Failed union points up Bertie’s promises but incapacity to deliver?

World by Storm picks up some detail on the possibly terminally delayed merger between Fianna Fail and the SDLP… Particularly in contrast with the relatively smooth (and completely private) track taken by Empey and Cameron, he reckons it points out a “a further example of the lack of substance of the Ahern years”. Shades of Fintan’s black hole theory of Bertie’s politics?

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  • Quagmire

    Is anybody surprised by this? I’m certainly not. Moving northwards is a kite that the soldiers of sleaze like to fly now and again in order to make themselves feel better about their so called Irish Republican credentials and to appease some of the more hardliners in the party in years gone by. All hot air and no substance. Once again they have proved that their Republicanism ends in Dundalk. The potential merger with the SDLP was more to do with stifling SF in the north so that any potential progress in the south by the shinners would be severely inhibited.

  • True Believer

    Most people within the FF party know the recruitment in northern universities was driven not by the FF party leadership but rather a stubborn and passionate group of individuals within Ogra Fianna Fail that would not take no for an answer.

  • percy

    annoying, as Tories/UUP gives the “green” light for this merger as a quid pro quo arrangement.
    Good on Ogra FF. Keep it up boys and girls.

  • IJP


    I’d come back to this in six months’ time before determining that one was “smooth” and the other wasn’t!

  • JD

    “The alternative is to develop the SDLP more brazenly as Fianna Fáil’s northern wing… it’s second best but…it’s a link with Fianna Fáil which gives the SDLP the all-island dimension it craves”

    I think the Phoenix article by process of deduction outlines the only option open the Fianna Fail and the SDLP. On one hand Fianna Fail for reasons of ideology wants to side step Westminster elections, while the SDLP for reasons of ideological affiliation with the Socialist Group in Europe and opposition to abstention cannot fully embrace a merger with Fianna Fail. Both parties only want a symbolic “unity” and “all Ireland” dimension to their organisations.

    Fianna Fail’s Northern Committee had three options to examine

    1. Organise independently in the North
    2. Find an all Ireland strategic partner
    3. Keep the status quo

    Options 1 & 3 were not a runner for Fianna Fail, while option 2 has to give the impression of a coherent all Ireland alliance and brand without having to do anything much more than platitudes.

    The SDLP’s meanwhile had to avoid a major split either losing their pro Fianna Fail wing or those who took the prentensions to Social Democracy seriously.

    Merely declaring the SDLP as Fianna Fail’s strategic partner would too blatantly the status quo. Developing the SDLP more brazenly as Fianna Fáil’s northern wing required an exercise in rebranding that reaches out to all wings of the SDLP as best as is possible.

    The easiest was to effect this is the SDLP to rebrand themselves “Fianna Fail-Social Democratic Party”. The renamed SDLP would receive Fianna Fail’s unquestioning support and be part of the wider Fianna Fail family while retaining their distinct Social Democratic identity and keep going to Westminster.

    As things stand now if the UUP merge with the Tories there will be a number of ex-UUP councillors joining the New Labour organisation that has been established in the six counties and the SDLP will have to be rebranded if they are to be further ensnared within an east-west political dynamic – so it will be in their interest to step back from Labour and nudge closer to Fianna Fail whilst not really fundementally changing anything. Fianna Fail need not move any further in the North and just support their “strategic partner”.

  • perry patetic

    Where are “Fine Gael-The United Ireland Party” in all this? If you believe the blurb Fine Gael are a christian democratic communitarian party and Labour a social democratic secular one. Isn’t their coalition the same as the SDLP’s internal one?

    Maybe the SDLP should be splitting/merging with two parties. FG/Labour would stand a better chance east of the Bann. We all liked that nice Mr Fitzgerald who comes to see us in Bangor and who’s mum was from Holywood. Bertie was nice enough but no-one’s a fan of Dev or Haughey.

    Come to think of it aren’t FF the partition rejectors who came in from the cold – more Sinn Fein’s position than anything.

  • JD

    I think the dynamic is different on the FF side of the fence to the FG/Labour side. Labour would be willing to work with their British sister party, while Fine Gael would prefare that status quo. Fine Gaelers are as likely to have friends in Alliance and the UUP as the SDLP. That sets them apart from Fianna Fail and as a consequence have a fundamentally different view of all Ireland politics.

  • Dave

    “Once again they have proved that their Republicanism ends in Dundalk.”

    Which is where the Republic ends. You can’t have a mainstream Irish political party serving in a British government, obfuscating two separate sovereign states with each other. The ‘All-Ireland’ crap is just there to help the Shinners sell their failure to achieve a united Ireland to the punters, dressing it up as something more substantial. At the end of the day, a penny paid in taxes to the British Exchequer is a penny lost in taxes to the Republic of Ireland. Ergo, than can be no conflict of interest: Irish national interests must come first. Let the Shinner serve in Her Majesty’s government – that was always the ‘destiny’ of those ‘soldiers. Bertie was a bullshitter – “I won it on the horses, gov.”

  • Quagmire

    Which is where the Republic ends.
    Posted by Dave on Jul 29, 2008 @ 06:27 PM

    I was talking about Republicanism, in an Irish context, as an ideology and not the 26 county state. If you follow your argument to its logical conclusion then you are suggesting that you cant be Republican unless you live in the Republic. What utter nonsense. SF is an Irish Republican party hence they are organised right throughout the Island of Ireland on an all Island basis. Indeed Belfast was the birth place of Republicanism in Ireland with the the United Irish Men in 1791. It was on top of Cave Hill in Belfast in 1795 that people such as Wolfe Tone, Thomas Russell, Samuel Neilson and Henry Joy McCracken swore an oath (The Cave Hill Oath)”never to desist in our effort until we had subverted the authority of England over our country and asserted her independence”. Hence the point that Republicanism is an Island wide phenomena and not exclusively to be found in the 26 county state ergo Fianna Fail’s Republicanism ends in Dundalk as they have failed, yet again, to organise in the 6 counties on any real serious level. Their brand of Republicanism is partitionist and flies in the face of the Republicanism envisaged by people such as Tone, yet every year they gather at his graveside in Co. Kildare and pay lip service to these ideals.

    You can’t have a mainstream Irish political party serving in a British government, obfuscating two separate sovereign states with each other.Posted by Dave on Jul 29, 2008 @ 06:27 PM

    I disagree.It is likely at some point in the near future that SF will be elected to Government in the Republic and at the same time be in Government in the north, maybe even as the largest party with the way things are panning out between the TUV and the DUP. Moreover a recent(June 2008) Red C poll carried out for the Sunday business Post had SF and Labour at both 10% i.e. joint third. They are obviously enjoying good public support at the moment after the Lisbon rejection, being the only party in the Dail to oppose the Treaty, and if an election was to be called in the morning they would be serious contenders for a place in a coalition Government.

  • Quagmire