trump card why was it not used even before he failed in the TV interview.
    If Sf want success in the south they must have a new leadership team as the present one looks tired and bereft of original and popular policies. They have been preaching the same old message and people are fed up.

  • quiz master

    i really think the video on this link sums up the current political situation

  • Mayoman

    I think people are missing the point that a party does not have to gain power to be effective or useful in the democratic process. The left is responsible for us all not being in the nightmare of Dubliner’s wont, where capitalists still flog workers for poor production and the death penalty is de rigeur. Those of us who don’t suck an effigy of Dev’s cock every morning know that socialism has to evolve. The left is the conscience of a nation and provides a balance. There is nothing wrong with a socialist looking for investment. His constituents have to eat to live just like anybody elses, all the pseudointellectual ‘black& white’ philosophy doesn’t change that. As a socialist, however, he has a duty to look after how the people are employed when the company gets here.

  • Only Asking

    I don’t believe SF to be a true socialist party. They have truly embraced this right wing government of the DUP. Listening to them talk about cuts – anyone would think they were conservative with a small ‘c’.

    Embracing a right wing budget in the north, while blowing the socialist trumpet in the south makes it look like a party at odds with its self.

  • Rory (South Derry)

    Chris Gaskin

    In Point 6 [edited by moderator – play the ball]

    The Provos have had their day and after the bearded monster spewed the drivel from his mouth on primetime they stand no chance of ever having any credibility in the 26 Counties.

    [edited by moderator – play the ball]

  • Rory (South Derry)


    In the interests of PLAYING THE BALL

    Can I ask will your little PROVO fantasy of Streamlining your Party does that mean that your leaders will stop party members from getting involved in Criminal activities?

    Beating kids, threatening people, and concealing murderers.

    Now if they do not at least stop some of the above can you honestly expect anyone in The 26 counties to every vote for your thugish mates/

    Come on Chris get with the real world?

  • Rory (South Derry)

    Chris Gaskin

    Can you explain why members of PSF all over the 32 counties of Ireland are deserting the party?

    No one believes the bullshit anymore!

    The party used to have credibility but since you lot have sold out your country and accepted a brit administered police force how can any self respecting republican believe the party line.

    The War is over because you lot ran away!

    Not Trolling Chris Mo Chara!

    [Play the ball or get a red card, your choice – edited moderator]

  • Rory (South Derry)


    Chris won’t tackle – just trying to get the man to comment and give us his favourite parties line!

  • Mick Hall

    “I think people are missing the point that a party does not have to gain power to be effective or useful in the democratic process. The left is responsible for us all not being in the nightmare of Dubliner’s wont, where capitalists still flog workers for poor production and the death penalty is de rigeur. Those of us who don’t suck an effigy of Dev’s cock every morning know that socialism has to evolve. The left is the conscience of a nation and provides a balance.”


    I agree whole heartedly with this part of your post, if the left is unable to gain mass support, this is the road we should go down. As you say in a democracy a party does not have to gain power to play a vitally important role, it would be great if we could be the government, if not better to be in opposition as the conscience of the nation that to sell our selves and those we represent for a ride in a government limo.

    Look at the greens at the moment, they could be far more useful to the nation if the were snapping at Bertie ankles rather that being nodding dogs.

  • lorraine

    sinn fein missed their golden opportunity when they self-destructed at the last election down south. their socialist credentials are questionable given the precipitous haste with which they dumped their working class support base in favour of middle class dearies – a strategy which contributed to their self-destruction.

  • Rory, my deluded dissident friend

    It seems from the fact that your posts are heavily edited that you have been a rather naughty boy in my absence.

    “The Provos have had their day”

    I agree, that is why the army stood down and why we have entered a new political dispensation.

    “after the bearded monster spewed the drivel from his mouth on primetime they stand no chance of ever having any credibility in the 26 Counties”

    What’s next week’s lotto numbers? I ask because that statement is about as insightful and as credible as your answer to my first question would be.

    “Can I ask will your little PROVO fantasy”

    I don’t have any “PROVO” fantasies, thanks be to Jesus.

    “Streamlining your Party”

    It’s not my party; I am a member of “SINN” féin

    “does that mean that your leaders will stop party members from getting involved in Criminal activities?”

    Like who? What party members would that be then?

    “Beating kids, threatening people, and concealing murderers”

    Is this a random flight of fancy on your behalf or are you accusing Sinn Féin of being involved in these criminal activities?

    “Now if they do not at least stop some of the above can you honestly expect anyone in The 26 counties to every vote for your thugish mates”

    It is the job of the police to “police” society and to ensure law and order is upheld, not Sinn Féin.

    Tell me, does Fianna Fail stop any of the above criminal activities that you mentioned?

    “Come on Chris get with the real world?”

    It’s not me that you should be saying that to, it’s the mirror that you should be talking to.

    “Can you explain why members of PSF all over the 32 counties of Ireland are deserting the party?”

    I am unaware of such widespread desertion

    “No one believes the bullshit anymore!”

    Quite clearly you will believe anything you are told, so long as it’s anti-Sinn Féin.

    “The party used to have credibility but since you lot have sold out your country”

    How did we do that? Do you reject the views of the Irish people?

    “The War is over because you lot ran away!”

    LOL, keep telling yourself that, I’m sure it dulls the other voices in your head.

    “Not Trolling Chris Mo Chara!”

    Oh you are but I don’t mind amusing your trolling for a while, I always like to do my bit for charity.

    “Chris won’t tackle”

    Won’t tackle what exactly??

  • Lafcadio

    I won’t claim to keep my finger on the political pulse in NI as much as the average slugger poster, but surely its obvious that what has motivated SF in the recent past is power, or rather the prospect of power – thus the cessation of their self-styled “war”, rather a shabby, unwinnable and futile sectarian killing campaign.

    And if power is what they want, they presumably realise, like most modern political parties in the west, that tacking noticeably to the left is the quickest way to make themselves unelectable. It’s not like they’re really betraying anything – until they stopped killing people to “unify Ireland”, their incoherent far-left “economics” were just an expedient bolt-on to add a veneer of revoutionary gloss to an otherwise tawdry project. Continuing to pay lip-service to this to attract some hoped-for latent appetite for socialism in a country whose remarkable growth and prosperity is in large part due to its extremely open economy, foreign investment, a low tax base and light-touch regulation is clearly perverse.

    Mick – I’m not Trump’s biggest fan, but I’m unclear as to how you can be sure he would “exploit” Irish workers if he was to develop a golf course here. The jobs the project would create in construction and operation are no more likely to be exploitative than any similar jobs available, and if workers don’t want to be thus “exploited” they won’t be forced to be.

  • Mark McGregor


    For many Republicans, Socialism is inseparable from the desire for a United Ireland. In the words of James Connolly;

    “An Irish Republic, the only purely political change in Ireland worth crossing the street for, will never be realized except by a revolutionary party that proceeds upon the premise that the capitalist and the landlord classes in town and country in Ireland are particeps criminis with the British government, in the enslavement and subjection of the nation. Such a revolutionary party must be Socialist, and from Socialism alone can the salvation of Ireland come”

    Without this, working towards a unified Nation or power in the two statelets that is just a mirror image of the Imperialist state certainly isn’t jus bellum or struggle.

    But I’m just a starry-eyed dreamer, what would I know……..

  • Harry Flashman

    Watching the Chris/Rory dispute is to understand why “revolutionary” political parties usually fail and when they succeed they inevitably embark on terror and purges against their ideological enemies, enemies who were as often as not on the same side during the “struggle”.

    Can anyone post the “Judean Popular Front” scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian?

    Ideological splits? Get over it boys, all that stuff is so last century.

  • Joey

    Ah, the very sad anti-left crusader has arrived above to put the icing on the cake. No more Oxygen for you now.

    Critics of Sinn Fein should make up their mind about what they want them to represent. If they are ‘revolutionary’ left-wingers – they aren’t in any serious way – they get attacked on this front, and if they go over to the US and court business they have ‘sold out’ socialism. As it is Sinn Fein have always had pretty dubious left wing credentials – formerly persecuting many of the old Officials for such positions – but their realisation that privitisation in the public services is always a pure disaster can only be welcomed. There are other left-leaning parties and individuals who wisely share this belief in the Executive, so there is plenty of ‘choice’, to use an inane privitisation term. But in the context of the South, a fine champion of disastrous Thatcherite politics (currently ruining vital services), high on vacuous cocaine, Sinn Fein seem angelic. The indolent, smug way people dismiss the left in the south – a mindset shared by the lesser unionists in the north – is the only instance in which even a hint of sympathy is raised for Sinn Fein.

  • Mark McGregor

    but their realisation that privitisation in the public services is always a pure disaster can only be welcomed.

    Sorry, Joey, their ministers just a few months ago endorsed the privatisation of public sector jobs and assets. Another is involved in public sector asset stripping to fund meeting EU directives.

  • Joey

    Still an NHS Mark – much to the chagrin of so many gnomic fellows – though I’m sure they’ve compromised to the private sector in other ways, unfortunately. Like I said – their left-wing credentials are well open to debate. It’s only when the right in the south (great) and the north (quite small) criticize them that SF seem barely reasonable.

  • Nevin

    Here it is on youtube, Harry, the Chris/Rory Front – and Garibaldy’s secret passion😉

  • The Dubliner

    “For many Republicans, Socialism is inseparable from the desire for a United Ireland.” – Mark McGregor

    Selling both together cancels out any prospect of success for the latter. The reality is that you have to sell a united Ireland to the unionists and to the southern Irish under the GFA. It’s one hell of a job to sell a united Ireland to unionists without trying to convert them and the southern Irish to socialism at the same time. And since you folks haven’t even made a start at selling unity to them yet, I don’t hold out much hope for your salesmanship on the join package.

    “I think people are missing the point that a party does not have to gain power to be effective or useful in the democratic process.” – Mayoman

    I think you’re missing the point that Irish voters are more sophisticated that simply voting for folks who want power for the sake of it, in the deluded believe that a bunch of miserable failures who don’t put forward any polices because none of them will stand up to public scrutiny are somehow going to pull a manifesto of Solomon-like wisdom out of the back passage after they are elected. Gerry Adams knew sweet feck all about economic policy and that was abundantly clear to Irish voters during the last election. Just as it would be criminally irresponsible to appoint a heart surgeon who knew nothing about the human anatomy but was full of intention, promises, and ambition, so too would it be criminally irresponsible to appoint an ignoramus to a position where his ignorance could do nothing but harm to others.

    “Those of us who don’t suck an effigy of Dev’s cock every morning know that socialism has to evolve.” – Mayoman

    I’ll be chuckling at that for the rest of the day. But it good that you understand that socialism has failed – even if you can’t quite bring yourself to a state of full acceptance yet.

    “The left is the conscience of a nation and provides a balance.” – Mayoman

    There is no such thing as a collective conscience. Socialists destroy economies, creating the unemployment that harms the citizens it claims to serve. Unless you encourage the creation wealth with a missionary zeal via an enterprise economy where businesspeople are lauded as the saviours of the nation that they actually are, you will not any money help those who are dependent on the sate for genuine reasons. Why do you think FF were able to commit to raising the old age pension by 50% during this term? It isn’t because some socialist “conscience of a nation” suggested it: it is because Irish capitalists made it possible. Socialists only know how to spend money others have earned, but they have absolutely no idea of how that wealth is to be created. They do, of course, have a vague idea that they can create a job for themselves by posturing as some kind of suited Mother Theresa.

    “There is nothing wrong with a socialist looking for investment.” – Mayoman

    That’s not what James Connolly would have said about the likes of Donald Trump, is it? 😉

  • Garibaldy


    Don’t you oppress me!

  • The Dubliner

    One other point, Mayoman: the function of a political party is to attain political power within a government. It is not to be confused with any other role such as a clergyman, a charity, a union, a lobby group, etc. If you want to pontificate, then join a church. They, at least, will train you properly on the “conscience” thing. Society has plenty of groups and associations raising all sorts of issues with TDs and government with the purpose of influencing policy. Political parties must be proactive legislators, not a lobby group within a parliament.

  • Lech Walensa

    The reality is that SF have alienated their hardcore republican supporters in the 26 counties and have failed to gain the soft republican/fianna fail types due to their outdated economic policies. They stand for nothing now unfortunately.

  • Mayoman

    Dubliner, You pick ONE instance where the grubby-fingered, brown-envelope-loving FF made a difference yet ignore the fact that there is a major problem with poverty in Ireland and MASSIVE inequality. The finances of Ireland are so f***ked, Mary Harney admitted that it wasn’t feasible to measure health spending in Ireland by GDP (the normal measure) because so much of Ireland’s GDP belonged to someone else! You are making the schoolboy error of mistaking totalitarianism for socialism, and as many right-wing junta, capiltalist-loving dictators have failed for the similar reasons. You point out that Connolly’s dream of socialism failed, without admitting that so too, did the barbaric capitalists, who were forced to stop dealing with people as expendible chattel. Connolly won. Workers have rights. You might hate that they do, but that is Connolly et als greatest triumph.

    Briniging it up to date. Why not consider this passage from Combat Poverty Ireland’s Annual Report?

    “Ireland has made great strides in terms of economic growth and in improving income supports for people dependent on social welfare but compared with other countries we have less supportive public services, especially for people on low incomes. We are in danger of reinforcing a two tier society of those who can afford to pay for quicker access or supplementary services and those who depend solely on an under-resourced and poorly delivered public service.”

    The left is needed in this country, it HAS to exist, because the alternative ia your view, a disgusting, money-led, money-measured society that ignores a huge proprtion of its people for financial expediency and the greed of the few. Labour can;t provide this, I hope that post-conflict Sinn Fein, in time, can reach the critical mass to make the important difference.

  • harry

    i agree with you Lech.

    the party often said that their goal was to republicanise people and communities. rather they have did the opposite.

    they have de-republicanised themselves and now mean nothing to most people.

    instead of having confidence in what they stood for, they abandoned those principles and policies that sustained them for 40 years.

    where can they go?

    Chris Gaskin speaks of streamlining the party.

    what does this mean??, in a business context it would mean losing or firing ineffective, or surplus, labour.

    but i suspose in sf terms it means ridding themselves of older IRA men.

    the problem is, that those guys that are coming in to replace them in the party, are inacapable of seeing the structural weaknesses in the party.

    that lack of internal reflection mixed with the almost hero worship of the old leadership by the young guys has meant they have left their critical faculties at the door.

    i would have severe doubt in the party’s ability to gain many more seats in the south. perhaps one or two, but it is more likely that they will remain as they are now.

    if they couldnt bounce on the back of the deal here, i cannot not forsee much more favourable circumstance for them.

    are they going to depend on the economy in the south to go ass over tit, to get a radical protest vote??

    and i would not be surprised if their vote in the north starts to dip in coming elections.

    whilst we see high profile resignations in the media, i would be very interested to see the strength of the cumann on the ground.

    after all, their election workers are unpaid volunteers. why would anybody willingly volunteer for the shitload of work that SF can dish out.

    not now that the constitutional question has been parked.

    when we see a sf hosted gala night for the irish langauge in stormont, with 200 people on the list, how many unpaid workers were up at that little shindig??

    with our stormont mla on handsome wages and expenses accounts i would be less interested in going to an “Irish Night” in whereever or buying loads of raffle tickets.

  • An Lochlannach

    Dubliner wrote: ‘There is no such thing as a collective conscience.’

    Reminds me of Thatcher’s ‘There is no such thing as society’. Presumably you’re a fan.

  • not that stupid

    TO The Dubliner
    Your electd.
    To Sinn Fein i would be classed a nationalist. Im afraid that the problem you have with me and many others is the mental picture of the chisel sticking out of that poor mans eye socket and young Quinn begging for mercy you can deny all you want but i dont belive you and i dont believe the ruc were not involved in colusion with loyalists either.So in con clusion may you all rot in hell.

  • Only Asking

    ”the party often said that their goal was to republicanise people and communities.”

    Posted by Harry.

    I agree and thought this may be of interest to readers.

    « Back
    Debutante-turned-IRA-member in documentary

    By Staff Reporter

    A FORMER debutante who rebelled against her upper-class up-bringing and joined the IRA is to feature in a new Channel 4 documentary tonight.

    Rose Dugdale, pictured, was part of an IRA unit which hijacked a helicopter and attempted to drop bombs in milk churns on Strabane police station in 1974 – the first helicopter bombing in Ireland or Britain.

    Born into a rich English family in Devon, she was one of the last debutantes to be presented to the Queen in 1958 but she became politically radicalised in the 1960s

    and joined the IRA in the early 1970s.

    In 1974 she and three other IRA members took part in a burglary at Russborough House in Co Wicklow.

    The house’s owner, Sir Alfred Beit, was tied up along with his wife before the gang stole 19 paintings including works by Vermeer, Rubens and Goya valued at IR£18 million.

    She was sentenced to nine years in prison in June 1974 for the art theft and the helicopter attack.

    Dugdale is one of the interviewees in tonight’s programme, Last Party at the Palace, which looks at how the lives of the last debutantes have changed since 1958.

  • Harry

    “Chris Gaskin speaks of streamlining the party”

    I didn’t say that actually, I sugguest you read my posts before you comment on them in future.

    I said

    “It’s about creating a streamlined and professional party structure”

    Structure, not party!

    “inacapable of seeing the structural weaknesses in the party.”

    Now if you had bothered to read my post there would have been no need for that comment.

    It’s about utilising the Republican base smarter, not harder. It’s about using the resources that we have open to us and it’s about becoming professional in terms of policy and policy development.

    There are a great many things that have to be looked at, that is being done at the moment.

  • CorpSpeak

    To: Sinn Fein
    From: Ard Chormaile
    Date: Thu Dec 13 06:02:28 2007
    Subject: Socialist Republic

    Professional scalable shared memory multiprocessor sets out an action item for an alliance, notwithstanding that the based disintermediation strategy sets out an action item for the functionality freeze. This leaves the feature-rich empowerment uniquely poised to provide a committee. Thanks to the recent reorganization, the parameters red flag. Why do you think the catalysts for change telecommute ? Because the alliances grow (according to the latest memo) workgroups.

    Given current realities, the objectives step up to the challenge of a next generation system. Can we indeed say that a cutting edge geography restores ? For us to grow, we absolutely have to develop the based schedules. Due to the next generation and the best systems in the world, what has changed is the pace of change.

    I knew there was a machine churning this nonsense out

  • Nevin

    “It’s about using the resources that we have open to us and it’s about becoming professional in terms of policy and policy development.”

    A fine fashion statement from one branch of the (republican) paramilitary mafia, Chris – what might be called better organised crime.

  • Nevin

    What are you on about???

  • Nevin

    The Provisional Republican Movement, Chris? Are you uncomfortable about discussing its various facets/’resources'(re. #5) in south Armagh and elsewhere, including, apparently, the British Virgin Islands?

  • I don’t know of any such beast called the “Provisional Republican Movement”. All my points thus far have been in relation to Sinn Féin.

  • Nevin

    Chris, are you trying to be as coy as Paisley jnr? 😉

    GA [Gerry Adams]: Well, that’s part of the black propaganda from the British. There hasn’t been any dissent at all within our [Provisional] Republican movement, whether that is Sinn Fein or the IRA.

    ie SF is just one of the facets/’resources’ of the inter-linked PRM.

  • Nevin

    I know the “Republican Movement” which Gerry mentioned however this “Provisional Republican Movement” is a mystery to me.

    It’s not like there is more than one Republican Movement after all.

    The next part of your post is nonsense!

  • Garibaldy

    Chris is just being silly saying the Provisional Republican Movement is a mystery to him. I suggest he look at the early statements of his party after it was founded in 1970, and from the connected military organisation, the Provisional Army Council.

  • Nevin

    Chris, Adams linked the parts together and I think we can agree, on this occasion, he wasn’t telling porkies.

    Are you accusing the DFM of lying when he referred to other republican organisations as micro groups?

    And, if you put your mind to it, you can confess that the managing agent of the PRM is the seven member Army Council, a body Mitchel McLaughlin agreed was the ‘legitimate government of Ireland‘.

  • dewi

    Chris – surely the concepts of democratic centralism and permanent leadership have had their day?

  • Rory (South Derry)


    Sorry it has taken a while to get back to you but in the real world real people get on with real things!

    The Republican Fantasy world that you live in is full of God Fearing catholics with Gerry as the God, Barbie de Brun as the virgin Mary and everything is rosey in between smuggling, exthorsion.

    No gettting on to Criminals – This time last year a prominent member of the P/RA & Sinn Fein member in Maghera got 6 years for Deisel smuggling – JUST ANOTHER PROVO CRIMINAL

    The party have disowed the guy even though he was doing it to raise funds to keep them all in fancy cars and suits.

    You talk about “streamlining” – go on tell me what that means?

    Can I make suggestions:-

    (1). Getting uneducated muppets to spread the
    drivel and believe it.

    (2). Further copperfasten partition.

    (3). More Robbing stealing & extorting.

    The Sinn Fein leadership are criminals lets make no mistake.

    Now can you give me your version of Streamlining.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Perhaps the only mystery Chris is why anyone ever voted for SF in the first place.

    Having entered the NI political fray, their initially derisory vote was reportedly bolstered by a charming mix of personation and intimidation.

    In the 80s they became particularly adept at exploiting the suffering of others (eg hunger strikers) to get some real people into the polling booths. The problem was that all SF were generating was a big protest vote — none of those elected took their seats at Westminster and they weren’t allowed into the dail, so what was the point?

    Furthermore, the ongoing and entirely pointless provo murder campaign was putting potential SF voters off. Sights such as our Gerry on TV declaring that the Teebane massacre was ‘another horrific reminder of the failure of British policy in Ireland’ (somewhat akin to a teenager shooting his sister and blaming bad parenting skills) put a lot of right-thinking people off both their dinner and their vote.

    So the provos, being riddled with informers anyway, jacked it in and the NI SF vote romped ahead, an apparent sign that the murder campaign hadn’t actually been that popular after all.

    So after a procession of hubristic election triumphs, the lads and lasses marched into Stormont and encamped with the DUP, having decommissioned the provos weaponry and signed up to both consent and the PSNI.

    The next step was to take the south. Should have been a doddle. With a decent foothold of five seats and the glittering peace process under the belt, how could they fail?
    Well fail they did, not so much a disappointment as a fecking great disaster, and that despite Gerry’s bake all over the southern lamp posts and Mary-Lou all dolled up for govt.

    So why did just 6.9% vote for SF? Wake-up call — SF have an image problem — they are often perceived (and not just by Unionists) as a bunch of thugs, control freaks, chancers, criminals, economic dunderheads and serial liars. Their version of Republicanism is completely out of step with 21st century Ireland, their lefty politics are as useful to the ROI economy as an ashtray on a motorbike and the continual reminders of past form such as Colombia, McCartney, Quinn and Donaldson don’t exactly help either.

    The Unionist voters gave their verdict to the UDP/PUP et al many years ago. The southern voters gave their verdict to SF earlier this year. That leaves SFs natural constituency as the ‘six counties.’ Gifted with a moribund SDLP opposition and a constituency who would elect a ‘donkey in a tricolour’, they may just be able to tread water as long as they can maintain partition.

    Seems like SF and the DUP can agree on a hell of a lot these days.

  • Lafcadio

    Mark – “For many Republicans” would you care to put a percentage figure on that, on an all-island basis? As for the Connolly quote, you really think that resonates with a significant proprtion of today’s Irish people, north or south? It’s all very well knowing where you came from, knowing when it’s time to move on is more important (if you want to be electable).

    “But I’m just a starry-eyed dreamer, what would I know…” you said it.. your words not mine..

  • CTN

    They’ve a lot of growin up to do GLC but with all their lies and own goals no-one will care by the time they reach maturity….

  • Joey

    ‘Their version of Republicanism is completely out of step with 21st century Ireland, their lefty politics are as useful to the ROI economy as an ashtray on a motorbike…The southern voters gave their verdict to SF earlier this year.

    Be careful of this smug veneration of the ‘economic prowess’ of the southern Irish economy. I rather thought people had got over this fatuous notion ‘eveything’s great now’ and ‘we’re all so rich’ in the Republic, though clearly there’s some silliness remaining. When a real recession arrives one of the few positives will be the ‘Celtic Tiger’ rhetoric will be well and truly shelved, and the lazy dismissal of left wing politics will not be so casual.

  • kensei

    “As for the Connolly quote, you really think that resonates with a significant proprtion of today’s Irish people, north or south?”

    The reality is that Connolly only ever resonated for his patriotism, his nationalism and his sacrifice, not his socialism. The Land Acts had created a country of small farmers who were never going to give it up for Communist utopia.

    Some mad, mad stuff on this thread. Being a “conscience” never helped anyone. It never helped Labour stop Thatcher. It never help the Democrats stop Reagan. It won’t help the Irish Left stop the government and business screwing people. Power and influence are required. The reason why anyone argues for a sovereign Republic. Might as well be a conscience in the UK, for all the good it’ll do.

    First, Communism and some traditional “Socialism” is dead because it has been proven not to work. Conclusively. And the problems are not due to Totalitarian implementation, but are economic in nature. Social Democracy and Social Markets still have a shot. Second, Ireland is a fundamentally conservative country. There is no escaping that conclusion. It is highly doubtful any Great Leap Forward for the Left will happen except in the event of catastrophe. And third, ABM and small government have been good to a lot of people, while pissing on a lot of others. The Irish Left need a vision that sets out an Ireland closer to Sweden than Texas. It then needs to build policies that don’t scare the horse but move us closer to that goal and build trust. And it should push most heavily the ones it can do if it gets into coalition. Then it should fight tooth and nail to get them implemented because anything else is worthless. Repeat, with bigger or smaller steps depending on the political wind until we get there.

    I despair at the wasted effort, wasted time and wasted enthusiasm of people discussing Empire, Socialism, Conscience and overthrowing Global Capitalism. From Ireland, FDI Capital of Europe. People who clearly care that there are people being left behind and being dumped on. If that effort and passion were put to productive use, it might tip the balance and get some good things done! As it is, it’s a complete waste of time.

    Yes, Connolly espoused it in 1916. But it wasn’t really on the agenda on 1798, or in the 19th, or in 1969. And nearly every generation of Republicans has hoped for better men than them to come after and build a Republic they couldn’t. I’m not saying we are those men, simply we should aspire to be them. And means having the courage and the wisdom to be able to cast things off.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘When a real recession arrives one of the few positives will be the ‘Celtic Tiger’ rhetoric will be well and truly shelved, and the lazy dismissal of left wing politics will not be so casual.’

    Joey one of the most remarkable and heartening developments of the last decade or so has been the economic, national and spiritual enlightment of the southern electorate.

    Realisation has dawned that they don’t have to live under the jackboot of the church, the misery of economic mis-management and the shadow of armed republicanism.

    Your notion that a recession will send the populace flocking to the tried and failed politics of the far left, archaic republicanism and presumably the church, merely shows a contempt for the intelligence of the constituency.

    Now that SF have been divested of their armed wing, their faults as a 21st century political party are all too obvious. Prancing around with Castro and the FARC may have seemed chic and clever in the heady days of supposed armed revolution, but in the real world, no sane voter seriously thinks that SF can be trusted anywhere near the economy. Gerry’s performance during electoral debate was somewhat akin to watching a small boy in a grown-up world and if their decidedly lacklustre performance in the backwater of Stormont is anything to go by, they’re rapidly becoming an irrelevance.

    Sure Connolly et al pushed hard for a socialist Ireland, but we have the benefit of hindsight as regards extreme global left-wing politics, and there is zero mileage for SF electorally on this issue.

    Surely better to accept that after 40 years of armed and electoral struggle, they have failed miserably. Partition remains and has effectively been parked for the forseeable future, Stormont is SFs only seat of govt and the ROI electorate has moved on without them. Better to bow out now before they morph into the SDLP?

  • JD

    The Unionist voters gave their verdict to the UDP/PUP et al many years ago. The southern voters gave their verdict to SF earlier this year. That leaves SFs natural constituency as the ‘six counties.’ Gifted with a moribund SDLP opposition and a constituency who would elect a ‘donkey in a tricolour’, they may just be able to tread water as long as they can maintain partition.

    Seems like SF and the DUP can agree on a hell of a lot these days.

    Posted by Gerry Lvs Castro on Dec 13, 2007 @ 11:40 PM


    That is true – Sinn Fein’s Sean Crowe (who I think is a decent bloke) lost his seat in my constituency of Tallaght in Dublin because Sinn Fein were “the Northern Ireland Party” in 2007 rather than the “super-charged Fianna Fail clientelist machine” they were in 2002.

    Sinn Fein set the bar way too high for themselves in 2002 & 2004 when they had a well funded slick clientelist machine that was capable of servicing the most deprived big estates in Dublin. In 2007 they were just a normal party that had little to say outside the Northern issue and sapped of the energy that their now lost full time volunteer infrastructure.

    One of the most effective pieces of spin used against Crowe in Tallaght was “we elected Sean Crowe to serve Tallaght and he ended up spending more time in Columbia”. It doesn’t matter whether it was true or not – that was the perception. According to their tallies lot of their council estate vote went back to Labour’s Pat Rabbitte (who was in a centrist pact with Fine Gael), while over half their lower middle class vote went back to Fianna Fail.

    As with the Irish Labour Party they will discover that if they try to go down the New Labour route on policy (or even just in making their pitch) they will discover that unlike Britain their opponents are not Thatcher’s Tories but the world’s first “New Labour” – Fianna Fail. All that makes them distinctive is the fact they are organised North of the border. While they won’t lose their organisational superiority in the North any time soon they will lose their distinctiveness and be left in Fianna Fail’s shadow in the all Ireland polity they long strove for.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Good post JD.
    A year or so ago, a post such as my 11.40pm above would have been attacked vociferously by several Sluggerite SF cheerleaders. Nowadays there’s barely a murmur.
    That can only mean one of two things: the SF spinners are more productively engaged elsewhere or the shine and support base of the party has well and truly gone.

    I don’t think it’s possible to over-estimate the impact of the ROI election on the SF machine. Suddenly the highway to 2016 has become a cul-de-sac and nobody knows what to do.
    Arsing around in Stormont with the 11-plus and the Irish language act isn’t half as glamorous as the ballot box and the armalite, but it’s the only show in town these days.

  • JD

    Thanks Gerry Lvs Castro

    The Fianna Fail move into the north is not an attempt to organisationally overtake Sinn Fein there (Sinn Fein would like to set that as the standard so Fianna Fail would fall short) – it is only a ploy to undermine Sinn fein’s distinctiveness.

    Fianna Fail is very effective at using smaller parties to deflect their short comings and that is how they will use a moribound SDLP. Unable to stand up to Fianna Fail the SDLP will gratefully accept the strategic partner role for all Ireland Fianna Fail. This allows Fianna Fail the face saving formula of letting the SDLP another series of defeats until Fianna Fail calculates that FF/SDLP has a solid enough base to retain one seat on the Northern Executive thereby putting Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein in coalition with one another.

    Once SF & FF are in coalition with one another in the Northern Exective Sinn Fein will be as distinct from Fianna Fail as Democratic Left was from Labour when they were in government together in the 1990s.

    Like you said “they may just be able to tread water as long as they can maintain partition”

  • Garibaldy

    The Provisional Alliance back in full flow then JD. I suspect you’re right.

  • Nevin

    Gaskin as smacht 😉

    I don’t attend meetings with dissidents and hypocrites.

    And Conor Murphy wasn’t even there!!

    What are you on about? A large number of those present were Republicans and Sinn Féin members in particular.


    Why wouldn’t you, your posts on Balrog reveal you to be nothing more than an anti-Sinn Féin nut job!

    Ha Ha Ha

    The fact that the IRA weren’t involved might have something to do with it.

    They’re behind you …

    You can speak on whatever you want, you’re still talking out of your arse!


    You have all the class of a 3 dollar hooker!

    Was he on tour with the Chuckle Bros?

    Lay off the parsley smoking!

    Dromintee dope?

  • PaddyReilly

    1) The last election showed quite clearly that relative success in a 6 county election for SF does not translate into a comparable success in a 26 county one. Nevertheless there is a sizeable claque which thinks that relative lack of success in a 26 county election is going to translate into comparable lack of success in a 6 county one. Purely wishful thinking, I’m afraid, and quite illogical.

    2) All Irish political parties of any size and influence were formed by insurgents. Even smaller parties which were not so formed have accepted ex-insurgents in their ranks. SF may have visible connections with fairly recent insurgents, but it is quite clearly moving on the same path towards smug respectability, with appropriate amnesia towards the revolutionary past, that IRA/FG, IRA/FF and UVF/UUP have already taken. I can’t think of any reason to wish to stop them.

    The next stage in this process is, IMHO, the merger. Quite clearly, SF is a fairly one issue party, and this issue is not of overwhelming importance to the 26 county electorate. If it wishes to expand its profile there, then it needs to stand for more than just unification. A merger, rather than a coalition, would facilitate this expansion, as well as assist the process of rehabilitation. As things stand, the most likely candidate seems to me to be Labour, though the emotional stress this would cause is probably still too great, for those who remember the Stickie/Provie feud of the 1970s. Successful political parties arise out of mergers: unsuccessful ones out of splits.

    3) The electoral clock continues ticking. The dark eleventh hour draws on and sees you sold. By my calculations, which I made several years ago and can see no reason to revise, January 2008 is the moment of parity, when the Unionist section of the electorate comes to equal the Nationalist section. After that it will be falling below the Nationalist vote. The Union may be safe for a couple more years, relying on casting votes from Centrists and poor organisational skills among Nationalist politicians. Unionists may continue to live in their fool’s paradise until the next election, but the days of the safe Unionist majority are over. Likely events to watch out for in the near future are: Belfast City Council falls to Nationalist control. Martin and Ian swop places after the next assembly election. Loss of Unionist majority in Westminster. UUP need endless counts to gain 3rd European Parliament seat by a whisker (2009); UUP lose 3rd EP seat to SDLP (2014).

  • CTN

    Nice if the garden was gonna be that rosy so soon P but the nationalist birth rate has fallen of.

    In fairness to you more unionists are headin to UK not to return and their population is older which gives your point some validity- but I’d put the champers on hold for a while yet.

  • PaddyReilly

    Nationalist birth rate? Babies are not born nationalist you know. I work on the electoral returns, not on baptismal registers. I saw no sign of a fall-off in the 2007 Assembly elections, in fact the fall in the Unionist vote was greater than I predicted, though probably only as a result of Green party voters who used to be Unionist and may, in a referendum, turn out to be still so.

    Even if nobody born this century ever votes, the results will be as I predicted.

  • CTN

    Nor are babies born unionist either- its the census results refering to their familial religion and the amount of Prods and Taigs who are unionist and nationalist which I go on.

    I’d love to think you were right but Paddy Power reckons United Ireland is a 10/1 shot within 20 years and he’s the paddy I regard with more authority in this regard- though those odds could shorten if the I.L.A. ever materialises alongside other goodies for nationalists…

  • PaddyReilly

    Paddy Power is in the business of making money. His odds on a United Ireland are very conservative, given that he doesn’t wish to pay out unnecessarily.

    Paddy Reilly however, is not offering odds on a United Ireland. Note than none of the predictions I made concerned this eventuality. I’m more interested in the size of the Unionist majority, if there is a Unionist majority, in the 2009 European Parliament elections, for example. First things first.

    I’m trying to calculate when Unionists become a minority. The interesting fact is that Unionists with a big U (i.e. those who vote for parties which include the word Unionist in their title) are already a minority and have been since 2004. There are also a number of small u Unionists, who vote for Alliance and the Green party as their first preference and give their second preference to the big Us. The big Us and the small Us have hitherto managed to keep their vote over 50% but for how much longer? That is the question.

    My assertion is that as of January 2008 the Unionist and Nationalist camps are neck and neck. That obviously will not produce a United Ireland, which will not be possible until the Nationalist camp is substantially greater than the Unionist, but should lead to a greater détente in local politics.